It's All A Game

It's All A Game

The History of Board Games From Monopoly to Settlers of Catan

Book - 2017
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Board games have been with us longer than even the written word. But what is it about this pastime that continues to captivate us well into the age of smartphones and instant gratification? In It's All a Game, British journalist and renowned games expert Tristan Donovan opens the box on the incredible and often surprising history and psychology of board games. He traces the evolution of the game across cultures, time periods, and continents, from the paranoid Chicago toy genius behind classics like Operation and Mouse Trap, to the role of Monopoly in helping prisoners of war escape the Nazis, and even the scientific use of board games today to teach artificial intelligence how to reason and how to win. With these compelling stories and characters, Donovan ultimately reveals why board games have captured hearts and minds all over the world for generations.
Publisher: New York : Thomas Dunne Books, 2017
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9781250082725
1250082722
Characteristics: viii, 292 p. ; 25 cm

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Aug 15, 2017

Contents

INTRODUCTION: THE BIRTH OF THE NEW GAMING ERA .................................................................... 1

1. TOMB RAIDERS AND THE LOST GAMES OF THE ANCIENTS ............................................................ 9
What board games reveal about our ancestors

2. CHESS: THE "MAD QUEEN'S GAME" ............................................................................................... 19
How the chessboard came to embody centuries of world history

3. BACKGAMMON: THE FAVORED GAME OF INTERNATIONAL PACE-SETTERS
AND ANCIENT EMPERORS .................................................................................................................. 34
How backgammon became the most glamorous game of the 1970s

4. THE GAME OF LIFE: A JOURNEY TO THE UNIQUELY AMERICAN DAY
OF RECKONING ................................................................................................................................... 52
What the Game of Life tells us about the development of U.S. society

5. THE FORGOTTEN MESSAGE OF MONOPOLY ................................................................................. 71
How Monopoly went from anti-landlord tirade to celebration of
cutthroat capitalism

6. FROM KRIEGSSPIEL TO RISK: BLOOD-SOAKED AND WORLD-SHAPING PLAY .............................. 89
How board games prepared the world for war

7. I SPY ............................................................................................................................................... 107
How chess and Monopoly became tools of espionage and propaganda

8. CLUE'S BILLION-DOLLAR CRIME SPREE ........................................................................................ 122
How Clue's very British murders created a world of armchair sleuths

9. SCRABBLE: WORDS WITHOUT MEANING .................................................................................... 135
Why words are meaningless to the best Scrabble players

10. PLASTIC FANTASTIC: MOUSE TRAP, OPERATION, AND THE WILLY WONKA OF TOYS .............. 149
How Mouse Trap and Operation took board games into the plastic age

11. SEX IN A BOX ............................................................................................................................... 167
What board games from Twister to Monogamy tell us about sexual attitudes

12. MIND GAMES: EXPLORING BRAINS WITH BOARD GAMES ........................................................ 179
What board games reveal about our minds

13. RISE OF THE MACHINES: GAMES THAT TRAIN SYNTHETIC BRAINS ......................................... 196
How board games have powered the development of artificial intelligence

14. TRIVIAL PURSUIT: ADULTS AT PLAY ............................................................................................ 211
How Trivial Pursuit broke games out of the toy box

15. PANDEMICS AND TERROR: DISSECTING GEOPOLITICS ON CARDBOARD ................................ 224
What board games teach us about disease, geopolitics, and the War on Terror

16. MADE IN GERMANY: CATAN AND THE CREATION OF MODERN BOARD GAMES .................... 237
How Germany revitalized board gaming for the twenty-first century

References ........................................................................................................................................ 257
Acknowledgements .......................................................................................................................... 279
Index ................................................................................................................................................. 281

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