05 December 2016
Teri Litorco’s handbook is a lighthearted intro to the tabletop world
It’s often easy to forget that tabletop gaming can seem an impenetrable hobby to the uninitiated. Despite the increasing accessibility of mechanics and the growing influence and appreciation of board games in mainstream culture, the sheer number of monthly releases and diversity of genres can make it hard for those seeking a step up from Risk and Scrabble to know where to turn.
It is in providing this oft-understated guidance that Teri Litorco’s new book The Civilized Guide to Tabletop Gaming excels. Running a little over 200 pages, the A5-sized publication covers the nuts and bolts of nurturing an interest in gaming, from discovering a friendly local game store and knowing which games to consider buying to hosting game nights and navigating crammed conventions.
Much of the book will be obvious advice to anyone with at least a passing interest in gaming – such as the tip to balance genre and mechanical weight with time needed and target audience – while some is simply common courtesy. (‘Don’t cheat.’ ‘Don’t be a dick.’) Yet, Litorco’s writing style approaches the hobby with such a clear passion and warmth that it’s hard not be charmed by the welcoming nature of the comfortable read.
This accessibility extends to the broad spectrum of genres covered, too – there’s advice here for everything from party games and tournament staples to RPGs and wargames. Current gamers are unlikely to find anything revelatory, but the book’s patient and down-to-earth style is likely to be ideal for a complete newcomer.
Regular asides offer examples of how to (and how not to) go about making a gaming experience as fun as it can be, while the book itself is broken-up, handbook-style, into easily-digested, often humorous headings and chapters, including ‘Treat your group sort of like you’re dating’ and ‘Be a better loser’.
A few points are repeated multiple times, and some sections overegg obvious advice – does anyone in a relationship really need to be told to be nice to their partner? – but it’s ultimately hard to argue with Litorco’s conclusion (albeit a truism) that gaming will be improved by treating people with respect and opening up this wonderful hobby to a wider audience. That’s certainly something this book achieves.
Author: Teri Litorco
Publisher: Adams Media Corporation
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