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Your Move: What Board Games Teach Us about Life

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  134 ratings  ·  35 reviews
Board games are among our most ancient and beloved art forms. During the rise of digital media, they fell from prominence for a decade or two but today they are in a new golden age. They’re ingeniously designed, beautiful to look at, and exhilarating to play. Games are reclaiming their place in our culture, as entertainment, social activity, and intellectual workout equipm ...more
Paperback, 180 pages
Published September 11th 2019 by Sutherland House
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Average rating 3.68  · 
Rating details
 ·  134 ratings  ·  35 reviews

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Oct 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ng
This is a pretty niche topic, but the two authors find interesting ways to explore human society and psychology through the lens of board games. I realized that I am guilty of several of the issues mentioned--trying so hard not to look foolish that all playfulness or fun is lost, and being reluctant to try new games rather than old favorites because of steep learning curves. The authors' takes on various famous games like Monopoly and Scrabble often diverge, so the book overall is more thought-p ...more
Oct 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a really great book to read just in general. The short stories and essays as well as the illustrations/art make it easy to equate to every day life. Turn talking and giving people time to make decisions as you do in a game, is intrinsic to just being a good person and allowing others to be who they are as well. I enjoyed this book far more than I thought I would and I am better for reading it!

Nov 27, 2019 rated it liked it
I think I was expecting more rigour from this book. It builds itself up as a deep-dive into gaming and the real-life lessons we can learn therefrom, and its frequent self-references enhance that impression that you're going to get something really in-depth (or, in fact, that you've gotten something really in-depth, based on the authors' reminiscences about past chapters toward the end). However, it never seemed to get much deeper than "these two people's super casual blog posts about their own f ...more
Oct 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I heard about this book and read an excerpt on the internet and was hooked. I probably fall somewhere in between casual and avid table top gamer. For example, I had heard of most of the games mentioned in this book, and have played or own some of them. I enjoy board/table top games (I will use the two interchangeably since some "board" games do not have boards) and so am probably an ideal audience.

The book is a series of essays by the two authors Jonathan Kay and Joan Moriarity, who provide two
Jul 21, 2020 added it
A fun and surprising book of essays about games, gaming culture, and how our gaming selves interact within the culture itself. It's a fascinating look at the history of boardgames and RPGs, and has a little bit for everyone, covering classics through to new-wave Kickstarter games and beyond. As noted in the intro, it's a dip-in kinda book, too -- the reader can pick and choose which essays to read. Still, a nice narrative flow remains. The essays made me want to go out and explore the history of ...more
May 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a series of essays from two people (one a blooming writer and professional board game guru at Snakes and Lattes in Toronto, and the other a professional writer and semi-recent hobby board game enthusiast). Together they look at various socio-political and cultural
topics through the lease of modern board games. Definitely an interesting and worthwhile read.
Jul 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed reading this book: it's interesting, quick and entertaining, and I would recommend it to tabletop gamer veterans as well as to people new to the hobby. In their series of quick-fire essays, the authors consider various games through sociological and economic lenses - linking them to topics such as the Prisoner's Dilemma, Edward Said's 'Orientalism' and cultural appropriation - to name just a few.

I expected to prefer the chapters about games that
Sep 24, 2020 rated it it was ok
Do you love reading? Do you love board games? Do you love reading about board games?? I have the book for you. Well… not really. I unfortunately cannot recommend Your Move as a good read.

In Your Move, Moriarity and Kay attempt to analyze the impact of board games on societies and relationships and how different cultures approach board games. Expressed in only 166 pages, it is a quick read and the authors focus the majority of their time on some of the most well known board games throughout hist
Gwen Harris
Jul 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a fascinating book of thoughtful and insightful descriptions and analysis of board games. I have always liked board games but not played one for years. I admit that Monopoly was one we played often - highly capitalist which somehow in those days long ago I just accepted. Yes it did weaken a friendship or two. Joan Moriarity's review of the game and its dangers is most enlightening. Ive; also learned that there is such a genre as cooperative games - such as Pandemic - very timely. Jonatha ...more
Brittany Ayres
Jan 15, 2020 rated it liked it
I thought this book would take a deeper dive into the life lessons board games can teach us. That was not the case, as many of the lessons seemed like common sense, or at least surface-level lessons. It was an okay book for what it was, it just was not what I was expecting.

I appreciated that they wrote about a wide selection of board games to appeal to wider audiences. Also, having two authors from different viewpoints (one was an experienced board game player, who had just dipped their toes in
Mar 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I really enjoyed this book. It's a combination of anecdotes and personal opinion of the 2 authors. One who works at a local game cafe. There was some interesting insights on what motivates people to choose the games they play and what they are willing to try. I cannot get the comparison out of my head of the mix of people at a gaming convention to a collection of various music genres. As someone who played ASL, , Diplomacy, D&D and other games as a youth, this book also spoke to me as nostalgic ...more
Dan Watts
Dec 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
I haven't played a board game since I was a kid, and chose this book only because I'm familiar with one of the authors. Fortunately, the book doesn't assume that you know, or are even interested in, board games. It consists mostly of anecdotes, and some observations about the types of games that different personalities are drawn to. It's a short book, and not as deep or analytical as the subtitle would suggest. It's also completely unconnected to Jonathan Kay's other work as an author, editor an ...more
Emilee (emileereadsbooks)
Dec 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thanks for the Gifted Book NetGalley and Sutherland House Books.

As a big fan of tabletop gaming, I was very interested in this book, but the poignant reflection on what games symbolize in our culture and mean to us as a people, surprised me. I really enjoyed each author's take on different elements of table top culture, even when I had not played or maybe even heard of some of the games. If you are a board game fan, I think you will find this an interesting read.
Nathan Woll
Jun 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Some good essays here. I definitely found interesting things to think about. It felt a little too "big picture", I think I would have enjoyed a detailed drill down on some of these topics. Overall pretty good though. ...more
Stacy Milacek
Dec 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. It put into words a lot of the ways I feel about games, but didn't know how to express. ...more
Michelle Mallette
Dec 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
See my full review here.
Even before the current gaming renaissance I've enjoyed playing board games,so I was delighted to discover this title on my NetGalley feed. It’s essentially a discussion of popular games, both good and bad in the authors’ view, from Pandemic to Monopoly to Dungeons & Dragons and more. Gaming teaches us about rules, cooperation, and competition, depending on the game, as well as imagination and leadership. We also learn about other cultures and events - my brother and I pl
Dec 07, 2019 rated it liked it
I little more sociology that I would have liked.
Thanks to for a review copy of this book.

The back and forth of the two authors’ analysis of the assortment of games discussed in this book was delightful to read. Each had insight to offer – a lot with a bit of humor – as he or she explained how each game is played and what we as a society can learn from it. What a great book!

Jena Henry
Aug 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
There’s more to games than family game night! In the world of tabletop games there are many new and exciting games to discover. This book takes a look at games, with each pithy chapter “unboxing” a specific game or type of game. The authors write with an easy-going style as they dissect games most of us have played, such as Scrabble and Monopoly, and party games like Scattegories and Cards Against Humanity. We learn more about role playing games, like Dungeons and Dragons, and tactical wargames. ...more
Aug 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Through connections to board games, Moriarty and Kay clue us in on what we're really after when we're playing these, with results that can have you staring blankly at the page with its jaw-dropping profoundness at one end, and cackling like a fool at the other.

Before you even get into the philosophical minutiae and observations of human behavior, a reader could glean a pretty good education on board games alone (especially if, like me, you're out of the mix on what's "cool" nowadays) without ge
Oct 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: philosophy
Milton Bradley's life was filled with painful lessons about the cruelty of chance.

The winner of the board game of Life is determined arbitrarily by random chance. Your success or failure is almost completely out of your control.

In Monopoly if your opponent lands on one of your hotels, the only way he can pay the rent would be to sell off his own hotels at a 50 percent discount (that is what the rules state must be done).

The aspect of Monopoly is that the poor get poorer and the rich get richer.
Mark Martinico
Oct 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
While this book might be more likely to lure in readers who are already into board games, it has a wider appeal. I tend to think the target audience is anyone who has taken enjoyment on occasion in at least a few common games (Monopoly and Scrabble, for example), who is perhaps interested in learning more about the games they know, as well as a some they don’t, and seeing how aspects of them can relate to life.
I myself am fond of board games, including a few less common ones, but wouldn’t call m
Sep 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"All tabletop games provide players with a path to self-improvement, so long as you are alive to the lessons of the game board."
I liked this book a lot! I didn't know what to expect when I started reading it, but it was such a revelation! Even though I was not familiar with all the board games described, it was an easy read, as the authors gave enough details about each one. And I enjoyed the broad spectrum of the descriptions; one can easily select a starting board game, if not already a fan. "
Diane Ferbrache
Aug 26, 2019 rated it liked it
The authors are a journalist and the owner of a game shop, and they know board games! This is a series of essays on game play, game strategy, the psychology and sociology of games, and a bit of history about board games.

I enjoyed this book, but it is definitely for a niche audience. Yes, there are essays about Monopoly, The Game of Life, and Scrabble, but most of the text is about games and playing the games that would only be know to "hard core" board game players. Nonetheless, there are some
Jan 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020-read
"That is the world of the tabletop, a place where many of life’s great lessons leave their mark— but the sting never lasts longer than the time it takes to put all those little pieces back in their box."

At face value, this is a book chronicling time spent playing various boardgames, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that it encompasses so much more. The authors, the owner of a book game cafe and a journalist turned avid board game player, take turns writing essays focused on various games w
Carro Herdegen
Oct 22, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: kiss-the-book
Language: R (8 swears, 3 “f”); Mature Content: PG13; Violence: PG
Jonathan and Joan are both passionate about board games. They have written and compiled a collection of independent essays about different lessons that we learn about society, history, economy, ourselves, and more from the games we play.
I found about half of the fifteen essays to be dry and difficult to read, but I enjoyed the others. Chapters 3 and 12 were my favorites because they discussed games that I loved growing up. While I
Feb 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully well written

I am so happy to see a book like this in existence. Board games have been such an important part of my life, particularly because of how they bring people together in a way desperately needed in today’s world where everyone is so absorbed in their screens.

This book very eloquently identifies many of the reasons why I so highly value board games, and also offers many insights I had not recognized before. Big thank you to the authors here for this fantastic book! I would lo
Sep 08, 2019 rated it did not like it
Well.. Where to start? Firstly the title caught my attention, it sounded interesting "what board games teach us about life". After reading it, I actually still have no idea. It wasn't really leading anywhere and lost my attention before I made it to the halfway point.

It was a big introduction into which board games exist and what's the goal of each one is and how players might interact while playing it. Sorry to say but it really bored me. I was hoping to get some new insight and maybe have the
Sep 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: amazon-reviewed
Your Move by Jonathan Kay is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in early September.

Between its two writers, board games are described by their origin, gameplay, takeaway meanings, the concepts of being game and playful, the generosity and catch-22 of house rules, and the way they influence us as players. Somehow, it’s all philosophically sound, yet also dynamic and challenging. And, gosh, there are a lot of games I’ve yet to try, like Chinatown, Dead of Winter, Paperback, Rising Sun, and Secret
Oct 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a book about modern board games and some of the psychology behind them. The book is written by two authors and they sometimes alternate chapters, other times they have two in a row. One of the authors I enjoyed a lot more but I refuse to say which one. I really liked the fact that this book was written for the modern board gamer and referenced games that I am very familiar with, along with classics such as Monopoly and Scrabble. I agree with a lot of the points the authors made about th ...more
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