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Game Design: How to Create Video and Tabletop Games, Start to Finish Paperback – July 25, 2012

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Game Design: How to Create Video and Tabletop Games, Start to Finish + Kobold Guide to Board Game Design + The Game Inventor's Guidebook: How to Invent and Sell Board Games, Card Games, Role-Playing Games, & Everything in Between!
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 276 pages
  • Publisher: McFarland (July 25, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786469528
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786469529
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,193,962 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Recommended." --Choice

"Excellent job...recommend." --The Opinionated Gamers

"This book provides useful tips and resources for game designers and those interested in entering the field." --American Reference Books Annual

From the Author

Book review - Game Design by Joe Huber at Opinionated Gamer. "So summing it all up, Game Design does an excellent job of providing a path to become an effective game designer."

Review: Lewis Pulsipher's 'How to Design Epic Games' by David Bolton at "
If you want to design games, as opposed to just produce them, this is a great book. It hits the ground running, though you'll need to read it quite a few times for everything to sink in, particularly the first three chapters."

More About the Author

Dr. Lewis Pulsipher (Wikipedia: "Lewis Pulsipher"; "Britannia (board game)"; "Archomental" ) is the designer of half a dozen commercially published boardgames. His game "Britannia" is described in an Armchair General review "as one of the great titles in the world of games." He has over 17,000 classroom hours of teaching experience including teaching video game design and production, and over 20 years of part-time graduate teaching experience.

He contributed to the books "Tabletop Analog Game Design," "Hobby Games: the 100 Best," "Family Games: the 100 Best, "and is a contributor and "expert blogger" on His "Game Design" book focuses on practical advice for beginning game designers, about how you actually create and complete game designs. His latest published game is the 2011 reissue with additions of "Dragon Rage," originally published in 1982.

Lew has a Ph.D. in military and diplomatic history from Duke University, from ancient days when degrees in media, computer networking, or game design did not exist--nor did IBM PCs. In 2012 he was a speaker at the East Coast Game Conference, PrezCon, Origins Game Fair, and World Boardgaming Championships. Long ago he was contributing editor for White Dwarf and Dragon magazines.

The Web page for "Game Design" is at
Game design blog: and
Teach game design blog:
"Expert blogger", Gamasutra:

former contributing editor, White Dwarf, Dragon, Space Gamer, etc.
former publisher, Supernova, Blood and Iron, Sweep of History, etc.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Michael on October 6, 2012
Format: Paperback
Although the title of the book uses "video" before "board" hinting that video games would be the focus, the author consistently uses tabletop games for examples as he has actually designed and sold this type of game. At the end of the book he lists noteworthy video games, but doesn't mention very many of them, while he consistently uses his own game "Britannia". He assumes that video games are a close enough so that the principles established in his book will apply to either, and he does a good job of convincing the reader that they are similar enough for him to lend expertise. Of the ten or so chapters, each one is broken down into factors(type of player, objective, chance factor) that should be considered when designing games.

Game Design is not a reference book, nor a book that would be appropriate for the classroom. It is a general guide that helps separate what could be a daunting thought process into a checklist of sorts "consider a, b,c, but also x, y and z. Watch out for p,q,r". The book is very fun to read, if not for the fact that the author seems experienced in what he is talking about. I liked the quotes used by game developers such as cliff belinzski and sid meirs. I can see how would be video game designers coming into the process with a sense of pride of their idea, and a "I know exactly what's best for my game" attitude." Pulsipher stresses a quick prototype and plenty of playtesting. Throughout, he uses board games as the norm, with exceptions being made for the video games side most of the time. Still, I never felt like I was learning something that would never be useful for video games specifically, and I think it is a good book for people who would like to make video, and especially table top games.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Geraldo XEXEO on June 18, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Good book. However,the author is a bit harsh on amateurs game designer.
It is also a very personal book, the author talks about his habits and opinions and avoids discussing other ways of doing things.
It is a good book for a game designer to understand one way of work, but not a first choice book for a game design course.
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