Books on Games

Game Listings and Values

Malloy, Alex. American Games, the Comprehensive Collector’s Guide. Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2000.  ISBN-10: 00-930625-60-9
The book features the extensive “Alex G. Malloy Game Collection.” After a brief introduction to games and game collecting, including grading and values, the book divides into Alex’s own choice of game classifications: Early Games, Golden Age of Games, Silver Age of Games, and Modern Age of Games. The latter category carries us into the 1990s, and even touches on collectible card games–still a craze–including “Magic The Gathering.” Games are listed by company in these various sections, and there is an index of games by category (but not by title).

Whitehill, Bruce. Games: American Boxed Games and Their Makers 1822-1992, With Values. Radnor, PA: Wallace-Homestead, 1992. ISBN-10: 0-87069-583-5
The benchmark in its field, this book lists over 2850 game titles and 800 manufacturers of American games; includes histories and/or product listings for 220 companies, 230 black and white game photos or early game advertisements, 8 pages of color. Also includes game histories, guidelines for collectors, cultural timeline, glossary, table of patent number dates, and resource information.

Game Companies

Orbanes, Philip: The Game Makers: The Story of Parker Brothers, from Tiddledy Winks to Trivial Pursuit, 2003, Harvard Business School Press, ISBN-13: 978-1591392699
The complete history of the Parker Brothers company and its games by a former Vice President.

Petrik, Paula. The House That Parcheesi Built: Selchow & Righter Company. The Business History Review, volume 60, number 3, 1986, pages 410–437

Watkins, Malcolm J.: Games-makers to the Empire: Roberts Brothers of Gloucester 1890-1957, 2013, Heritage Matters, ISBN-13: 978-0957558106
A comprehensive history of the Robert Brothers with descriptions of the games they published (many under the Glevum Series/Glevum Games brand), with a large number of photographs.

Particular Games

Anspach, Ralph. The Billion Dollar Monopoly Swindle. Palo Alto, CA: American Printing, 1998.
Traces the history of MONOPOLY to its roots as a folk game and discusses the legal battles Anspach faced with Parker Bros. over his invention of ANTI-MONOPOLY.

Orbanes, Philip. Monopoly; The World’s Most Famous Game & How It Got That Way. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press, 2006.
The complete story of MONOPOLY, the game’s history, the competition, and the people and companies surrounding its controversial introduction and unparalleled success in the U.S. and world markets.

Orbanes, Philip. The Monopoly Companion. Boston, MA: Bob Adams Inc., 1988.
A guide to the history, rules, and winning strategies of MONOPOLY.

Games within a Single Topic

Cooper, Mark. Baseball Games: Home Versions of the National Pastime, 1860s – 1960s, Schiffer Publishing Ltd., © 1995.  ISBN-10: 0-88740-767-6

Shores, Earl; Garcia, Roddy; and Kronenberg, MichaelThe Unforgettable Buzz: The History of Electric Football and Tudor Games, One Way Road Press, © 2013. ISBN-13: 978-0989236317.


Avedon, Elliott, and Sutton-Smith, Brian. The Study of Games. New York, NY: John Wiley and Sons, 1971.
Encyclopedic reference examines the structure and function of games from various perspectives, including sociology, anthropology, archeology, psychology, psychiatry, military science, history, business administration, and mathematics; contains extensive bibliography.

Finkel, Irving. Ancient Board Games. London, England: Michael O’Mara Books, Ltd., 1996.
Book of cardboard pages includes game boards and playing pieces for SENET, HOUNDS AND JACKALS, MEHEN, and THE ROYAL GAME OF UR.

Finkel, Irving. Ancient Board Games in Perspective. London, England: British Museum Press, 2007.

Finkel, Irving. Sedentary Games of IndiaCalcutta, India: The Asiatic Society, 1999.

Goodfellow, Caroline. A Collector’s Guide to Games and Puzzles. London, England: The Apple Press, 1991. [Out of print] Reviews children’s games since 1760. Includes FOX AND GEESE, HALMA, SORRY, LUDO, PACHISI, and SNAKES AND LADDERS.

Levy, Richard C., and Weingartner, Ronald O. From Workshop to Toy Store. New York, NY: Fireside, 1992.
Paperback release of the book Inside Santa’s Workshop.

Levy, Richard C., and Weingartner, Ronald O. Inside Santa’s Workshop. New York, NY: Henry Holt & Co., 1990.
This insider’s look at the relationship between the “external” game inventing community and the major game manufacturing companies profiles 75 leading inventors; the book was released in paperback in 1992 under the Fireside label as From Workshop to Toy Store.

Matthews, Jack. Toys Go To War. Missoula, MT: Pictorial Histories Publishing Co., Inc., 1994. [Out of print] World War II military toys, games, puzzles, and books are explored in this well-written, well-illustrated resource.

Parlett, David. Botticelli and Beyond. New York, NY: Pantheon Books, 1981.
A collection of over 100 traditional and new word games, including BOTTICELLI, KNOCK KNOCK, CHARADES, GUGGENHEIM, ANAGRAMS, and TWENTY QUESTIONS.

Parlett, David. The Oxford History of Board Games. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 1999.
A monumental work covering the histories of hundreds of games around the world. Examines games by categories, including Race, Space, Linear Connection, Configuration, and Displacement.

Parlett, David. The Penguin Book of Card Games. New York, NY: Crescent Books, 1979.
Provides explanations of over 300 card games played around the world.

Peek, Steven. Gameplan: The Game Inventor’s Handbook. White Hall, VA: Betterway Publications, 1987.
A primer for prospective inventors wanting to design a game and get it manufactured and into the marketplace.

Polizzi, Rick, and Schaefer, Fred. Spin Again: Boardgames From the Fifties and Sixties. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books, 1991.
Nostalgia, coffee table book with 170 photos includes brief histories of companies to accompany the firm’s most notable game; chapters by theme include children’s games, space, sports, television, western, and games for girls/games for boys.

Rinker, Harry L. Collector’s Guide to Toys, Games, and Puzzles. Radnor, PA: Wallace-Homestead Book Co., 1991.
A guide to collecting that includes a brief history of games, an analysis of market trends, lists of resources, and other information of use to game enthusiasts; peppered with pictures of games throughout.

Sackson, Sid. Beyond Competition. New York, NY: Pantheon Books, 1977.
Includes six original games to be played with cooperation of two or more players.

Sackson, Sid. Beyond Tic Tac Toe. New York, NY: Pantheon Books, 1975.
Contains seven original games which are played with colored pens and pencils to create a drawing.

Sackson, Sid. Calculate. New York, NY: Pantheon Books, 1979.
Includes six original games to be played with the use of a calculator.

Sackson, Sid. A Gamut of Games. New York, NY: Castle Books & Random House, 1969.
Includes brief reviews of over 100 board and card games (some classics and some newer games by the author), and short reviews of games in print; includes copy of Elizabeth Magie’s 1904 patent for what became MONOPOLY. Games include ACQUIRE, CABOODLE, RISK, STRATEGO, CLUE, SCRABBLE, PARCHEESI, SORRY, and MEM.

Scarpone, Desi. Board Games. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publ., 1992. [Out of print] Color photos with prices, publishers, and some descriptions.

Walsh, Tim. The Playmakers:  Amazing Origins of Timeless Toys, Sarasota, Florida: Keys Publishing, 2004.  ISBN-10: 0-9646973-4

Whitehill, Bruce. Americanopoly: America as Seen Through Its Games. La-Tour-de-Peilz, Switzerland: Musée Suisse du Jeu (Swiss Museum of Games), 2004.
A history of America as viewed by the games it produced. Chronological entries and timeline, along with thematic chapters on such areas as Social Issues, Ethnic Games, Sports, Television, Politics and so on. Contains details about the larger U.S. game manufacturers, and links between U.S. and European games.

Williams, J.D.. The Complete Strategyst. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 1966.
Rev. ed., Explanation of Game Theory as it applies to games of strategy.