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Board games are among our most ancient and beloved art forms. During the rise of digital media, they fell from prominence for a decade or two but today they are in a new golden age. They’re ingeniously designed, beautiful to look at, and exhilarating to play. Games are reclaiming their place in our culture, as entertainment, social activity, and intellectual workout equipment. Alone among all art forms, games require their audience (called “players”) to participate. If nobody’s playing, there is no game.
As a result, games can tell far more about us than our TV shows, movies or music ever could. How does The Game of Life illustrate our changing attitudes about virtue? How does a World War II conflict simulation game explain the shortcomings of a failed novelist? Each chapter of Your Move examines one game, and what it reveals about our culture, history, society, and relationships.
The book’s two co-authors bring the perspectives of a writer who plays, and a player who writes. Before Jonathan Kay began his distinguished career as an author and commentator, he had a passion for games, and in recent years he has rediscovered them. Meanwhile, Joan Moriarity’s career has been spent designing, developing, distributing, art directing, recommending and teaching board games and, recently, writing about them for a wider audience.
With its short, punchy essays, and dozens of beautiful photographs of the games themselves, every chapter will be a worthwhile read in itself, and the book overall will leave you inspired to discover the truths of your own inner and outer world through play — whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a total newcomer.
“Games, Jonathan Kay and Joan Moriarity show in this lively and insightful book, are not just fun and games: they allow us to explore the complexities of the world, from evolution to war to climate.” —STEVEN PINKER , Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress
“[Board games] often replicate some aspect of real life: war, wealth accumulation, resource management. In this way, they provide an intriguing mirror of the society in which they are created. …Kay and Moriarity are both skilled writers and elucidators, and their voices are distinct enough to provide the book with a pleasing yin and yang. It’s a far more perceptive and intriguing book than it appears at first blush, particularly for those readers who have never thought of games as an artistic medium—at least not one that comments on society. Regular gamers will enjoy these takes on familiar titles. And readers just dis- covering the tabletop renaissance will likely want to play some of these games themselves.” —KIRKUS REVIEWS
“When playing a game, one is constantly aware of one of life’s greatest truths—that we all ultimately are governed by the same rules. This is true regardless if the rules cover Darwinian evolution or Scrabble virtuosity. This book reminds us that the lessons we learn on a tabletop can help us navigate this larger game called life.” —PHIL EKLUND , designer of High Frontier , Pax Porfiriana , Greenland , and Bios: Megafauna