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The Kobold Guide to Board Game Design

4.14  ·  Rating Details ·  155 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
The Kobold Guide to Board Game Design gives you an insider's view on how to make a game that people will want to play again and again. Author Mike Selinker (Betrayal at House on the Hill) has invited some of the world's most talented and experienced game designers to share their secrets on game conception, design, development, and presentation. In these pages, you'll learn ...more
Paperback, 138 pages
Published 2011 by Open Design
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Eric Kolb
Jan 18, 2014 Eric Kolb rated it it was amazing
A great collection of essays on the art and craftsmanship of board game design. If this is something you want to take on as an amateur, you need to read this. It's packed full of relevant and useful advice. Even if you've already heard everything these industry pros have to tell you, it's worth reviewing. Each of the authors (save one*) writes with passion and expertise about their subject.

While reading this book, I frequently found myself looking around the room, asking, "Geez, where'd I'd leav
Jul 16, 2016 Haffi rated it liked it
Boardgame design is a long and windy process which definitely needs some guidelines like this book provides. But what I personally am into learning more about is mechanism design and there I was a bit let down content wise.

Some things were good in that respect though. I liked most the chapter "stealing the fun" by Dave Howell since it actually provided useful insight to guide mechanism design.
David Macpherson
Mar 05, 2016 David Macpherson rated it really liked it
I don't play board games and I don't have an interest in make board games, but this was a smart collection essays about how to create a product that people will buy and play and want to continue through expansion packs and sequals of the games. A lot of the essays are good for any creative type: how do you make the rules clear, how do you not take game testing personally, how do you make something fun. A lot of it is about respecting the time and intelligence of the audience and that's just inte ...more
Sep 26, 2012 John rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, gaming
There's a lot of good stuff in this book if you are an aspiring board game designer. Parts 1 and 2, Concepting and Design, are especially good and applicable in all situations. Parts 3 and 4, Development and Presentation are important as well, but a lot of it is only applicable if you plan on licensing your design to a publisher.

For me personally, the Concepting and Design chapters were mainly just a reinforcement of what I already knew from listening to a lot of game design and review podcasts,
Craig Dube
Oct 28, 2013 Craig Dube rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Board games are a passion of mine, one that I've recently rekindled. I not only like to play board games, but I'm interested in their themes and mechanics. There seems to be a tremendous amount of innovation that is continually going on with board and card games. After playing a game, I'll often revisit the rules and spend some time thinking about what I would change to improve the experience. Occasionally I'll have my own ideas about what would make for an interesting game and have wondered wha ...more
Demian Katz
Jun 27, 2016 Demian Katz rated it liked it
I enjoyed reading perspectives on game design from several designers whose work I admire; however, being a practical guide for would-be board game publishers, the book spent a lot of time on issues that weren't of direct interest to me. I recognize that this is probably for the best given the target market of the text, but as a more casual reader I think I would have enjoyed it more with a greater emphasis on the theoretical aspects of game design and less on the business concerns.
Jun 24, 2015 Eddy rated it it was amazing
A great introductory guide for people interested in making board games (although there are applications to other kinds of game design as well). It lightly touches on a number of topics, including pacing, how to approach mechanics, and prototyping. I picked up a few new tips from reading it, and would recommend it as a good collection of supporting essays for a game design class or self-education.
miha ha
Apr 29, 2016 miha ha rated it really liked it
Shelves: art-stvari, 2016, zanimiva
Čist fino branje, velik zanimivih idej in nasvetov in me to čist zanima zdj k sm se nad igrami navdušu in sm poln idej kaj bi lahko ble krasne teme za nove igre. heh

Edino na konc ko pišejo bl o izdajanju in previcah in produkciji in predstavljanju ideje in prototipov velikim firmam ki bi ti igro natisnle me kr mejčkeno stiska, mene je kr strah... kr se mi zdi preveliko... oz. se sam ne počutim zadost velikega da bi spravu kej to te stopnje... nevem

Js sm samo navdušen nad idejo da bi naredu kako
Jim Tarsi
Mar 14, 2014 Jim Tarsi rated it really liked it
Great collection of essays by a who's-who of the gaming industry (Richard Garfield, Steve Jackson, James Ernest, Mike Selinker, Andrew Looney, and many more who I forget right now). Many essays discuss what makes a game good and interesting, so you don't need to be a budding game designer to enjoy the book.
Mar 07, 2015 Anne rated it it was amazing
For amateurs embarking on a board game design journey. Filled with practical and useful information, as well as a sense of humor. I suspect I will internally analyze and critique gaming experiences from here on out, which will be both good and bad.
Popzara Press
Dec 22, 2013 Popzara Press rated it liked it
Zombies, time travelers, stoners, mobsters, werewolves, penguins, squirrels, rock bands, exploding cows, and competitive sushi chefs have taken over my game shelf, leaving little room for Cthulhu and the warrior mice. They’re all metaphors, of course. If games are “interactive mathematical systems,” as one writer in this essay collection puts it, the metaphor is what turns the math into a story. Whether you’re seeking advice on success from the successful, or just a fan curious to learn how the ...more
Brandon James
Jul 02, 2014 Brandon James rated it it was amazing
Easily one of the best books on design I've ever read. As others have mentioned, this isn't really a "How-To" book and not even specific to board games, but a collection of essays on what to expect during each phase of the development process. The essays by Richard Garfield and Dave Howell are fantastic and Howell, who I had not heard of before, has become a real inspiration. If you're interested in, or are doing any kind of development in the game space (AAA video games, indie games, board game ...more
Jun 12, 2016 FranklinTV rated it really liked it
Shelves: gaming
Looks like an excellent book on designing a board game. However, before I can really appreciate it, I first need to design my game!
Rob Stone
Mar 08, 2016 Rob Stone rated it it was amazing
Shelves: game-design
Essential reading for any board game designer. I would recommend this book to anyone considering board game design as a career or hobby.

Serge Pierro
Mar 21, 2015 Serge Pierro rated it really liked it
Shelves: games
The Kobold Guide to Board Game Design is an excellent collection of essays assembled by Mike Selinker. Each essay has an introduction by Selinker, and they are written by a knowledgable member of the gaming industry. Essayists include: Steve Jackson, James Ernest, Richard Garfield, as well as others, including Selinker himself. There's lots of good information contained throughout the book, and would be highly recommended for aspiring game designers!
Tina Christensen
Mar 21, 2015 Tina Christensen rated it it was amazing
Plenty of valuable advice through all steps of game design and development. Recommended!
Feb 11, 2015 Joem rated it liked it
Pretty fun to read. Good anecdotes and advice from industry insiders.
Aug 28, 2014 Craig rated it it was amazing
Shelves: games
Great mix of articles: across topic, stage of design, gender...a really solid primer with mix-and-match essays for use in classrooms.
Mar 04, 2015 Loren rated it really liked it
This book is packed with concise and well written essays revolving around all aspects of board game design. There were only a couple essays that I didn't find very helpful, but more often than not the essays were thoroughly marked up by a highlighter.
Joe Vander Zanden
Mar 23, 2015 Joe Vander Zanden rated it it was amazing
Very helpful collection of essays from designers and developers.
Apr 05, 2016 Mackenzie marked it as to-read
Shelves: acadia-moon
I don't own this book - but I'm thinking about it. I didn't know I wanted to design board games - but all the things I think up have physical elements to them - so maybe I do!
Jul 02, 2012 Bill rated it it was amazing
I got the opportunity to develop a boardgame for work, and I picked this up to help me. The essays gave me a lot of ideas on what to think about for all stages of development. Nice resource. I'm thinking about skimming through again.
Jan 05, 2012 Mikolajl rated it it was amazing
Shelves: boardgaming, poradnik
A very interesting book describing the whole process of designing, testing and producing board games. It is described by people who hava a lot of experience in the fiels. A fun and very informative read.
Shannon Appelcline
I read the first couple of articles in this book, and they showed such a willful ignorance of the extremely successful world of eurogame design that I had to put it aside.
Jun 28, 2012 Christopher rated it liked it
Not so much a how-to but a pretty good collection of essays from various folk in the business of board game design. Would've liked to have had more...
Ruben Monteiro
May 25, 2015 Ruben Monteiro rated it really liked it
Nice tips and curious stories.
William Burgess
Jul 22, 2014 William Burgess rated it really liked it
Good info for budding game designers.
May 28, 2015 Brian rated it really liked it
Great essays, which will make me think more about the games I play.
May 02, 2014 Abraham rated it it was amazing
Brilliant, inspiring and caused an about face in my creative process.
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