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Things We Think About Games Paperback – August 1, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Gameplaywright Press (August 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0981884008
  • ISBN-13: 978-0981884004
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #881,089 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

[Things We Think About Games] should be read by every gamer. A good gamer though, will read it more than once. --Pyramid Picks

Although not fiction, the wonderful Things We Think About Games ought to be required reading for any fantasy fan. In its often Zen-like insights about gaming, you can see both the seeds of fiction and a holy but productive nostalgia for the days when we all played D&D. ... Of course, there's also serious discussion of gaming, from pieces about game "omnivores" to naming characters to packaging and rules. --Realms of Fantasy

About the Author

Will Hindmarch: A Will Hindmarch is a Chicago-born freelance writer and designer with a thing for airships. He co-founded the gameplay-and-story outfit, Gameplaywright, with Jeff Tidball. Will's writing has appeared in The Escapist, Atlanta magazine, Everywhere magazine and McSweeney's Internet Tendency.

In 2007, he was a judge for the MacArthur Foundation's Digital Media and Learning Competition. He has also written small-house plays, small-press comics, and award-winning poetry.

In 2004, he and his wife moved to Atlanta, sight-unseen, like carpetbaggers, so he could become a professional lunatic for White Wolf Game Studio, serving as the developer of the flagship World of Darkness Storytelling Game, Vampire: The Requiem. Prior to that he designed numerous game titles for publishers like Fantasy Flight Games and Atlas Games.

Do not talk to him about zeppelins or we will be here all day.

Jeff Tidball: Jeff Tidball is an Origins Award-winning and Diana Jones Award-nominated tabletop game designer active as a professional designer, writer, and producer of games since 1996. He took a break from full-time game design from 2000-2002 to earn an MFA in Screenwriting from the USC School of Cinematic Arts, which learned him some good story.

Jeff's proudest creative accomplishments are Pieces of Eight, a pirate-ship-combat game played with minted coins and no table, which received the Origins Awards' Vanguard Award for innovation in game design, and Gravity, an unproduced feature screenplay.

Jeff has worked as an employee of Atlas Games, Decipher, and Fantasy Flight Games, and done freelance writing and design for Eden Studios, Green Ronin, Steve Jackson Games, White Wolf Publishing, and others. He has served as the line developer of the tabletop RPGs Ars Magica, Feng Shui, and Decipher's The Lord of the Rings. Until it went south, he was a regular contributor to Games Quarterly Magazine.


More About the Author

Will's writing has appeared in publications online and offline, like The Escapist, Atlanta magazine, Geek Monthly, Everywhere and McSweeney's Internet Tendency. His short stories can be found in numerous anthologies like The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiorisities. Some of his stand-alone short stories are available individually at Amazon, such as "A Desert is Implicit" and "Craftworld."

In addition to fiction writing, Will is a graphic designer and game developer. He's an avid player of tabletop roleplaying games and their many kin. He's drawn not just to fictional tales but to fictional spaces. In the summertime, he instructs at the Shared Worlds writing and world-building camp.

In 2007, Will co-founded the gameplay and story outfit, Gameplaywright Press, with Jeff Tidball. In 2008, Gameplaywright published its first hard-copy title, Things We Think About Games, to critical acclaim within the gaming scene. That book was followed by an essay anthology, The Bones: Us and Our Dice, and then Hamlet's Hit Points, by famed writer and game designer Robin D. Laws.

Will wrote this whole biography in the third person and now he feels all weird about it.

Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Adam Jury on October 19, 2008
Format: Paperback
Bite-sized and approachable, Things We Think About Games is well worth reading for both casual and hardcore game players, and especially for game designers. You won't agree with all of it, and that's part of its charm: one page may make you smile and nod, the next will have you curling your lip in a bitter sneer. Hopefully, it will help you avoid that sneer during the next game you play.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By B. Figgins on June 4, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This isn't the longest book - some pages are mostly white space - but it serves its purpose well. These are things the authors think about games, and they'll get you thinking, too.
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Format: Paperback
Insightful quips and mini-essays on gaming of all kinds, many of which are relevant to writers of all kinds.

Two of my favorites, both applicable to writing:

#028: When playing a game, be aware that the other players are not necessarily playing for the same reason(s) that you are.

#068: A game, as a creative work, has no responsibility to historical or scientific accuracy.

At first glance, it may seem a bit pricey for such a slim volume, but judged on its content and design, it's a great and worthy addition to any writers' inspirational toolkit.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Trevor Burnham VINE VOICE on October 18, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
At 160 pages, this is a slim volume. But it is even slimmer in content.

Most of the pages consist of an aphorism and a paragraph or two. "Try playing that new board game in public," one urges. Another page only says: "Make sure you have two-player games in the house." Just who is the audience for this book? If you already play board games, these tips are superfluous. If you don't play board games yet, they're irrelevant. Some are about video games ("If a video game isn't fun early on, it probably isn't going to become fun later on"). Some are about card games ("Keep your eyes on the discard pile. Shuffle it just before it seems necessary to do so"--that's another full page, by the way). Some are about RPGs ("In a tabletop roleplaying game, the characters are all wearing pants. This is true even though none of the players informed the gamemaster that their characters were putting their pants on."). All of these should be obvious to anyone who's ever played these kinds of games. There are buying tips ("The more logos a game has, the worse it is"), which are superfluous at best in an age where game reviews are so readily available. There are hygiene tips ("Clip your goddamn fingernails"). A few tips are aimed at game designers, but these are mainly cribbed from more substantive books like A Theory of Fun for Game Design.

There are exactly three thoughtful pages in this entire book, in a short essay by S. John Ross that appears at the end. The piece is a reflection on what makes tabletop RPG campaigns fun. It's interesting, but not worth the price of admission for the other 157 pages of fluff. A slightly different version of the essay can be found on Ross' website; just Google "s.
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