The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

Which I was just about to comment on

I see (via Linnaeus) that there’s a book of essays on “The Best 100 Hobby Games” with noted game designers penning essay tributes. I should look into it.

I’ve played roughly 1/2 of the list (which includes CCGs, Miniatures, and RPGs, as well as Euros and Wargames). I’ve snarked on lists like that before, but this one’s pretty good. First of all, any list that includes My Beloved Shadowfist shall be absolved many sins.

Second, even the games I haven’t played I recognize, and those that I don’t like do have some claim to fame. The only real reach is “My Life with Master.” [I’m basing this on Greg Costikyan’s online review from a few years back]. The game clearly intends to more Art than Fun. But Costikyan has always stretched the boundaries, so his nod to MLwM is true to form.

Anyway, looks worth a read. And seeing as how I just finished up the Aubrey-Maturin series, I need more reading material.

[Linguistic discussion of my title construction at Language Log]


Written by taogaming

September 13, 2007 at 11:37 pm

Posted in Misc

6 Responses

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  1. I’m four books into the Aubrey-Maturan series…does it hold up?


    September 14, 2007 at 7:35 am

  2. I still intend on picking up the Best 100 Games book, but I have to say I’m a little disappointed with the list. Like you, I’ve played about half of the games (45 of them, to be precise). 13 are in my personal Top 100, but there’s only half a dozen others that I look forward to playing. Having the number of games I’m likely to play come in at less than 20% isn’t a great match, IMO. Most of the games I haven’t played I’ve at least heard of (there’s only 15 that are unknown to me), but even that figure is a bit higher than I’d have liked.

    The large number of unplayed titles isn’t too surprising, I guess, given the editor’s desire to pick from many different categories. I’m no wargamer, have played only a couple of CCGs, and while I used to dabble in quite a few different role-playing systems, those days of experimentation ended about 20 years ago.

    I was just hoping for something a little different. There was a brief glimmer of hope that this would be the long awaited book summarizing the eurogame experience (either its history or critiques of its most popular and significant games). I wonder if we’ll ever see a title which remotely approaches that goal.

    Larry Levy

    September 14, 2007 at 11:07 am

  3. Well, I finished the series, so I’m fairly obliged to say it does. It’s a slow-moving series (languid, at times) but I don’t think the quality drops off noticeably. There’s a rhythm after the first few books; they have to establish it. Definitely an acquired taste, but usually I figure anyone whose made it through 1000 pages of O’Brian probably likes it.


    September 14, 2007 at 12:20 pm

  4. Well, I’m not likely to play many of the games either. I glanced at the list and I’d be happy to play roughly 1/3rd of the games listed. In fact, I’ve played about 20-25 of the games listed since I moved (a touch over two years).

    I wouldn’t mind seeing a coffee-table book on Eurogames. Looks like you’ll need to write it. Personally, if I were pitching the book, I’d make it “The Greatest Games You Haven’t Played.” I’d have a section on the classics (Settlers, Puerto Rico, etc) and then a section on Author’s picks. The prior book just seems to have author’s picks,


    September 14, 2007 at 12:55 pm

  5. I’ll admit that I didn’t look too hard at what didn’t make it. Although, now that I think about it … Titan, 18xx, Age of Steam, Tichu (I wouldn’t put it in, but lots of people have played thousands of times). And the wargames I just skimmed over … I can’t really comment on any older titles. (And, remember, I like Here I Stand, although I could certainly seem flipping it PoG or WtP or Hannibal. Certainly it’s too new to really qualify). Should World in Flames be on the list? I’ve no idea (although I “played” it once, I never really grasped it). But I wouldn’t be surprised but its appearance, or by its absence. Such is the nature of the genre.

    Whenever you have a “100 Greatest” the most interesting part (ignoring overlooked items) are the bottom half of the list. If I asked for 100 Most influential rock musicians/bands, nobody would be surprised to see the Beatles, Elvis, The Who, The Stones (etc) in the top spots. And the order is somewhat a matter of taste. But rounding out the rest of the spots …. that’s interesting.

    Now, if this book had missed Settlers (or D&D, or Magic), then we could scoff. For all I know, they did that with Wargames (and We the People/Hannibal does seem a glaring omission, although the HiS article probably references it), but I’ll withold savagery until I read the book.

    Again, if you, Larry, Sumo, Peter Sarrett, Rick Thornquist, etc etc do such a book, I think it would be great.


    September 14, 2007 at 7:18 pm

  6. I assume it’s ‘The Warlord game’ which is a classic – published by Games Workshop in their early days as Apocalypse – the combat system is pretty unique and lots of fun. One of my ‘most played’ games as we played it to death when it came out, but it’s been a while now.

    Gery McLaughlin

    September 16, 2007 at 9:14 am

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