Everybody Wins: Four Decades of the Greatest Board Games Ever Made by James Wallis

The revolution in tabletop gaming revealed and reviewed, in this entertaining and informative look at over 40 years of award-winning games.

The annual Spiel des Jahres (Game of the Year) Awards are like the Oscars of the tabletop. Acclaimed British author and games expert James Wallis investigates the winners and losers of each year’s contest to track the incredible explosion in amazing new board games. From modern classics like CATAN, Ticket to Ride, and Dixit to once-lauded games that have now been forgotten (not to mention several popular hits that somehow missed a nomination), this is a comprehensive yet hugely readable study of the best board games ever made, penned by one of the most knowledgeable commentators on the hobby. (Taken from Amazon)

Thank you to Aconyte Books for providing me with this book in exchange for my honest opinion. Everybody Wins: Four Decades of the Greatest Board Games Ever Made is available now.

I love games of all kinds, from video games to board games. I grew up with the usual suspects: Clue, Monopoly, Risk (my nemesis!). As an adult, I’ve discovered some fantastic new games, ones that are unique and loads of fun. I’m lucky that my family loves to play board games too. We’re also often joined by some friends who have introduced us to some excellent indie games that we might not have seen before.

I expected Everybody Wins: Four Decades of the Greatest Board Game Ever Played to be a bit of a guidebook with popular games listed alphabetically with suggestions as to who would enjoy them. Sure, there are games listed with suggested ages, but this book is much more comprehensive and fascinating. It starts with an explanation of the Spiel des Jahres “Game of the Year” award: its inception and its criteria. I was surprised by how interesting even the background was. I’ve played and loved many games, but I have to admit that I had never really given much thought to what makes one game worthy of an award over many others. This lens was a new way through which to view some of my favorite games.

Everybody Wins then goes through the years, detailing the winners, both the gist of the game itself and the background of its creation. I was delighted to see so many of my favorites, such as Azul and Dixit, listed and even more excited to see my list of new games to try grow by leaps and bounds. I see many great game nights in my future.

The language of the book is far from dry. It’s engaging and accessible. Despite the vast amount of information available, I read through it fairly quickly. That being said, I will be using Everybody Wins to find the perfect games when I go Christmas shopping this year. I’d love to read a book with a similar setup all about table-top roleplaying games as well (the reason the Spiel des Jashres isn’t focused on ttrpgs is also explained).

Everybody Wins: Four Decades of the Greatest Board Games Ever Played is a highly engaging book that made me smile. Pick this book up, then grab some friends and family members and play a board game!


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