Do you have a passion for game studies? Do you enjoy discussing and debating game mechanisms? Do you just want to know more about how tabletop games work? Then I must recommend you check out the new book by Geoffrey Engelstein and Issaac Shalev, Building Blocks of Tabletop Game: An Encyclopedia of Mechanisms.

Building Blocks of Tabletop Game Design: An Encyclopedia of Mechanisms compiles hundreds of different mechanisms, organized by category. Each has a description of how it works, discussion of its pros and cons, how it can be implemented, and examples of specific games that use it. Building Blocks can be read cover to cover, used as a reference when looking for inspiration for a new design, help solving a specific problem, or assist in getting unstuck in the midst of a project. This book, the first to collect mechanisms like this in the tabletop game design field, aims to be a practical guide that will be a great starting point for beginning designers, a handy guidebook for the experienced, and an ideal classroom textbook.

Key Features:

The first compendium of its kind in the tabletop game field.

Covers the nuts and bolts of design to resolve specific challenges.

Serves as a practical guide, a great starting point for beginning designers, and a reference for seasoned professionals.

Contains discussion of a series of standalone mechanisms, in a standard format and style, with cross-links to related mechanics and specific examples.

Includes hundreds of mechanism entries with accompanying diagrams and sample games to study.

Ideal for professional or classroom use.


Not only is this a fascinating and informative book, but the categories it discusses will become the new standard for Boardgamegeek.com.

Recently, Geoff Engelstein and Isaac Shalev wrote Building Blocks of Tabletop Game Design: An Encyclopedia of Mechanisms. As the title suggests, this book is an encyclopedia of about 200 mechanics, categorized into thirteen broad categories, like Movement and Auctions. After reading the book and speaking with the authors, we realized that adopting the organizing framework set out in the book could help make BGG’s mechanics list more useful and accessible.


So whether you are a game designer, a game publisher, a game studies professor, or a gamer interested in mechanisms, this book will be an incredible reference to have handy on your shelf.

On My Shelf: Building Blocks Of Tabletop Game Design

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