Read Hobby Games: The 100 Best by James Lowder Bill Bodden Online


In Hobby Games: The 100 Best, the top designers, authors and publishers in the hobby games field write about the most enjoyable and cleverly designed games of the last 50 years. Their essays cover the spectrum of the hobby market, from role-playing games to collectible card games, miniatures games to wargames to board games, with titles both familiar and esoteric. WritersIn Hobby Games: The 100 Best, the top designers, authors and publishers in the hobby games field write about the most enjoyable and cleverly designed games of the last 50 years. Their essays cover the spectrum of the hobby market, from role-playing games to collectible card games, miniatures games to wargames to board games, with titles both familiar and esoteric. Writers include such legendary designers as Gary Gygax, co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons; Richard Garfield, creator of Magic: The Gathering and Larry Harris, creator of Axis and Allies; best-selling authors R. A. Salvatore, Tracy Hickman, Ed Greenwood, and Michael Stackpole; computer industry notables Bruce Shelley of Ensemble Studios (Age of Empires) and Jack Emmert of Cryptic Studios (City of Heroes); as well as dozens of other noteworthy and award-winning creators. Hobby Games: The 100 Best also features a foreword by board game legend Reiner Knizia and an afterword by wargame legend James F. Dunnigan....

Title : Hobby Games: The 100 Best
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781932442960
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 380 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Hobby Games: The 100 Best Reviews

  • Nicole
    2019-03-16 04:56

    As the publisher (and a contributor) I'm totally biased but I read through the book as a proper book (as opposed to in pieces during approvals or proofing) and I can't commend editor James Lowder enough on the fine job he did with this project. I found myself reading essays on games I would never have willingly picked up on my own initiative and thinking how fun they sounded and how I should give them a try. I guess you could say I loved this book so much I decided to publish it. I'd think it was pretty swell even if I hadn't been involved at all.

  • Dom
    2019-03-14 07:47

    I went into this hoping it would be comprised of descriptions of why the contributors love these games, but too often they're straight-up descriptions that are no different from box copy or reading the manual. Disappointing - but more of a problem with me than with the text. RPGs, miniatures, wargames, and board games are all covered.

  • Jason
    2019-03-24 07:53

    James Lowder has done an excellent job coralling the hobby's who's who to pontificate many of our most treasured games. By enforcing two rules -- you can't talk about your own game, and the essays need to be about 3 pages in length -- he strikes the right balance between depth an diversity. I wouldn't want to read an in depth discussion of a lot of RPGs, but 3 pages -- great. It works for me. In many cases, the most interesting bit is the little biographical paragraph that serves as a "where are they now" for the gaming legends making contributions. A couple of broad observations. Every big name from the RPG/Wargaming world of the 80s seems to have migrated (with greater or lesser success) over to computer gaming. Its shocking to see that the little circle of people from TSR et. al, then all migrated to Microprose and to the other legendary computer game companies. In short, the small world of board and RPG gaming managed to pick up and recreate that same small world in computer gaming. Secondly, though I am not much for RPG's, it was interesting to read about the development and evolution of them. In many senses, the RPG essays seemed interlaced, as one essay would mention a game which would be highlighted in another essay, which would cross reference the earlier game and mention another. In that way, you got a real sense of how RPGs moved away from their miniatures roots into the realm of storytelling. Again, while it was not my cup of tea, it was quite interesting. Since Green Ronin was the publisher, it did seem like RPG authors (and to some extent, games) were over-represented and Euros, Wargames and CDGs were under-represented. I say that not out of boardgame bigotry, just as a fact. The biggies are there -- Axis and Allies, Squad Leader, the obvious choices, but not a ton of depth. The wargames represented are the type you to which you would expect a role player to have been exposed. Similarly Settlers, El Grande, Puerto Rico all get nods, but the more obscure Euros just aren't there. That stands in contrast to the RPGs represented -- games like Toon -- which is hardly the game on every roleplayer's lips. But I found myself enjoying the essays on games that I had not been exposed to, more than the ones I had. For the record, I have played 49 of the top 100 games. That stands in contrast to the 907 games I have rated on the Geek. Of course, I did not have a ton of roleplaying games to tick off, but there are some wargaming classics I have also missed. I've never played WizWar or Stalingrad for instance. But for the most part, the games I have missed were before my time. There were also a few essays that were a tad self-serving. They were used as a way for a game designer to explain how he was a genius just like XXX. But taken on the whole, the quality of the writing was quite good. Twilight Struggle's inclusion definitely helped, but I was ended up glad that I read the book from cover to cover. Its not really going to be of much use to anyone outside the hobby, but for those of you in it, its well worth a quick read.

  • Mike
    2019-02-26 04:58

    One hundred designers, authors and publishers in the tabletop gaming field were asked to list their top 3 or so games and then write an essay describing their top pick (or a lower choice if someone else had already claimed that one). So the book could have been quite different if different people were chosen, or even if the chosen participants had different priority regarding their entry. It gives the list an interesting make up and suits the goal of making everything positive instead of inciting arguments about inclusions or rank, but didn't lead to the general diversity one might hope. The collection is rpg heavy, allowing some esoteric gems to appear for that genre but really only the expected "big names" for the remainder of the field (Eurogames, card games, miniature games, etc). As a gamer who favors all of the latter, while this slant was understandable it none the less knocked the book down a notch for me.I've read these essays slowly a few at a time over several years. I still found myself doing a lot of skimming. The essays are competently written and I like getting an inside view on what designers like and are inspired by, but the majority of most essays is spent explaining gameplay in detail. For experienced gamers (like myself) it was usually far more than needed to get the gist of the game and greater discussion of intangibles and what made the game fun/loved would have been preferable. For newcomers it is probably too much information. Either way I think these could have been written to be more engaging and useful.All that said this isn't a bad list by any means and there are some stand out entries. It's also clearly produced by contributors who love gaming and are excited about sharing that with others. Knowing going in that this is a book by professionals explaining the mechanisms of their favorite games and taking a look at the table of contents listing the games included should be enough to decide if it's worth your time/effort.

  • Serge Pierro
    2019-02-25 08:40

    In this interesting collection of essays we are presented with the "100 Best" Hobby games. Of course one has to keep in mind that this book was written in 2007, so it doesn't contain any of the recent classics such as Dominion, as well as any of the other games from the recent "Golden age" of gaming.Each game is reviewed by an industry insider and usually includes the general game play, as well as what makes it unique. Some big name designers offer some excellent insights throughout. I felt that there were too many RPG's and War Games, but again, at the time of publication the distribution would have probably been considered accurate. I was exposed to several games that I was unaware of, as well as a few designers who were under the radar, so it was well worth reading from cover to cover. When one is done with the book, you get a real sense as to the impact many of these games had within their genre, as well as their impact on the marketplace. At some point I hope to have the time to read this again, as it was filled with a lot of interesting information from some of the most brilliant minds within the industry.

  • Corey
    2019-03-08 05:30

    This is a good niche book for people who are interested in wargames and "designer" games. A lot of old classics are here, such as Kingmaker, Diplomacy, Squad Leader, and the Great Kahn Game(?!). Also newer games like Power Grid and Puerto Rico. Of course Dungeons and Dragons, and Magic: The Gathering are also included. Instead of going with an internet ranking, the editor asked 100 game designers to write a short essay on a game they thought was exceptional and influential in the hobby. This lead to a somewhat idiosyncratic collection, but one that is less redundant with the Top 100 on BoardGameGeek. I read the essays in order and found that about a third of them were interesting to me. That could be seen as a big miss rate, but given that there aren't any other books like this, I'm still recommending it.

  • Jon
    2019-02-27 11:49

    Very interesting mix of essays on games. There's some really good essays in this collection. The slightly low rating is that many are a bit repetitive and tend to describe the mechanics of games rather than what made the games enjoyable. I think this is an excellent book to own and read through the essays slowly here and there as a game catches your interest.[return][return]Scott's Haring essay on Illuminati is a great example of one that captured the spirit and what made the game great.[return][return]That being said, I'm likely to re-read this one before I return it to the library, taking better notes on games I want to play.[return][return](just in case any read this and are board gamers, you can find me as jtgorman at

  • Stephanie
    2019-02-24 11:36

    My husband and I recently got into board gaming, so I decided to read this book and see if any other available titles jumped out at me. The book includes a nice mix of RPGs, board games, card games, and miniatures games, but really only the board games appeal to me. I wouldn't necessarily recommend this book as a resource for new gamers b/c many of the games mentioned are extremely advanced or out of print, but it was still entertaining. As a sidenote, my current favorite made the top 100 in this book...Carcassonne!

  • Nancy
    2019-03-13 08:40

    If you've ever wondered what Gary Gygax loved to play, and why, this book will tell you. Seriously, though, it's pretty fun to read from game designers why they love particular games, even if it seems like more of them love war games than the kinds of games I like.

  • Rick
    2019-03-18 07:36

    Believe it or not, there were a lot of games in this list that I hadn't ever heard of before. There were also a couple that I want to pick up at some point as well. It was heavier on the role playing games then my interests, but enjoyable all the same.

  • Rolf
    2019-03-04 08:45

    If you new (or thinking of re-entering) the world of board gaming, war gaming, or role playing, this book is a great way to get an overview of the games, both new and old, that are in their own way classics.

  • Sam Schimek
    2019-02-22 05:28

    I wanted to really like this book, but it just seemed to let me down at every turn. Neither strategy or nostalgic looks back moved me to much interest. It's OK if you are looking for a good list of games, but that is about it.

  • John
    2019-02-23 07:57

    One hundred people in the game industry each pick one of their favorite games and describe why it's one of their favorites. A great way to both become acquainted with some great games and to get an idea about what makes them great.

  • Andy Howell
    2019-03-23 07:29

    Fantastic reference book for all the gamer geeks out there. Bought and played Bohnanza based on the write-up. Had a great time, and of course Elena won. She built a stink bean empire.Green Ronin, reprint this book with an index!

  • John
    2019-03-03 07:56

    Mostly boring.

  • Ien Cheng
    2019-03-17 08:47

    A few nice mini-essays here, but there is generally better writing about these kinds of games online at BoardGameGeek.

  • Daniel
    2019-03-18 10:56

    Interesting essays by game designers about the games that influenced them.

  • Kimbeattie
    2019-03-22 03:33

    I enjoyed reading the reminisces of some of the designers and reading about games I remember fondly, but for someone well steeped in the game hobby, there was nothing really new in this volume.

  • John Hsieh
    2019-02-24 09:42

    Fantastic book!

  • FranklinTV
    2019-03-24 10:57

    Really Nice dip in often to read an article or two book. Given the number of time I keep dipping back into this book, it has to be 5 stars.

  • Shawn Stone
    2019-03-11 06:48

    I love to read game designers talking about game design and the history of games, so this book is straight up my alley.

  • Bill
    2019-03-05 04:49