J. Green
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If you have recently discovered Eurogames, i.e., Settlers of Catan, Carcasonne, Agricola, or Dominion, you might want to know about a couple of fantastic resources for board game enthusiasts that newcomers would not necessarily find quickly on BoardGameGeek:

The archives of The Games Journal, which has some amazing articles about the inner workings of board game design, written by designers and great boardgame journalists, many of whom have sort of disappeared from the scene. TGJ was actively published from 2000 to 2005, but its contents are still very applicable if you're interested in game design.

http://www.thegamesjournal.com/Archives.shtml

If you're dreaming up games and wanting to take it to the next levels: prototyping and playtesting, the better community for you to get involved with is the Board Game Designers' Forum, where lots of published designers have gotten their start and where you can find lots of resources for "do-it-yourself" game production:

http://www.bgdf.com/

There are no published books in print or out of print that are better than these two websites for game design thinking or production. There are a couple of books on making games I would recommend, but they don't really offer any more than you would get with a thorough exploration of The Games Journal and BGDF. If you're interested, here they are:

This one is new, is heavily focused on computer games but covers all games, game design and mechanics, including board games and pen-and-paper roleplaying games:
http://www.amazon.com/Creating-Games-Mechanics-Content-Techn...

Again, another one about being a computer game designer, but the lessons for boardgame design could apply:
http://www.amazon.com/Challenges-Game-Designers-Brenda-Brath...

This one is pretty basic information, but if you want a ground-zero, simple starting point, the name says it all:
http://www.amazon.com/Game-Inventors-Guidebook-Role-Playing-...

Everything about quests you want to know but were afraid to ask:
http://www.amazon.com/Quests-Design-Theory-History-Narrative...

Highly recommended book on game design theory that I have had on my wish list for a long time, that has an accompanying (not included) deck of cards with the main points in outline form:
http://www.amazon.com/Art-Game-Design-book-lenses/dp/0123694...

And finally a good book that talks about the real core of game design: playtesting. Nothing you can buy in a store was published without decent playtesting. You want to make a sellable game? Find a willing group of playtesting guinea pigs, buy them lots of food and invite them over to play your game.
http://www.amazon.com/Game-Design-Workshop-Second-Playcentri...

Oh, and one more, a big Kahuna on game design theory that has articles by Reiner Knizia and Richard Garfield:
http://www.amazon.com/Rules-Play-Game-Design-Fundamentals/dp...

If you need any help making a boardgame prototype, the most useful keyword to search is "DIY" or do-it-yourself, and the second most useful is "prototype."

Good luck!
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Mark Mahaffey
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Benjamin Polak's Game Theory course at Yale:
http://academicearth.org/courses/game-theory
 
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Matthew M
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Moved to Board Game Design forum.
 
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