It is what it says it is on the cover, it's laid out the way you think it ought be, it has a table of contents that is, again, exactly what it ought be, understated illustrations, condensed histories of each game at the beginning of its description/example . . .
It is what you think it is, and that is why it is wonderful. It has a sincerity and authority that I still can't understand why contemporary instructional books react so cynically against, ("for dummies," "This isn't your average how-to book . . .").
This book is a classic on par with Kodak's books on photography.
The older editions cost like 2 bucks if you spend any time in used bookstores, and those are the best ones, from a purely aesthetic standpoint. But smell and touch are far more important in reading this book than any fashion appeal the cover might have.