Cover image for The Oxford history of board games
Title:
The Oxford history of board games
Author:
Parlett, David, 1939-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, [1999]

©1999
Physical Description:
xiii, 386 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780192129987
Format :
Book

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GV1312 .P37 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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Summary

Summary

For thousands of years, people have been planning attacks, captures, chases, and conquests - on a variety of different boards designed for an astonishing diversity of games. Today the compelling mix of strategy, skill, and chance is as strong as ever; new board games are invented almost daily,while the perennial favourites continue to attract new devotees and reveal new possibilities. The Oxford History of Board Games investigates the principles of board games throughout the ages and across the world, exploring the fascinating similarities and differences that give each its unique appeal, and drawing out the significance of game-playing as a central part of human experience - asvital to a culture as its music, dance, and tales. Beautifully illustrated and with diagrams to show the finer points of the games, this is a fascinating and accessible guide to a richly rewarding subject. In his trade-mark accessible, entertaining style, David Parlett looks at the different families of games: games based on configuration or connection, races or chases, wars or hunts, capture or blockade. He focuses mainly on traditional games, the folk entertainments that have grown up organicallythrough the centuries, and which exhibit endless local variations, although he discusses also the commercial products that have tried, with varying degrees of success, to match their astonishing popularity. This is not primarily a how-to book, although the rules and strategies of certain games are discussed in detail, neither does it offer sure-fire tips for success, although with a fuller understanding of a game the reader will undoubtedly become a better-informed, if not better, player. Rather, itis an affectionate and authoritative survey of one of the most familiar parts of our cultural history, which has until now been inexplicably neglected.


Author Notes

David Parlett is a renowned author, inventor, and researcher in the field of games. Amongst his board games is Hare and Tortoise, which has been published in ten languages and won three Game of the Year awards.


Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

This book by Parlett (A Dictionary of Card Games, Oxford Univ., 1992) is a superb work that succeeds in defining board games from their ancient inception to the present day. The most basic games were of a race nature (from point A to point B). Board games then evolved by implementing dice, cards, extra pieces, and territories. This exhaustive work is more an informative reference than an easy read, with subjects divided into Race Games, Space Games, Chase Games, Displace Games, and War Games (such as chess). The book gets high marks for historical depth, and includes game varieties from every country. Readers will find one shortcoming, however: a lack of "how-to" strategies for winning play. Instead, there is detailed research on the mechanisms of games. This is a worthy updating of H.J.R. Murray's classic A History of Board Games Other Than Chess (1952). Great tidbits or obscure, entertaining facts can be found on any given page. The game mechanisms can also be applied with little ingenuity. Highly recommended.ÄMarty Soven, Woodside, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


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