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The Well-Played Game: A Player's Philosophy

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  127 ratings  ·  10 reviews
The return of a classic book about games and play that illuminates the relationship between the well-played game and the well-lived life.In The Well-Played Game, games guru Bernard De Koven explores the interaction of play and games, offering players--as well as game designers, educators, and scholars--a guide to how games work. De Koven's classic treatise on how human bei ...more
Hardcover, 172 pages
Published August 23rd 2013 by MIT Press (first published January 1st 1978)
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Anna Anthropy
Nov 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
the suggestion of this book is that when we play games, our primary goal is often not victory - it's establishing a satisfying dynamic between all included parties, it's meaningful play. we accomplish that through handicaps, through negotiation, through sometimes checking our egos. with suitable playfulness, bernie dekoven explores the complexities of negotiating what he calls "a well-played game."

as a digital game designer, this is a pretty valuable read: often, the rules of digital games are r
...more
James Klagge
Jan 15, 2016 rated it liked it
Originally written in 1978, it has the feel of the '70's. The book reads like a sort of stream of consciousness conversation as the author moves from one aspect to another of game-playing. I am a fan of the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein who famously used "games" as an example of a concept that could not be strictly defined, and yet had a unity through a series of commonalities that he called a "family resemblance." The author's approach is consistent with this, as he never tries to define the ...more
Krzysztof
Mostly high-level musings on the nature of play and what it means to play well with one another. The first half of the read is kind of a slog, but then it all comes together in the second half where more practical solutions are considered. The book is very optimistic in its belief in the potential of creating a play community, but seen as a somewhat lofty handbook for working out kinks and communication issues in your closest gaming group it's a pretty cohesive guide on changing your outlook.

The
...more
Sandy Morley
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
I'm intrigued by the concepts and interested by the perspective, but this is not an easy read. It's fun for a while, but repetitive.

There's a section in chapter 7 that goes like this: "I was having fun being silly like this. My pseudo professorship was like a prelude—a way of savoring. It was fun taking so long to say what I could have said in perhaps less than a hundred words."

If it was at the start of the book, it would be called prescient. Whole chapters seem written just to "play" with the r
...more
Jonathan Cassie
Oct 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An extraordinary book on what it means to be a good player and what games that are well-played look like. A work of philosophy at its heart, it is also a practical way of understanding the differences between play and games and how these differences illuminate aspects of our society. If you have any interest in this topic, start here and you won't go wrong. ...more
Davey
May 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
It's kind of an exploration of what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is talking about with flow. But pretty much in the context of playing games. But then, by the author's definition, lots of things can be games, even things like religious observance. What I like about this is that he brings theory into the world of practice. ...more
Tiffany Taylor Attaway
Jan 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
An easy read but a different perspective on why and how we play games.
Gintaras
May 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A well-read book.
Lori Kane
Jul 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Seminal book for people who aspire to bring more playfulness into the world, especially poets, game creators, play event creators, and inventors.
Steven Hart
Oct 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Really good thoughts, but suffers from poor organization, which sometimes gives the book a rambling feel, especially towards the end.

Even so, still worth the read.
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When author TJ Klune was growing up, he never saw queer characters in books in a way that felt true to his experience.  “They were the...
250 likes · 14 comments
“It is neither work nor play, purpose nor purposelessness that satisfies us. It is the dance between.” 1 likes
“On the one hand we have the playing mind—innovative, magical, boundless. On the other is the gaming mind—concentrated, determined, intelligent. And on the hand that holds them both together we have the notion of playing well.” 1 likes
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