Book on analog game design?
September 22, 2020 2:58 PM   Subscribe

My 9-year-old is currently obsessed with making board games and card games. Can you recommend a book that would talk about game design principles in an accessible way?

Like, designing it and balancing the difficulty and playtesting and stuff like that. It could be "Game Design for Dummies" or it could be "Hey Kids, Here's What Game Designers Do All Day!" or it could be like "Game Design Textbook 101 for College Freshmen." He's willing to read pretty high-level books about topics he's interested in, and if it's REALLY high-level, I'm willing to sit down and help him (and/or read and summarize or whatever). But he'd also be okay with elementary-school level stuff because he's found almost nothing and wants at least something!
posted by Eyebrows McGee to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (5 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
IAA(video)GD. My first thought is to recommend Raph Koster’s A Theory of Fun for Game Design. Haven’t reread it in ages, but IIRC I think it’s a classic that would be applicable to any type of game.
posted by liet at 4:48 PM on September 22

Highly recommend Game Design Workshop: A Playcentric Approach to Creating Innovative Games -- lots of focus on hands on prototyping that sounds right up your (kid's) alley and very accessible.

Also recommend liet's suggestions of the Koster book.
posted by whisper_robin at 4:50 PM on September 22

Sort of goes in the opposite direction, but Zach Gage specializes in making nicely designed games that translate from analog into the digital realm and he gives lots of talks about this topic. Sometimes he writes a synopsis as well. Here’s his website. I am just obsessed with his Flipflop Solitaire game...
posted by oceanjesse at 7:05 PM on September 22

This falls more in the category of Game Design Textbook / reference book, but Building Blocks of Tabletop Game Design: An Encyclopedia of Mechanisms is really useful.
posted by ciocarlia at 3:42 AM on September 23 [1 favorite]

New Rules for Old Games

Sid Sackson A Gamut of Games
posted by mecran01 at 9:22 AM on September 23

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