It’s All A Game

Tristan Donovan’s It’s All A Game will take readers on colorful and entertaining tour of the hidden life of board games, which predate the written word, to find out what they tell us about our past, our present and ourselves.
The book will draw on history, psychology, politics, culture, business and more to reveal the surprising and sometimes world-changing stories behind the best-known board games and explain why board games are thriving rather than dying in the internet age.


Board games have been with us longer than even the written word. But what is it about this pastime that continues to captivate us well into the age of smartphones and instant gratification?

In It’s All a Game, British journalist and renowned games expert Tristan Donovan opens the box on the incredible and often surprising history and psychology of board games. He traces the evolution of the game across cultures, time periods, and continents, from the paranoid Chicago toy genius behind classics like Operation and Mouse Trap, to the role of Monopoly in helping prisoners of war escape the Nazis, and even the scientific use of board games today to teach artificial intelligence how to reason and how to win. With these compelling stories and characters, Donovan ultimately reveals why board games have captured hearts and minds all over the world for generations.

Pub. Thomas Dunne Books, Macmillan, May 30 2017.


…a splendid new book…it doesn’t just tell the fascinating stories of the (often struggling) individuals who created our favorite games. It also manages to convey the entire sweep of boardgame history, from the earliest forms of Checkers to modern-day surprise hits like Settlers of Catan.” – Mashable

“…this is one of those books that could convince more people to read nonfiction.” – Reading Lark

“…It’s All a Game provides a wonderfully entertaining trip around the board, through 4,000 years of history.” – The Wall Street Journal…

“Throw away your preconceived notions and dive into this rich story that informs who we are by the games we play” – Booklist

“…a fascinating and insightful discussion not only of games past, but the socioeconomic and historical factors that contributed to their popularity.” – Chicago Review of Books


Tristan Donovan

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