Uncertainty in Games


Greg Costikyan - 2013
    Things that we thought were good for us turn out to be bad for us (and vice versa); people we thought we knew well behave in mysterious ways; the stock market takes a nosedive. Thanks to an inexplicable optimism, most of the time we are fairly cheerful about it all. But we do devote much effort to managing and ameliorating uncertainty. Is it any wonder, then, asks Greg Costikyan, that we have taken this aspect of our lives and transformed it culturally, making a series of elaborate constructs that subject us to uncertainty but in a fictive and nonthreatening way? That is: we create games.In this concise and entertaining book, Costikyan, an award-winning game designer, argues that games require uncertainty to hold our interest, and that the struggle to master uncertainty is central to their appeal. Game designers, he suggests, can harness the idea of uncertainty to guide their work.Costikyan explores the many sources of uncertainty in many sorts of games -- from Super Mario Bros. to Rock/Paper/Scissors, from Monopoly to CityVille, from FPS Deathmatch play to Chess. He describes types of uncertainty, including performative uncertainty, analytic complexity, and narrative anticipation. And he suggest ways that game designers who want to craft novel game experiences can use an understanding of game uncertainty in its many forms to improve their designs.

Designing Virtual Worlds


Richard Bartle - 2003
    It's a tour de force of VW design, stunning in intellectual scope, spanning the literary, economic, sociological, psychological, physical, technological, and ethical underpinnings of design, while providing the reader with a deep, well-grounded understanding of VW design principles. It covers everything from MUDs to MOOs to MMORPGs, from text-based to graphical VWs.Designing Virtual Worlds brings a rich, well-developed approach to the design concepts behind virtual worlds. It is grounded in the earliest approaches to such designs, but the examples discussed in the book run the gamut from the earliest MUDs to the present-day MMORPG games mentioned above. It teaches the reader the actual, underlying design principles that many designers do not understand when they borrow or build from previous games. There is no other design book on the market in the area of online games and virtual worlds that provides the rich detail, historical context, and conceptual depth of Designing Virtual Worlds.

Game Design Workshop: A Playcentric Approach to Creating Innovative Games, Fourth Edition


Tracy Fullerton - 2018
    This updated new edition is extremely relevant, useful and inspiring to all kinds of game designers. --  Richard Lemarchand, Interactive Media & Games Division, School of Cinematic Arts, University of Southern California------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------This is the perfect time for a new edition. The updates refresh elements of the book that are important as examples, but don't radically alter the thing about the book that is great: a playcentric approach to game design. --  Colleen Macklin, Associate Professor, Parsons The New School for Design------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Tracy Fullerton's Game Design Workshop covers pretty much everything a working or wannabe game designer needs to know. She covers game theory, concepting, prototyping, testing and tuning, with stops along the way to discuss what it means to a professional game designer and how to land a job. When I started thinking about my game studies course at the University of Texas at Austin, this was one book I knew I had to use.--  Warren Spector, Studio Director, OtherSide Entertainment------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------"Create the digital games you love to play."Discover an exercise-driven, non-technical approach to game design, without the need for programming or artistic expertise with Game Design Workshop, Fourth Edition.Tracy Fullerton demystifies the creative process with clear and accessible analysis of the formal and dramatic systems of game design. Using examples of popular games, illustrations of design techniques, and refined exercises to strengthen your understanding of how game systems function and give you the skills and tools necessary to create a compelling and engaging game.Game Design Workshop puts you to work prototyping, playtesting, and revising your own games with time-tested methods and tools. These skills will provide the foundation for your career in any facet of the game industry including design, producing, programming, and visual design.Tracy Fullerton is an award-winning game designer and educator with over 20 years of professional experience, most recently winning the Games for Change Game of the Year Award for her independent game Walden, a game. She has also been awarded the 2016 GDC Ambassador Award, the 2015 Games for Change Game Changer Award, and the IndieCade 2013 Trailblazer award for her pioneering work in the independent games community. Tracy is a Professor of Interactive Media & Games at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and the Director of the USC Games Program, the #1 game design program in North America as ranked by the Princeton Review. Key FeaturesProvides step-by-step introduction to the art of game designing, prototyping and playtesting innovative gamesA design methodology used in the USC Interactive Media program, a cutting edge program with hands-on exercises that demonstrate key concepts and the design methodologyInsights from top industry game designers presented through interview format

Caro's Book of Poker Tells


Mike Caro - 2003
    One of the ten greatest books written on poker, this must-have book should be in every player's library.  If you're serious about winning, you'll realize that most of the profit comes from being able to read your opponents.  Caro reveals the secrets of interpreting tells - physical reactions that reveal information about a player's cards - such as shrugs, sighs, shaky hands, eye contact, and many more.  Learn when opponents are bluffing, when they aren't and why - based solely on their mannerisms.  Over 170 photos of players in action and play-by-play examples show the actual tells.  These powerful ideas will give you the decisive edge.  320 pages

Complete Kobold Guide to Game Design


Wolfgang Baur - 2012
    The Complete Kobold Guide to Game Design offers 240 pages of in-depth essays on what makes RPGs tick. Get time-tested advice from the top designers in the industry. This compilation includes all three volumes of the Kobold Guide to Game Design series—now with all-new material by Wolfgang Baur, Mike Stackpole, and others! From core rules and magic systems to fantasy adventures, monster design, playtesting, and much more, these 40 essays cover every aspect of RPG design in clear, accessible language, to show you what it takes. The City Book Review called it "highly recommended for gaming nerds everywhere"! Pick up the Complete KOBOLD Guide to Game Design today, and starting designing your RPG tonight! Winner, 2012 Gold ENnie Award, Best RPG-Related Accessory

The Game Inventor's Guidebook: How to Invent and Sell Board Games, Card Games, Role-Playing Games, & Everything in Between!


Brian Tinsman - 2008
    Do you have an idea for a board game, card game, role-playing game or tabletop game? Have you ever wondered how to get it published? For many years Brian Tinsman reviewed new game submissions for Hasbro, the largest game company in the US. With The Game Inventor's Guidebook: How to Invent and Sell Board Games, Card Games, Role-playing Games & Everything in Between! he presents the only book that lays out step-by-step advice, guidelines and instructions for getting a new game from idea to retail shelf.

Poker: The Real Deal


Phil Gordon - 2004
    It's a game of skill, and playing well depends on more than just a good hand or the ability to hide emotion. The first step toward developing a style of play worthy of the greats is learning to think like a poker player. In a game where there are no absolutes, mastering the basics is only the beginning -- being able to pull off the strategy and theatrics is the difference between legendary wins and epic failure.

Hobby Games: The 100 Best


James Lowder - 2007
    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.

The Grasshopper: Games, Life and Utopia


Bernard Suits - 1978
    "Nonsense," says the sensible Bernard Suits: "playing a game is a voluntary attempt to overcome unnecessary obstacles." The short book Suits wrote demonstrating precisely that is as playful as it is insightful, as stimulating as it is delightful. Suits not only argues that games can be meaningfully defined; he also suggests that playing games is a central part of the ideal of human existence, so games belong at the heart of any vision of Utopia. Originally published in 1978, The Grasshopper is now re-issued with a new introduction by Thomas Hurka and with additional material (much of it previously unpublished) by the author, in which he expands on the ideas put forward in The Grasshopper and answers some questions that have been raised by critics.

Getting Gamers: The Psychology of Video Games and Their Impact on the People Who Play Them


Jamie Madigan - 2015
    They can be addicting. They are available almost anywhere you go and are appealing to people of all ages. They can eat up our time, cost us money, even kill our relationships. But it's not all bad! This book will show that rather than being a waste of time, video games can help us develop skills, make friends, succeed at work, form good habits, and be happy. Taking the time to learn what's happening in our heads as we play and shop allows us to approach games and gaming communities on our own terms and get more out of them. With sales in the tens of billions of dollars each year, just about everybody is playing some kind of video game whether it's on a console, a computer, a web browser, or a phone. Much of the medium's success is built on careful (though sometimes unwitting) adherence to basic principles of psychology. This is something that's becoming even more important as games become more social, interactive, and sophisticated. This book offers something unique to the millions of people who play or design games: how to use an understanding of psychology to be a better part of their gaming communities, to avoid being manipulated when they shop and play, and to get the most enjoyment out of playing games. With examples from the games themselves, Jamie Madigan offers a fuller understanding of the impact of games on our psychology and the influence of psychology on our games.

Designing Games


Tynan Sylvester - 2013
    You’ll learn principles and practices for crafting games that generate emotionally charged experiences—a combination of elegant game mechanics, compelling fiction, and pace that fully immerses players.In clear and approachable prose, design pro Tynan Sylvester also looks at the day-to-day process necessary to keep your project on track, including how to work with a team, and how to avoid creative dead ends. Packed with examples, this book will change your perception of game design.Create game mechanics to trigger a range of emotions and provide a variety of playExplore several options for combining narrative with interactivityBuild interactions that let multiplayer gamers get into each other’s headsMotivate players through rewards that align with the rest of the gameEstablish a metaphor vocabulary to help players learn which design aspects are game mechanicsPlan, test, and analyze your design through iteration rather than deciding everything up frontLearn how your game’s market positioning will affect your design

Boardgames That Tell Stories


Ignacy Trzewiczek - 2014
    Book that tell an extraordinary story about game design. Learn about terryfying presentation of International Gamers Nominee Pret-a-Porter. Learn how much time was needed to design Golden Geek Best Card Game nominee 51st State. Learn how kids helped designind Dice Tower nominee Robinson Crusoe...Read stories behind scenes. Learn about designing one of the most popular boardgames. You find them all in this one book.

Small Stakes Hold 'em: Winning Big with Expert Play


Ed Miller - 2004
    Every day, tens of thousands of small stakes hold 'em games are played all over the world in homes, card rooms, and on the Internet. These games can be very profitable -- if you play well. But most people don't play well and end up leaving their money on the table. Small Stakes Hold 'em: Winning Big with Expert Play explains everything you need to be a big winner. Unlike many other books about small stakes games, it teaches the aggressive and attacking style used by all professional players. However, it does not simply tell you to play aggressively; it shows you exactly how to make expert decisions through numerous clear and detailed examples. Small Stakes Hold 'em teaches you to think like a professional player. Topics include implied odds, pot equity, speculative hands, position, the importance of being suited, hand categories, counting outs, evaluating the flop, large pots versus small pots, protecting your hand, betting for value on the river, and playing overcards. In addition, after you learn the winning concepts, test your skills with over fifty hand quizzes that present you with common and critical hold 'em decisions. Choose your action, then compare it to the authors' play and reasoning. This text presents cutting-edge ideas in straightforward language. It is the most thorough and accurate discussion of small stakes hold 'em available. Your opponents will read this book; make sure you do, too!

Gametek: The Math and Science of Gaming


Geoff Engelstein - 2018
    Connecting games to math, science, and psychology, GameTek has grown to be one of the most popular parts of the show.This volume commemorates the anniversary with a collection of over seventy of the best segments, many with annotations and illustrations.With chapters on everything from Rock, Paper, Scissors to the Prisoner’s Dilemma to Player Engagement to Quasicrystals to Buddha’s Forbidden Games, GameTek is sure to delight not just game designers and players, but anyone who wants to learn about the world from a new perspective.Sections:• Game Theory• Math• Psychology• Science• Game Mechanics• Psychology Games• HistoryFrom the first time I heard it, the GameTek segment in The Dice Tower podcast became my favorite part of the show. Listening to Geoff is like going to your favorite lesson with your favorite teacher. He teaches about games (yay!) and does it in a very interesting way with lots of examples. He does amazing stuff. He knows about the construction of games, he knows the theory, he knows all that stuff behind the scenes that we gamers do not see when just playing a game and having fun.Ignacy Trzewiczek, Portal GamesThere are many hobby game 'experts' out there, dying to give you their opinion on how the industry works, how games work, what types of games are best, and so on. Geoff Engelstein is the expert that requires your attention. He is a scholar of games, and his research on games and other principles that apply to gaming is matched by none.Stephen Buonocore, Stronghold GamesOver the years, I’ve listened to a lot of people talk about board games, yet the short snippets that Geoff puts out are the ones that I find myself thinking about in the quiet of the night. His are the segments that you laugh at and say, “I have NO idea what you are talking about” — but later on use to show people just how intellectual you are.Tom Vasel, The Dice Tower

A Theory of Fun for Game Design


Raph Koster - 2004
    It features a novel way of teaching interactive designers how to create and improve their designs to incorporate the highest degree of fun. As the book shows, designing for fun is all about making interactive products like games highly entertaining, engaging, and addictive. The book's unique approach of providing a highly visual storyboard approach combined with a narrative on the art and practice of designing for fun is sure to be a hit with game and interactive designers.At first glance A Theory of Fun for Game Design is a book that will truly inspire and challenge game designers to think in new ways; however, its universal message will influence designers from all walks of life. This book captures the real essence of what drives us to seek out products and experiences that are truly fun and entertaining. The author masterfully presents his engaging theory by showing readers how many designs are lacking because they are predictable and not engaging enough. He then explains how great designers use different types of elements in new ways to make designs more fun and compelling. Anyone who is interested in design will enjoy how the book works on two levels--as a quick inspiration guide to game design, or as an informative discussion that details the insightful thinking from a great mind in the game industry.