on September 20, 2010
This book is not for everyone. It's barely for anyone, in fact.
If you're really, really into the boardgame culture (you know who you are--and if you don't know what Settlers of Catan and Acquire are, you are not in this group), then go get this book. It's a nice reference with little snippets about a lot of games you are likely familiar with.
But if you're a regular person who thinks "boardgame" means Monopoly or Trivial Pursuit, this book will be a yawner for your. And that's a little sad because we gamers really, really want non-gamers to come into the fold. We want you to be fascinated with tidbits about obscure games which are actually fun. We want you to be enthused by the prospect of spending an evening socializing over the board or card table. However, that just isn't the way the vast majority of people are wired. They simply will not enjoy this book.
So, back to you fellow boardgamer. Assuming you really like all the wonderful boardgames which are not produced by Hasbro, Parker Brothers, or Milton Bradley, you will probably enjoy many of the little three-page anecdotes about the reviewers' pet "family" games. Of course, it's even niftier because the writers are game designers or other luminaries. They're geeks like us, so to speak.
But that has its own problems. It is a stretch to call all the authors in this book "designers." Many are just interested fans like you and me. Some happen to have gotten a game or two published. But a lot of them are affiliated only with the fringe of "family" gaming. For instance, editors or proofreaders for some role playing system of many years ago probably are only marginally qualified to determine and write about the very best of family games in the market. After all, if the desire of the editor was to grab Joe and Jane Public and get them interested in gathering the family 'round the game table, this collection of 100 games is certainly NOT going to work. They will scare away most of the casual readers who want no part of role playing or macabre card games at their family game table.
So, it was a noble idea which preaches to the choir. Fanatical gamers will love to read the list and stories and complain about the choices and suggest their own alternatives to a list of 100 essential family games. They'll debate whether or not many of these games are even truly "family" fare. But to the masses out there--it will be a total miss. Casual gamers will scratch their heads and say, "I've never heard of this stuff; it's strange." And that will be it. They'll ignore the effort put into this book.
on January 30, 2011
This book is a worthy followup to Hobby Games the 100 Best and uses the same short-story/review format of that earlier book. Although the emphasis here is squarely on Family games, there are some questionable choices that truly fall into the hobby-gamer or 2-player strategy niche (eg: 1960 The Making of the President, Memoir 44, Strat-O-Matic Baseball). But that's really a minor quibble in an otherwise fine collection of games. It's an enjoyable, easy read. Recommended.
on August 28, 2010
This and its companion (Hobby Games: The 100 Best) are excellent books for those into Board Games. I find them perfect "dip into" books for a quick flick, read an article, re-read an article after playing the game, or simply discover a game that may not be familiar. If your interest is Eurogame, then buy the books.