While growing up in the 70s and 80s, I watched a cartoon called G.I. Joe which ended each episode with a public service announcement for kids. The PSA closed with this quote:
“And knowing is half the battle.” – G.I. Joe
The PSAs were corny, but the quote has stuck with me throughout my life. Knowledge does answer questions and opens many doors to further inquiry. I am an avid reader, so whenever I take on a new project or endeavor in life, I like to read up on it so I know and understand it as well as I can. I continue to read about my pursuits so I am constantly growing my knowledge and understanding.
In these On My Shelf posts, I will share books with you that I have found helpful in my pursuits as a freelancer. To start out, I have two books I highly recommend to anyone interested in game design, whether you are fan of gaming, want to design your own games, or want to help others with their game design.
The Complete KOBOLD Guide to Game Design is a wonderful compilation of essays on rpg design by some of the best developers in the industry, covering core rules, magic systems, monster design, adventures and campaigns.
The Guide to Board Game Design contains more great essays focusing on board game conception, design, development, presentation, storyboarding, balancing, prototyping, and playtesting.
Reading those two books increased my understanding of the games I am passionate about playing, giving me insights into the design behind them. They helped me get a glimpse behind the scenes of the design, so as I am proofreading and editing, I have a clue why design decisions and language choices were made.
If you want a better understanding of how games are designed, then I highly recommend these books and look forwarded to sharing about other books on my shelf in the future.