Hobby Games: The 100 Best

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Hobby Games cover

I’m a tad late with this, I know, but I just finished reading Hobby Games: The 100 Best, which I liked a lot. It’s a collection of hundred short essays on games.

The authors are a variety of games industry notables: designers, publishers, authors and so on. There’s Steve Jackson (both of them, actually), Martin Wallace, Tom Wham, Warren Spector, Richard Garfield, R.A. Salvatore, Larry Harris, Gary Gygax and so on. The contributors are mostly from US or UK, with few exceptions, but even more dominantly they’re male: I counted just a single woman among the hundred contributors.

The list of games is interesting. It’s all hobby games, which means board games, collectible card games, role-playing games, war games and miniature games. No video games, classic board games or mass-market board games, that is. There aren’t that many euro games, but plenty of board games in general.

The contributors had a fairly free choice of what to cover, as long as it was something they really loved. That’s an interesting way to compile a list of 100 best games, and a successful, too. I think the list is very good and particularly for the euro games has all the necessary games and perhaps one or two interesting surprises.

Of course, discussing games that didn’t made the cut or shouldn’t have made the cut is an interesting pastime in itself — I think the list is missing either 1829 or (more likely) 1830.

I would’ve probably chosen Age of Steam myself, that’s another game that could’ve been on the list. The game does have a pretty intense following, seven years after the initial release.

All in all, this is a wonderful book and a good read for any gamer. All sorts of single-genre gamers, particularly video gamers, would do well to read this book and learn about the world of games there is. Many of the essays pass the most important test for something like this: they really make you want to play the game they describe. That’s what really makes a good game essay in my books.

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