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The Game Inventor's Guidebook: How to Invent and Sell Board Games, Card Games, Role-Playing Games, & Everything in Between! Paperback – November 1, 2008
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The book opens with short descriptions of some of the success stories of the past couple decades:
* Trivial Pursuit
* Magic: the Gathering
* Dungeons & Dragons
* The Pokemon Trading Card Game
If you're not familiar with the stories behind these games, they make very interesting reading, especially for indies. With the exception of the Pokemon TCG, these are stories of dedicated individuals pursuing a dream and not giving up when things get tough.
After that, the book describes how the game publishing industry works, and provides summaries of the companies and games that a would-be "game inventor" should be aware of.
More useful than the birds-eye view of how the industry works are the frequent interviews with publishers and game designers. These are probably the best part of the book. Such modern "name" game designers like Reiner Knizia (Lord of the Rings, Tigris & Euphrates & many, many more), Brian Hersch (Outburst, Taboo), Mike Fitzgerald (Mystery Rummy, Wyvern), and more, discuss how they got started and how they approach game design. Equally informative were the interviews with publishers such as Mike Gray of Hasbro, Peggy Brown of Patch, Mike Osterhaus of Out of the Box, and others.
Because of the costs associated with games of this nature, the book several times cautions against self-publishing your game ideas, recommending that the would-be game inventor go through a publisher.Read more ›
I feel that the book is less of a guide and more of a showcase. The author does provide plenty of resources though so that if you design a game you can contact people through what he provides but that is really about it. Otherwise the book simply goes through success stories and only touches the surface of game design and when in this stage of the book the advice is simple common sense. Then, after the short amount dedicated to design it goes into legal protection, etc.
Perhaps I simply expected more than I what I was getting into. Again, this book is by no means bad, it is an enjoyable read for a person who is interested in the field but don't expect to learn too much pertaining to designing your game.
That being said, my wife and I just got word from a publisher that they'd like to develop and produce our game. I guess I'll have to go back and read Brian's chapter on "What to do if they say 'Yes!'"
Thanks for a great book, Brian!
Tinsman opens with a series of anecdotes about four of the wildly successful games of our time - Trivial Pursuit, Magic: The Gathering, Dungeons and Dragons, and Pokemon. These stories of blockbuster proportions are exciting to read, inspiring to imagine, and yet a little daunting to the hopeful designer. What are the odds of coming up with the next Monopoly? Is that too crazy to consider?
Perhaps, but Tinsman offers much more than just a review of the peak games of the age. He follows with chapters on the nature of the industry, the considerations that publishers have when they consider a new design, and the motivations behind designing (or as he likes to say, "inventing") games. I found especially interesting his description of the inner workings of a game company and the internal considerations that weigh on whether a game is published.
Tinsman spells out four "markets" for games, and here I could quibble with his taxonomy, but really, his classification works for the purposes of his book, which come down to the different ways to approach design, publication, and marketing.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Despite the "How to invent" in the subtitle, this book is almost exclusively about the board game industry. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Dirk Haun
Excellent book. Lots of information, lots to study and absorb. The author points you in the right direction. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Graciela Sholander
This book is fine. I think I personally needed a different type of guidebook for what I was attempting to do.Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
Very nice book which gives an overview of the Game Industry. I wished that this book was updated to include how kickstarter and reviews from wellknown reviewers affect.Published 6 months ago by Adi
This book answered a lot of questions I had about game inventions.Published 11 months ago by F. Jones
I bought this book because I have respect for Brian Tinsman as a Magic designer. I really expected more from this book based on the rating.
I *want* to give this a 3... Read more