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game design books?

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CIDIC
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can anyone recomend any good books about game design? or wargame design? someone recomended a really good book for wargame design in another thread and i was wondering if anyone knew of any others.

phpbbadmin
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Yes

The Game Inventor's Guidebook
by Brian Tinsman
Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: Krause Publications (February 1, 2003)
ISBN: 0873495527

Game Design Workshop: Designing, Prototyping, and Playtesting Games
by Tracy Fullerton, Christopher Swain, Steven Hoffman
Paperback: 480 pages
Publisher: CMP Books (February, 2004)
ISBN: 1578202221

The Toy and Game Inventor's Handbook
by Richard C. Levy, Ronald O. Weingartner
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Alpha Books (July 1, 2003)
ISBN: 1592570623

Rules of Play : Game Design Fundamentals
by Katie Salen, Eric Zimmerman
Hardcover: 688 pages
Publisher: The MIT Press (October 1, 2003)
ISBN: 0262240459

Patterns in Game Design (Game Development Series)
by Staffan Bjork, Jussi Holopainen
Paperback: 423 pages
Publisher: Charles River Media; Bk&CD-Rom edition (December 20, 2004)
ISBN: 1584503548

Emphyrio
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game design books?

I don't know if I would recommend Rules of Play. I'm only halfway through it, but so far I'd say about 3/4 of it has been pure fluff, at least from the viewpoint of someone who actually wants to design games rather than just talk about game design. There were some interesting bits, such as their discussion of feedback loops and dice mechanics, and the sample game designs (by Knizia and others), so it might be worth checking out of the library. But I think the game design forum here has much more useful material.

Has anyone thought of collecting and organizing posts from BGDF into a book (maybe print on demand or PDF)?

phpbbadmin
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game design books?

Emphyrio wrote:

Has anyone thought of collecting and organizing posts from BGDF into a book (maybe print on demand or PDF)?

Yes. If we can ever find the time, we are organizing the whole site/community into a Wiki.

-Darke

Bozonoir
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game design books?

Emphyrio,

Thank you. I thought i was the only person that didn't get the appeal of "Rules of Play".

Xaqery
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game design books?
phpbbadmin
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game design books?

it seems interesting

- Dwight

Has anyone here read A Theory of Fun? I was under the impression it is more a general book on why people like to play games, but after reading their website, I'm not so sure now.

You can read excerpts from it here:
http://www.theoryoffun.com/excerpt.shtml

-Darke

Triktrak
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game design books?

Does anyone else feel like I do? I think the key to designing a great game is coming up with something that no one has done before, and this is likely to come about by thinking about things in a way that no one has done before. This isn't likely to happen reading a book full of ideas that have already been thought up.

Scurra
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game design books?

Triktrak wrote:
Does anyone else feel like I do? I think the key to designing a great game is coming up with something that no one has done before, and this is likely to come about by thinking about things in a way that no one has done before. This isn't likely to happen reading a book full of ideas that have already been thought up.
I don't think this isn't true at all. Indeed, it's what makes game design so unusual - there aren't many things that haven't been done before, and on their own, those don't make for great games. What seems to work is taking things that have been done before and twisting them or extending them in some way, or combining them in ways that haven't been tried, or adding that novel idea to a solid foundation.
Not only that, but knowing what has been done before is exactly the sort of thing that leads to those novel ideas - otherwise they turn out to be not so novel after all (I can't tell you how often this has happened to me, and I'm sure others will say the same.)
Often it's useful to dissect the mechanisms of a game to see exactly where the different parts may have developed from. Take "Ticket to Ride" for example: someone noted that essentially it was a very neatly disguised variant of Contract Rummy - but the disguise is very appealing... Indeed, this is one of the things this forum has done well - discussing why "big" games work (or don't work!)

In the absence of easily-accessible academic courses (there are a growing number but not nearly enough), a lot of this groundwork in design has to be done through sites like this, or books that are equally breaking new ground.
*Then* you can start worrying about coming up with ideas that no-one has done before ;-))

Anonymous
game design books?

I bought A Theory of Fun some time ago. The book gives general rules related to game design (anything from video games to board games, even if the author speaks from a video game designer perspective.).
By reading this book, you'll learn to avoid common game design mistakes as well as putting the "right" concepts into your games in order to make it interesting.
It also gives insights on how games must evolve to reach greater audiences.

(I'm not a native english speaker, so plz forgive me for my grammar :p )

OutsideLime
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game design books?

A Theory Of Fun is on my bookshelf, where it will probably remain - I found it to be an interesting read, but quite abstract and without much practical advice for designing games. It is more of a psychology book... the psychology of gamers, of game designers, of how we interact with games, and how they create the intangible known as "fun." If you can find it to borrow, I'd recommend it for a one-time readthrough. Not necessary for a board-game designer's reference library though, in my opinion.

~Josh

OutsideLime
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game design books?

Well, now my own post has caused me to take A Theory Of Fun off the shelf and flip through it... and I am reconsidering my assertion. The book does contain a strong and well-developed foundation of values regarding game design that may need to be refreshed once in a while. Mechanics are not the only things we need to concern ourselves with - motives are important as well.

~Josh

Hamumu
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game design books?

I love that book! It's awesome, just a great read and as you say, it's about the "values" of making a game. It's not going to tell you exactly how to set up a reward system to keep people coming back (though it does give some ideas!), but it gives you a more broad angle to look at the whole concept. No nuts & bolts, just theory (as the title says!).

Xaqery
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game design books?

Sounds great. I have asked for it for christmas.

tyrfiel
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game design books?

I read A Theory of Fun and enjoyed it immensely. Don't read it expecting a nuts-and-bolts kind of book. It's more about what people look for in a game and what satisfies them and a little bit about how we can make better games.

I also read Rules of Play. It's okay, but I found it less interesting than A Theory of Fun. It's more of a laundry list of techniques and mechanics used in various games.

I've just finished 21st-Century Game Design, which is tilted towards computer games, but has some interesting insights applicable to any game. Unfortunately, it too has laundry list chapters that feel remedial if you're at all familiar with the game market and game design. At Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1584504293/qid=1135894778/sr=2-1/ref=pd...

I minored in math in college and the two topics I refer to the most when working on a game are discrete mathematics (permutations, combinations, etc.) and graph theory (travelling salesman problem, color graphs, shortest path algorithms, etc.). Definitely look into those if you haven't. They're pretty easy topics, too...easier than calculus.

YojimboUK
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game design books?

To the original question -- if you're talking about proper old-skool wargame design, there's always "Game Design volume 1: Theory and Practice" by Nick Schuessler and Steve Jackson, published by Steve Jackson Games in 1981. It's available as a PDF from the SJG sales website warehouse23.com for $8.95.

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