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Board and Table Games from Many Civilizations Paperback – August 19, 2010
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All in all, if you can afford the relatively cheap price tag, this game will make a nice addition to your bookshelf. It's not necessarily essential, but it does make for a great reference work.
As with other R.C. Bell books, the formatting and print generally isn't the greatest. Also, there is no standard for reporting the rules though it seems like one could have been established for each game type. Sometimes you get a set of rules, and others you get a kind of a verbose walk through pointing out the rules.
A great introductory read for all the games included. I would definitely cross check the rules with other books or online. Many times, especially with games so old as these, there are slight nuances in reported rules, such as the ability to move 3 instead of 4 spaces, or other small balancing issues like that.
I'm generally a big fan of R.C. Bell's game books. This is is the most comprehensive. Discovering Old Board Games is a great tiny book that covers a ton of books, but they are all included in this one too (Board and Table Games is much less portable). Board Games round the World: A Resource Book for Mathematical Investigations is great from him too. It has larger pages and better formatting and pictures, but not any better content then you can get in his other two books.
But this work is not about such games. The author has done a great amount of research and approached his subject in a very scholarly manner. This is as much a history book as it is a work about its subject, games. This study was first published in 1960 in two volumes. The book being reviewed here is both volumes bound into one edition and was first published in that form in 1979.
This work has many strengths and a few weaknesses; depending upon your particular needs and depending upon your particular passion for the subject. I must tell you that for most, this is not a book that you would probably want to read cover to cover as you would a novel. No, this is more of a reference book than anything else. It is, in my opinion, still one of the best books available on the subject, especially if it is used as an introduction or "seed book" to encourage those who have an interest in such matters to seek out and explore other works. This is not a light read by any means and it most certainly is not a book that will teach the reader the absolute rules or subtle nuances of each game it covers. But let me state again, this is not a light weight "fun" book to read. The author is quite serious about his subject and treats it as such. I dare say that if you have no interest in the subject, your eyes will roll to the back of your head as you read this work.Read more ›
board games ( the Chess/checkers/Backgammon kind rather than the Monopoly/Careers kind). This book
has 15o+ traditional board games from around the
world, some ancient and many very fun to play!
If your into other cultures or just want something
different to play, its a good book.
A number of ones not in standard American repertoire, in this book:
Go, an unusual oriental game said to be on par with Chess(still unbeaten by computers)
Chinese, Japanese, Burmese and Arab versions of Chess, and the ancient ancestor of them all.
Hnefa-tafl, a clever Viking game
Latrunculi, the Roman's game of intellect
Mancala and co., a very weird and very fun group
of games, called "the National Game of Africa"
OK, I'm outta time here, ya get the idea ;)
Additionally, there is enough data to allow you to construct and play the games. Many of the academic books are light on practical details.
I have ought and given away five copies of this book, bought through Dover Pubs. I am happy to see that Amazon picked it up.
This is a great book as either a reference or a fun read for game history buff.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book was advertised as having "shelf wear". It must have been on the shelf for a very long time, as the paperback binding appears to be beginning to come apart in some... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Mike Ewing
This book, unlike the vast majority written about board games, eschews Eurocentricism. An additional bonus is its cost. Read morePublished on December 31, 2013 by K. Anderson
I have perused this book which I found very interesting. I purchased it with the idea that it provided a history/origins of board games, instead this book contains a selection of... Read morePublished on March 11, 2012 by CAROLYN J. BORCHARDT
I have been looking for such a resource for use in my Latin classroom. Bell includes his references to primary sources for the ancient games and that is highly useful.Published on June 6, 2010 by Kevin M. Perry