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Things We Think About Games Paperback – August 1, 2008
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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
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
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.
Top Customer Reviews
It is really a collection of pithy statements.
One of the points that the book makes early on is that role-playing games are "toys" and not games (rule #6), but the book actually has a large number of its pithy statements that involve RPGs. I'm adding this point up-front in the review, because this is a book about board and card games, not RPGs even though Robin Laws does the foreword.
I read the whole book cover to cover while riding the stationary bike at the local Rec Center in less than twenty minutes. Most of the pages in the book are 2/3 to 3/4 white space.
It is going for about $15 at the time I write this, and that is a lot better than the $40 I paid to buy it hot off of the presses.
There are some books, "Defining Fun," "101 Design Methods," "Mastering the Game," etc. that you will read, re-read and learn something new from every time you invest the time to delve into the book. Other books are entertaining at the time, but once you read them you have gotten every thing out of them that you can. This book falls into that latter category.
Wil Wheaton, John Kovalic, and other of the contributors are well known in and ardent supporters of the gaming community, and it was worth a read to see their quotes.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Reviewer Trevor Burnham has it right. This is a short essay padded with whitespace; certainly not $20 worth. The "things" are generally obvious and uncontroversial.Published on March 27, 2012 by Peter Drake
Things We Think delivers just what it promises to: quick thoughts on games from people who spend their waking hours designing them. Read morePublished on March 18, 2011 by Zack
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. Read more