I’ve reviewed a number of books on gaming and board games here at The Thoughtful Gamer, and even the ones I haven’t found particularly informative have been entertaining. It turns out that diving into a hobby makes you hunger for information like some kind of ravenous wolf. I want to know more about these games and the people behind them!
So when I heard about For The Love Of Board Games I was immediately sold on the concept. A book that’s nothing more than interviews with a truly incredible list of notable modern game designers? Yes please. I’ve managed to get my grubby hands on a sample chapter, and I’m happy to report that it was pretty interesting.
The raison d’etre seems to be a broad overview of each of the designer’s major works, along with other biographical information. If you’re looking for deep, penetrating insight into your favorite designer or a guide on how to design incredible games, you’re probably not going to find it here. If the sample chapter is representative, what you will find is a trove of information about how each designer has conceptualized their games, some interesting stories, and a peek into what motivates them to make the games you love.
The book is written in a 3rd person style, which took a bit of time for me to get used to, and the sample chapter could use another read-through by an editor, but given that the book has more than already met its goal on Kickstarter, I suspect those grammatical quibbles will be ironed out by the time it goes to print.
I encourage you to check out the Kickstarter page to see some of the great art Erin has gotten for this. The stylized portrayals of major designers are a delight. The price seems fair–$10 for a digital copy and $25 for a softcover. I’m not sure how long the book will be, but if you take the size of the sample chapter and multiply it by the number of designers listed on the campaign page you get nearly 750 pages. I suspect the sample chapter is one of the longer ones (it’s about a particularly important and prolific designer), but still, she’s got over 50 designers listed.
A few months ago I reviewed Matt Thrower’s Tabletop Gaming Manual, which tried to provide an overview for the entire hobby. I suspect that For The Love Of Board Games will fill an adjacent niche–an overview of some of the hobby’s most important figures: game designers.