Saturday, April 30, 2011

Family Games: The 100 Best


One of this week’s orders arrive yesterday and with it a book I’d wanted to look through, one that has been out for a year or better:  Family Games:  The 100 Best, published by Green Ronin Games back in January of 2010. 

Looking at Family Games , this is a wonderful book, 380 pages of commentary by some of the top minds in the game industry  (Richard Garfield, Steve Jackson, Kenneth Hite, James Ernest, Robin Laws) on what each feels is one of the most enjoyable and most cleverly designed games from the last one hundred years. Some of the choices are unsurprising.  Lewis Pulsipher picks Blockus and Will Hindmarch chooses Cranium.  However, there are a number of rather surprising choices as well.  James Ernest opts for Candy Land as a game that appeals to both 3 year olds and professional game designers, while Dale Donovan picks The Omega Virus, which Milton Bradley released in 1992 (and I remember seeing under the arm of every other attendee at that year’s GENCON) for a design that’s “so absorbing, so immersive, so well conceived that it gets right under a player’s skin”. Other games chosen include Clue, Great Dalmuti, Magi-Nation and Faery’s Tale Deluxe.  Even Monopoly has a fan in Steve Jackson, who lauds the game’s combination of skill and luck as well as the fact that it has one of the first official expansions for a board game, Stock Exchange, which released in 1936 and the first electron expansion for a boardgame, Monopoly Playmaster, released in 1982.

We did not bring Family Games in to sell though, we brought it in as a sales tool.  It now has “Sales Copy” written prominently across the cover and a store stamp inside and sits on the reading table with other materials for customers to browse through.  It’s the sort of book a customer can’t help but pick up and flip through, to both see what others have said about their own favorite games and to learn about games they never knew existed.  We plan to use it and the Hobby Games:  The 100 Best book as “silent salespeople”.  So far, we have already had two people flipping through Family Games and we only put the book out less than an hour ago.