Is there a good book about the history of board games?

Preferably the book would cover all the way from the ancient games to the newest fads in the market.

  • Is the "book" tag something that's actually going to occur often enough to warrant a tag? – lilserf Oct 19 '10 at 21:33
  • 4
    @lilserf The beta is a good test of which tags will occur often enough. If a tag only occurs once, it will eventually be automatically deleted. If it occurs only a few times by the late beta, we should consider removing it or merging it with something more general. If it's used reasonably often, and there are no obvious merge targets, then it's probably a good tag. This is something that doesn't need to be fixed immediately, but we can wait and see how it's used; extra tags don't cause much harm. – Brian Campbell Oct 20 '10 at 20:15

The Oxford History of Board Games is a very thorough book that discusses board games from their ancient inception to the (almost) present-day dividing into Race Games, Space Games, Chase Games, Displace Games, and War Games (such as chess).

  • Sounds like a great book. Unfortunately it seems to be available only from second hand sellers on Amazon (70€ in the US store, 110£ in the UK one). – lavonardo Oct 20 '10 at 17:07
  • 1
    @lavonardo: you can also buy a PDF directly from the author (£45) davpar.eu/books – porges Jan 2 '17 at 4:31

While not a direct answer, check out the recent "Hobby Games, the 100 best" book. It has games from the last 100 years and there is a lot of history contained within its page. Each entry is written by a game designer as well.

I enjoyed the book very much, learned a ton.


I think A History of Board Games Other Than Chess is one of the definitive books in this category. The Library Thing page I linked to also has several related books to check out.

  • Published in 1952 per Amazon – Pat Ludwig Oct 26 '10 at 4:31

R.C Bell wrote several books on board games, though I don't think they were as structured as the Oxford book that Jeremiah already mentioned.


Dork Tower #34: A Brief History of Gaming is a comic book featuring the early history of board games. John Kovalic is the author/illustrator (he is also a game designer) who created Dork Tower, a comic book that frequently features gaming of all kinds.


I am currently reading (and very much enjoying) A World of Chess: Its Development and Variations Through Centuries and Civilizations, by Jean-Louis Cazaux and Rick Knowlton. It's very much specific to chess, but of course chess was and continues to be a big part of the history of board games. What I'm finding particularly awesome about the book is that it goes into the mechanics of chess in each of its many incarnations over the times and places its been played. Anyone interested in this topic (history of board games) will absolutely find it fascinating.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.