Contained within the pages of Hobby Games: The 100 Best, edited by James Lowder, is a hundred 3-5 page write-ups and analyses of significant hobby games (which here pretty much means board games, war games, RPGs, and the like). Basically, they went to a hundred significant gaming figures — publishers, designers, writers, whatever and told them to pick a game they loved and write about it.

At worst, the essays devolve into recapping the game rules and saying how much fun it is — which frankly isn’t all that bad in my book, since reading Bruce Shelley (designer of the Age of Empires computer games) tell you that Sid Sackon’s Acquire is a great game is interesting and useful in its own right. At its best, though, the essays give you a little portrait of a particular era in gaming and the historical significance of their chosen game, which is just absolutely fascinating.

About the only criticism I have with the book is the title. There’s no way these are really the “100 best” games, they’re just the favorite games of 100 different people, and I don’t think there’s a single person alive who’d actually defend this as a real top 100 list. But that’s fine (good, really; the Internets are better at putting list together than books are), and the title is probably snappier than any more descriptive alternative, so hey.

If you’re interested enough in this topic to read a book about it, this is a good one to read.


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