Book Review: The Everything Tabletop Games Book

The Everything Tabletop Games Book, by Bebo

As fond as I am of enjoying tabletop games, I must admit that this book is far beyond my own experience of having played such games.  Looking at this book, I could say with confidence that there were only two games in it that I had played–Settlers of Catan and Dungeons & Dragons–and my feelings about both games being what they are, I was at least willing to appreciate that many of the other games included were likely to be good even if I was not personally familiar with them myself.  Perhaps this book will be like that for you as well, and if so, you will likely find some games in here worth playing.  My own general opinion in reading this book is that I was not convinced enough to buy any of these board games for myself, but that many of them would be well worth playing if I happened to know friends who played them.  Likewise, I could see myself spending some hours at a friendly game store if such games as these were readily available as a way of helping to support the larger community of gamers.  That is, of course, assuming the gamers would want any such support from me.

This book is a bit more than 300 pages long and is divided into sixteen chapters.  The book begins with a discussion of joining tabletop gaming culture (1), with a discussion on getting started, local game stores, finding groups, and how to decide on a game to play.  After that the author discusses such contemporary classics as Mnchkin, Settlers of Catan, King of Tokyo, Ticket To Ride, Carcassonne, and Splendor (2).  After that comes a look at deck-building games like Paperback, DC Comics’ game, Dominion, Harry Potter, Ascension, and Clank! (3).  Then comes a look at tile-laying games (4) like Kingdomino, Seikatsu, Cottage Garden, Takenoko, Patchwork, Blokus, Cacao, and Quadropolis.  Then there is a glance at worker placement games (5) like Lords of Waterdeep, Kingsburg, Fabled Fruit, Unearth, Near And Far, Stone Age, and Raiders Of The North Sea.  A discussion of cooperative games (6) includes Pandemic (rather a propos at the moment), The Mind, Onirim, Forbidden Island, Betrayal At House On The Hill, The Grizzled, One Deck Dungeon, Gloomhaven, and Fog of Love.  Hidden role games (7) include One Night Ultimate Warewolf, Spyfall, The Resistance, Coup, Dark Moon, Dead of Winter, and Battlestar Galactica.  Area Control games (8) include Small World, Bosk, Tokyo Metro, Five Tribes, Kemet, Blood Rage, and Ethnos.  This only includes about half or so of the games, which also include such categories as dexterity games (9), set collection (10), luck-based games (11), card-drafting games (12), direct attack games (13), party games (14), role playing games (15), and war games (16), after which the book ends with an index.

Admittedly, this book does not include every board game that is currently in print or that is worth playing.  The book does not, in fact, include any of the games that people my age grew up enjoying except for Dungeons & Dragons.  There is no Monopoly or Yahtzee here, although both games are mentioned as being classics, with Yahtzee helping to inspire a creative Japanese game about monsters fighting for control of Tokyo.  Quite a few of these games look like inspirations for some of the free to play games that have become popular for cellphones, which is not the worst thing that one can say about the European-style games that involve complex maps and character decisions and sometimes even jobs.  This book appears to have been written in order to help the sales of contemporary board games and is targeted at those who would appreciate such games, with a wide variety of game types and difficulty levels included, some games being extremely simple and short games that take ten minutes or less, with others being difficult and complicated games that will take hours and hours.  That sort of variety makes it all the more likely that one will find something one appreciates here for many different gaming moods.

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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