“An unholy mixture of helpful guidebook and jabbing provocation, it will earn its right to rattle around your brain. It is essential reading for designer, critic, and straight-up rank ‘n’ file gamer alike.”
— Robin D. Laws, creator of HeroQuest and Feng Shui

Things We Think About GamesThings We Think About Games

Written by Will Hindmarch & Jeff Tidball

Foreword by Robin D. Laws
Introduction by Wil Wheaton

with John August, Pat Harrigan, Fred Hicks, Kenneth Hite, John Kovalic, Michelle Nephew, Philip Reed, S. John Ross, Mike Selinker, Noah Wardrip-Fruin

…if you want to get one (or more) copies of just this book.
…if you also want to pick up The Bones: Us and Our Dice or Hamlet’s Hit Points.

An Origins Award Nominee

ISBN 13: 978-0-9818840-0-4
ISBN 10: 0-9818840-0-8
6×9 inches, 160 pages, softcover
$20 (US)

about the book

Will Hindmarch and Jeff Tidball think a lot about games. At their commentary website, Gameplaywright.net, they think out loud about what it means to play games, make games, sell games, and love games. They are gamers.

Here, with fellow game designers and notable game players, they think out loud on paper in the first Gameplaywright book.

Things We Think About Games collects dozens on dozens of bite-sized thoughts about games. From the absurd to the magnificent, the demonstrable to the dogmatic, this collection spans both the breadth of games—board, card, roleplaying and more—and the depth of gaming, offering insights about collecting, playing, critiquing, designing, and publishing.

It is rare that I actually shout “Yes, goddamn it!” when reading a book.
— Richard Dansky, Manager of Design, Red Storm Entertainment

Ordering Information

Orders for Things We Think About Games placed on the Gameplaywright web site ship directly from us, processed and mailed by our own hands. In addition to ordering the book from us, you can also…

Gameplaywright books including Things We Think About Games are available to retailers through hobby game distribution channels via Impressions Game Distribution Services. For orders or inquiries, contact Aldo Ghiozzi. If you’re a retailer having any difficulty finding our titles, please don’t hesitate to e-mail service@gameplaywright.net.

Signed Copies

The first twenty copies of the book, after the author proofs, were numbered, signed by Will and Jeff, and had their US shipping charges covered by Yourses Truly. That promotion is now closed.

We will still happily sign books if you find us at conventions or readings, or otherwise persuade us. It’s something of a trick to get done online, though, as we live far, far apart and have to ship books all over to get them signed. So normally we don’t sign online orders.

49 Comments

  1. Grand Text Auto » Things We Think About Games
    July 23, 2008

    […] always as the editors. But now Will Hindmarch and Jeff Tidball (from gameplaywright) have announced Things We Think About Games. Pat and I each shared a little of what we think with the book’s author/editors, as did such […]

    Reply
  2. Eric Hanson
    July 26, 2008

    Congrats! Thats pretty cool to have a book out. I look forward to reading it.

    Reply
  3. Grey
    August 5, 2008

    Congrats on the collaboration, sounds like an interesting read especially with the list of contributors, many of whom I recognize as industry stalwarts (and kudos on the Laws foreward).
    Much success!

    Reply
  4. Will Hindmarch blogs about SHARED WORLDS « Jeremy Louis Clark Jones
    August 11, 2008

    […] Also, Hindmarch has a new book, Things We Think About Games.  Read about it here. […]

    Reply
  5. Serena
    August 20, 2008

    My copy got here today; it was great! I found Things I nodded in agreement as I read, Things I cocked a disbelieving eyebrow over… I even found Things my mom (pretty much a non-gamer) laughed at, and understood.

    I’m looking forward to reading it again, to catch all the Things I didn’t fully appreciate the first time.

    Reply
  6. Jesse Scoble » GenCon: The Other Side
    August 20, 2008

    […] Things We Think About Games Where The Deep Ones Are […]

    Reply
  7. Pookie
    August 22, 2008

    Arrived in Europe last night. Read it today. A little book that says a great deal in a few words. Every gamer should read this once. A good gamer reads it twice.

    Reply
  8. Books received: 8/22/08 « Enter the Octopus
    August 23, 2008

    […] first is Things We Think About Games by game designers and writers Will Hindmarch and Jeff Tidball. You may be familiar with […]

    Reply
  9. Darrell
    August 25, 2008

    While I wasn’t able to make it to GenCon to pick up a copy, I did receive my pre-ordered copy last week and devoured it a few hours later.

    As everyone says, it’s good stuff.

    I was particularly amused/annoyed to see the Thing stating that, for several good reasons, players should draw cards at the ends of their turns. You see, we have been discussing this very thing at work lately, in regards to a game we’re currently working on. And while we might end up going to a draw-at-the-end model, right now we have players drawing at the beginning of their turn, and here’s why:

    If my hand is bad, and I need to draw a good card to do well on my turn, it’s (somewhat) dramatic and suspenseful to draw at the beginning of my turn. If I get lucky and draw what I need — hoody-hoo! I get to play a great turn! If not… well, that sucks and my turn is wasted.

    Now, if I’m drawing at the END of my turn, I know a full turn in advance if my next turn is going to be great or wasted. That’s not as exciting if it’s great, and it’s a total downer if I don’t get the cards I need: I have an extra full turn to know that my next turn is going to suck because I don’t have the card I need. That’s just depressing.

    Reply
  10. Gen Con Report: Sat, Aug. 16 - Highmoon’s Ponderings - DMPerez.com - The Domain of Daniel M.Perez
    August 28, 2008

    […] where John had set up shop so I left the con without it. I also completely forgot to buy a copy of Things We Think About Games and of The Solar System. Thank goodness for IPR on all three counts. At around 2 pm we left the […]

    Reply
  11. Mike Selinker
    August 31, 2008

    Just read my contributor’s copy. I enjoy being surrounded by funny, smart people. A blazingly good read.

    But seriously, “Chicago, Follow the Queen”? What if the card that follows the last queen is a 7 of hearts, and two players have the Ace of spades and 7 of spades down? Are all wild cards spades? Who splits the pot then?

    Reply
  12. Review: Things We Think About Games » talkin’ about
    September 4, 2008

    […] and approachable, Things We Think About Games is well worth reading for both casual and hardcore gamers, and especially for game designers. You […]

    Reply
  13. Jeff Tidball
    September 5, 2008

    What if the card that follows the last queen is a 7 of hearts, and two players have the Ace of spades and 7 of spades down? Are all wild cards spades? Who splits the pot then?

    Such pots are mailed to the book’s authors. A side pot is assembled to cover shipping and handling.

    Reply
  14. Andrew Hackard
    September 7, 2008

    Reply to Darrell: Perhaps what you need is a model where most cards are drawn at the end of the turn, but you draw one card at the beginning to provide that small chance of an AHA!! play.

    There’s nothing that says you can’t draw more than once, after all.

    Reply
  15. gameplaywright.net // story, games, together
    September 16, 2008

    […] As a public service announcement to an astute readership that is no doubt already, Ken Hite’s long-running and highly recommended Out of the Box column is back from hiatus, now sponsored by and hosted at Indie Press Revolution, a fine organization now doubly beloved as the fine purveyors of Ken’s fine column and our fine book. […]

    Reply
  16. gameplaywright.net // story, games, together
    September 29, 2008

    […] got a pair of copies of Things We Think About Games that came to us from the printer in slightly less than perfect cosmetic […]

    Reply
  17. gameplaywright.net // story, games, together
    November 20, 2008

    […] credit: Will contributed the “core one minute” Thing in Things We Think About Games. I think I was first exposed to the concept by John Tynes, back in the […]

    Reply
  18.   Things We Think About Games by Purple Pawn
    November 27, 2008

    […] in-laws over the next few days?  Go pick up Will Hindmarch & Jeff Tidball’s new book, Things We Think About Games.  Its essentially a collection of essays and interview excerpts from various luminaries in gaming […]

    Reply
  19. gameplaywright.net // story, games, together
    December 2, 2008

    […] has put our book Things We Think About Games on their list of the twelve best gamer stocking stuffers of 2008, in fine company with new […]

    Reply
  20. gameplaywright.net // story, games, together
    December 15, 2008

    […] novel called <em>South China Sea</em>, dropped some props on our book over at the Amazon blog, Omnivoracious. Want five good reasons to pick up our book? Click that link […]

    Reply
  21. gameplaywright.net // story, games, together
    December 16, 2008

    […] you object: Isn’t the intention of playing a game “to win?” Hell no. In Things We Think About Games (Thing 28), I wrote: When playing a game, be aware that the other players are not necessarily […]

    Reply
  22. gameplaywright.net // story, games, together
    December 22, 2008

    […] looking for short, direct statements in the style of those from our newest book, Things We Think About Games. For example, Thing #28: When playing a game, be aware that the other players are not necessarily […]

    Reply
  23. Scott’s Corner » Archive » Things We Think About Games
    January 5, 2009

    […] Things We Think About Games is an exceptionally quick read, fun and thought provoking. Much of the book is a collection of short, sharp sayings. Much of the work is in the interpretation– sometimes that author takes up the challenge, writing up to a page of discussion– and sometimes the analysis is up to you, only a quickly sentence is provided. […]

    Reply
  24. gameplaywright.net // story, games, together
    January 26, 2009

    […] Adam! Your Complete Edition of Lord of the Rings Online: Mines of Moria and your copy of Things We Think About Games are on their way to […]

    Reply
  25. Game Balance Is Overrated | Forbeck.com
    February 3, 2009

    […] Jeff Tidball saw it and asked me to repost it over at Gameplaywright.net in the discussion about Things We Think About Games, the game-ruminations book he and Will Hindmarch put together. Which I did. And so I thought […]

    Reply
  26. Things I Think About Games « Yaruki Zero Games
    February 4, 2009

    […] Yaruki Zero Games A Blog About Ewen Cluney’s RPG Stuff « Slime Story: Playtest Document 1 Things I Think About Games February 4, 2009 Inspired by Things We Think About Games. […]

    Reply
  27. gameplaywright.net // story, games, together
    February 5, 2009

    […] I also wrote a Thing, in Things We Think About Games, describing how I think that moments of preparation and aftermath can intensify the emotional […]

    Reply
  28. gameplaywright.net // story, games, together
    April 28, 2009

    […] and I got word over the weekend that Things We Think About Games has been nominated for an Origins Award in the Non-fiction […]

    Reply
  29. Origins Awards Nominees 2009: Picks and Commentary | Critical Hits
    April 28, 2009

    […] Things We Think About Games […]

    Reply
  30. gameplaywright.net // story, games, together
    September 28, 2009

    […] In his post on paragaming, Jesper Juul (Half-Real) cites a few fundamental criteria for good video-game design, each of which is violated by China Miner, a game that he enjoys despite, and because of, its faults. (Each of these might be thought of as a Thing Juul Thinks About Games.) […]

    Reply
  31. gameplaywright.net // story, games, together
    December 18, 2009

    […] of these would make great Things, I think. But take a closer look at that second list and consider this: how might it apply to the […]

    Reply
  32. gameplaywright.net // story, games, together
    December 28, 2009

    […] masterminded by Seth Godin, “What Matters Now.” Its format reminded me a little bit of Things We Think About Games, in that each page contains a discrete thought, unconnected from the thoughts that come before and […]

    Reply
  33. gameplaywright.net // story, games, together
    April 8, 2010

    […] our—cunning, brilliant, and mad assertions about the nature of games. You’ve read our book; come meet Will and me in person to tell us why we’re crazy, what we left out, or which bits […]

    Reply
  34. gameplaywright.net // story, games, together
    April 30, 2010

    […] WordPress PluginChristian Lindke has been writing a series of responses to some of the Things in Things We Think About Games at Cinerati. Most recently, he tackled “pants issues,” and relates the sad tales of […]

    Reply
  35. gameplaywright.net // story, games, together
    May 17, 2010

    […] written about the idea of the core minute of gameplay here at Gameplaywright. Thing 70 in Things We Think About Games deals with the core minute idea, too. Let me propose that, in a well-designed game, each mechanical […]

    Reply
  36. » Rattling THE BONES • Jason L Blair, Writer & Game Designer
    June 29, 2010

    […] I was worthy of being included in their next book. Their previous publication, the well-received Things We Think About Games, was buzzing around the gamer zeitgeist with supersonic speed and I knew I wanted to hop whatever […]

    Reply
  37. gameplaywright.net // story, games, together
    July 9, 2010

    […] the pot with the promise of a game critique sometime in the coming year and a signed copy of Things We Think About Games. Fantasy Flight is also kicking in a copy of Horus Heresy. I’ll post more information about […]

    Reply
  38. Confidence, Creativity, and Collaboration « Booklife
    July 18, 2010

    […] teaching tools on a lot of levels.  As Will Hindmarch and Jeff Tidball say in their excellent book Things We Think about Games, “Gameplay is based on choices and consequences.”  Sound familiar?  That’s life!  Games, […]

    Reply
  39. Exploring Somebody Else’s Imagination: Will Hindmarch on World-building « Booklife
    July 19, 2010

    […] Gameplaywright with Jeff Tidball.  Among other projects they’ve produced two outstanding titles, Things We Think about Games and The Bones: Us & Our […]

    Reply
  40. Review – Hamlet’s Hit Points - Gnome Stew, the Game Mastering Blog
    August 2, 2010

    […] a new book by called Hamlet’s Hit Points coming out through Gameplaywright Press. Their book Things We think About Games is a carry everywhere book for me. It sits in my very-manly-not-a-purse courier bag alongside […]

    Reply
  41. Gamer’s University – Updated Mondays (at least) » Blog Archive » [Review] Things We Think About Games
    August 2, 2010

    […] Things We Think About Games is a collection of bite-sized ideas, feelings, recommendations, and warnings all about what it means to play games, make games, sell games, and love games. It dares you to consider why you play games in the first place, what makes you enjoy them, and why you prefer them (or don’t) over other types of entertainment media. […]

    Reply
  42. gameplaywright.net // story, games, together
    August 6, 2010

    […] 027 from Things We Think About Games is about awards: Awards for games can mean a lot of […]

    Reply
  43. On Thought #30: Efficiency « one thousand one
    November 21, 2010

    […] to write some posts in response to Will Hindmarch and Jeff Tidball’s excellent little volume, Things We Think About Games. The best thing about a book like this is not that it’s even 99% correct but because it makes […]

    Reply
  44. Science Fiction & Fantasy Bookclub #21 | Chicago Nerd Social Club
    May 9, 2011

    […] next bookclub meeting we’ll be reading Things We Think About Games by Will Hindmarch and Jeff Tidball (more ordering information farther down on that page if […]

    Reply
  45. Vampire Publishing and Books That Want to be Read | gameplaywright
    May 31, 2011

    […] Things We Think About Games […]

    Reply
  46. What is the favorite character that I have played | Take On Rules
    June 3, 2011

    […] I read Will Hindmarch & Jeff Tidball’s Things We Think About Games.  In a nutshell, the book is a collection of gamer koans.  One of the koans, in brief was […]

    Reply
  47. Wordstudio: The Gist
    November 3, 2011

    […] I slipped a copy of The Bones into my bag, thinking I would give it as a gift, just as I gave him Things We Thing About Games at a previous signing for his previous […]

    Reply
  48. Sources of Inspiration | Play On Target
    February 27, 2013

    […] Inspirations: Play Unsafe (Impro by Keith Johnstone) Big List of RPG Plots by S. John Ross Things We Think About Games – Brian’s Inspirations: Amber Diceless RPG Core Book Player’s Guide to the Sabbat (2nd […]

    Reply
  49. RPGs are literary forms: A reply to Pat Harrigan - Geeks with Opinions - Geeks with Opinions
    June 25, 2013

    […] ago I wrote a mini-review of Things We Think About Games, and in it I said I’d like to explore the 109th thought in that book: RPGs are not literary […]

    Reply

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