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Traditional Board Games

In Summary: a Book Deep But Not Encyclopaedic

A Book of Historic Board Games: front cover
A Book of Historic Board Games: front cover

Sunday, 3rd July 2016

Over the past few weeks I have gone through A Book of Historic Board Games chapter by chapter, describing the games and the reasons for their inclusion in the book.  I hope that readers have enjoyed the series.

Some time ago, I wrote a blog post on the difficulty of writing an overall history of board games.  That's why A Book of Historic Board Games isn't such and avoids labelling itself as such.  Instead, it's a selection of board games from various times and places; each has its history but each history is treated separately.

My first inclination was to write a kind of encyclopaedic work with as many games as possible, inspired by books like H. J. R. Murray's A History of Board-Games Other Than Chess and David Parlett's The Oxford History of Board Games, both of which are currently out of print.  But space considerations demand that such works only summarise the games that they deal with, where I wanted to tell in full the interesting stories behind the games, and the the scope they have for strategic play.

So the final book was more like David Pritchard's Brain Games: World's Best Games for Two, taking a limited number of games and covering them in some depth.  I took some inspiration from Edward Falkener's Games Ancient and Oriental, where the author seems to have had much fun playing the games with friends in the interests of research.

If you are interested in the result, then please visit the book's page on Lulu, where it can be bought without the need for a Lulu account.

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