2013-2014

Professor George Phillies Writes Five Game Design Books in Three Years

In the past three years Professor George Phillies has written five books on game design. Professor Phillies wears three hats, as Professor in Physics and in the WPI programs in Interactive Media & Game Development and Biochemistry. Phillies' ongoing research in game design is supported by his private collection of board wargames, which is the largest in the world. The books he has released in the past year are listed below:

MODERN PERSPECTIVE ON GAME DESIGN (2012)

Second Edition! The Second Edition of Phillies and Vasel's Modern Perspectives on Game Design, now with more material, more discussion problems, and a complete course syllabus from Phillies' university-level game design course. Phillies and Vasel's Modern Perspectives on Game Design delivers interviews with leading board game designers, artists, manufacturers, sellers, and users. From Costikyan to Nestel, from Besinque to Garfield to Seyfarth, Modern Perspectives in Game Design presents the insights of men and women who design modern board games.

It can be found on Amazon here.

DESIGNING MODERN STRATEGY GAMES (2012)

Designing Modern Strategy Games is the definitive textbook on game design. It offers rules descriptions, a synoptic analysis of design elements, recommendations of great game designers, more than 100 design projects, and an inspiring essay by Greg Costikyan. This, the second edition of Phillies and Vasel's 2006 text, includes three course plans from Phillies' college-level game design course. Designing Modern Strategy Games can also be used as a textbook; it includes more than 100 game design projects. For instructors, an Appendix includes the day-by-day course plans for three offerings of author Phillies' precedent-breaking university course Design of Tabletop Board Wargames.Phillies and Vasel's book, the second edition of Phillies and Vasel's 2006 text, opens with an inspiring essay by Greg Costikyan. It proceeds through a synoptic analysis of game design elements, recommendations of great game designers, and detailed analyses of rules of over a hundred games of strategy.

It can be found on Amazon here.

STALINGRAD FOR BEGINNERS-BASIC WARGAME TACTICAL ANALYSIS (2013)

The Amazon Propaganda Stalingrad, the 1963 game from Avalon Hill, is the most intensely analyzed board wargame in the history of the wargaming hobby. Stalingrad for Beginners - Basic Wargame Tactical Analysis - presents fundamentals of play and basic strategic concepts at a level suitable for beginners.  For game designers, Stalingrad for Beginners has a different purpose. The author's theme is that games are subject to deep tactical analysis, if the players know exactly what the rules are. Full knowledge of the rules is the opposite of the situation in some computer games, in which players are left ignorant of the rules, so that game responses to player actions can be mysterious, frustrating, or pointless. Stalingrad for Beginners is a presentation by example of the virtue of transparent game design, in which the full rules are known to the players. 

Find it on Amazon here.

STALINGRAD REPLAYED (2013)

Stalingrad, the 1963 game from Avalon Hill, is the most intensely analyzed board wargame in the history of the wargaming hobby. Stalingrad Replayed presents a series of complete games, with detailed turn-by-turn tactical analysis by Grandmaster George Phillies. Stalingrad Replayed is a worthy successor to his earlier volume Stalingrad for Beginners, which presents the game rules and some elementary principles of tactical analysis.

For game designers, Stalingrad Replayed has a different purpose. The author's theme is that games are subject to deep tactical analysis, if the players know exactly what the rules are. Full knowledge of the rules is the opposite of the situation in some computer games, in which players are left ignorant of the rules, so that game responses to player actions can be mysterious, frustrating, or pointless. Stalingrad Replayed is a presentation by example of the virtue of transparent game design, in which the full rules are known to the players.

Find it on Amazon here.

Designing Wargames - Introductions (2014)

Designing Wargames introduces the play and design of classic hex-and-counter board wargames. Written as a textbook, Designing Wargames should appeal to board and computer game designers, board game players, and designers of serious war games for historical and military study.

Phillies opens with a discussion of the basic elements combined to create strategic games, including representation, theme, style, mechanisms, voice, shape, and content. To introduce non-players to board wargames, he describes in detail the play of four classic board wargames, namely Stalingrad, 1914, Panzerblitz, and Fall of Manjukuo. A path to designing a game, stressing the central importance of iterative development and playtesting, is advanced. Several fundamental mechanisms and their variations, including the zone of control and command and control rules, are examined in detail. A case study contrasts a half-dozen games on a single historic campaign, comparing how different designers have created radically different games that represent the same historic outcomes. A paragraph by paragraph analysis of the written rules of one game is given. Issues related to luck and technology are examined. An extensive set of homework problems, many in the form of development projects, support the material in the text.

Find it on Amazon here.

April 30, 2014

 
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