I’m thrilled to report a new book edited by Drew Davidson and Greg Costikyan entitled Tabletop: Analog Game Design. It’s a collection of essays by both pen-and-paper and digital game designers about tabletop game design. (I’m a little disappointed Greg didn’t mention it to me when we met up in Seattle, actually! He knows I like my board games…) Amazon has it as an ebook and the publisher, ETC, is offering it as a paperback from Lulu.
But I have to ask: when did ‘tabletop game design’ become ‘analogue game design’? This may sound odd – obviously boardgames are not digital, so shouldn’t they be labelled analogue? Well remember that analogue is an adjective that was originally used to describe electrical or mechanical devices in which the variable elements had continuous rather than discrete values. There didn’t used to be a sense in which everything that wasn’t digital could be labelled analogue – now it seems a book can be called an analogue ebook, perhaps even an organic tree can be called an analogue tree, as opposed to those digital trees in the fictional world of your games.
While I can’t support this shift in the language, it is extremely indicative of the extent to which computer technology has permeated every aspect of our lives. I’ll be picking up on this point in a little more detail at the end of the month.