Best Board Game Books

10 July 2024
Wanting to combine your love of board games with a love of reading? Or maybe just want to dive further into the hobby itself? We've got the best books for you to do it with.

Written by Christopher John Eggett, updated by Charlie Pettit


James Wallis, author of Everybody Wins, wrote a regular feature in Tabletop Gaming magazine called All The Jahres, which looked at Spiel Des Jahres (the biggest awards in board gaming) winners, and it was from this that a chunk of Everybody Wins grew from. This book that explores the most important awards in board games from the very start right up to today. With plenty of additional material, and great insight into those games that missed out on the top prize (rightly or wrongly) it’s an incredible trip through the history of our hobby. This is a big, chunky, book is a great way to get really connected to the hobby. 

Buy Everybody Wins on Amazon


Content continues after advertisements


This interesting set of exercises from Karen Twelves started out life as a one-day improv workshop at a game’s store in California. Since then it’s been turned into a bigger and more complete beast, and exists now with a second edition. The goal of the book is to give players a bunch of improvisational skills from the world of theatre and bring them to your tabletop gaming space, where ever that may be. Roleplaying is often fraught with worries about whether you can remember to do the same silly voice or not, and this book can cure that. Equally, it can simply be run a series of mini games in itself, or be used to warm up before the session.

Buy Improv for Gamers on Amazon


Aconyte Games is a book publishing arm that offer tales from all kinds of board gaming franchises – from Terraforming Mars to Keyforge and beyond, and any one of their fiction stories could comfortably make this list. However, we're including What Board Games Mean to Me, which is nonfiction, a collection of essays from people within the hobby about what games mean to them. It's a lovely way of tapping into that feel-good factor, and hearing from others about the impact it's had on their lives. From industry heavyweights like Sir Ian Livingstone and Reiner Knizia, to kinds of people involved in the hobby... including the former editor of Tabletop Gaming magazine!

Buy What Board Games Mean to Me on Amazon


This is a great way to just start mucking about with game design, from Kevan Davis and illustrator Viviane Schwarz. If you’ve had a game idea, but fall down at the first hurdle of ‘I can’t play it as I don’t have any components and can’t quite work out how to draw them yet’. The book introduces the concept of snaddering, which is quickly making a game up as you go along, and provides a number of different shaped boards. Many initially look like simple roll-and-move set ups, but as you’re encouraged to remove the pages and hack what’s already there the variations are just down to your own inventiveness. Make some rules, throw some dice, fill in some placements and you’re away as a game designer.

Buy Board Games to Create and Play on Amazon


You might not like Monopoly, but it’s still one of the most important games in the world. This book gives you the story of Lizzie Magie, the creator of The Landlord Games – a game designed to explain the unfair and exploitative relationship between landlords and their tenants – and how it became the world-bestriding colossus of ‘causing an argument on Christmas day and never getting finished’. 

Buy Pass Go and Collect $200 on Amazon


If you want to read fiction in the world of board games, Aconyte Books have the best selection. They get fantastic fantasy authors to craft tales within our favourite worlds. Love Arkham Horror, Legend of the Five Rings, Twilight Imperium, Descent, KeyForge, Pandemic, Zombicide or more? You'll find your new favourite book within their publications. We could have picked any one of their many books, but particularly enjoyed Dark Origins, a collection of Novellas from a range of writers in the Arkham Horror world.

Buy Dark Origins on Amazon


Reiner Knizia, the master games maker with 700+ titles under his belt and around 15 million games sold total, offers us a really good look at the way dice can be used in games. A must read for anyone designing games (especially if it includes any kind of luck whatsoever) and also interesting for those who want to get better at understanding the games they love. Covering topics from bluff, betting, and strategy games, the master leads us through the world of humanities favourite lucky (or unlucky) rocks.

Related topic: Read our interview with Reiner Knizia on his game My City.


While I’ve yet to let my own personal obsession with the ancient game of GO sneak into features, this novel does go some way to express the extreme romance built into the game. While this is a fictionalised account, it is based on a very real game that took nearly six months to complete. The game features a up and coming player and an old master for which this would end up being the final game of his life. The actual moves of the game are detailed in the book as it moves between locations and as the months roll on, so you can actually learn a little about GO as follow their journey.

Buy Master of Go on Amazon


Sid Sackson, of Aquire fame, offer players a look at how the cogs all fit together in the mind of this great game designer – while offering 38 whole sets of original games within its pages. Part a lesson in abstract game design and mechanics, part a smorgasbord of great ideas to get the creative juices of budding game designers flowing. Many of the games have since been developed into titles in their own right, but the value of seeing these games in the context of one another is a great starting point for anyone’s design journey.

Buy A Gamut of Games on Amazon


Probably the biggest, driest tome on this list – but sometimes you just want an entirely exhaustive and slightly academic list of everything. Organized by category and with in-depth descriptions of how everything works, this is only for the purists. If you’re someone who likes to pore over the Board Game Geek category lists of mechanics, ponder whether a game fits one descriptor or another, and generally like kicking the tires of the games they play, it might just be a winner.

Buy Building Blocks of Tabletop Game Design on Amazon

Sometimes we may include links to online retailers, from which we might receive a commission if you make a purchase. Affiliate links do not influence editorial coverage and will only be used when covering relevant products


No comments