Book Review: Everybody Wins: Four Decades of the Greatest Board Games Ever Made

Title: Everybody Wins: Four Decades of the Greatest Board Games Ever Made

Author: James Wallis

Published: March 14, 2023, Aconyte Books

MSRP: $29.95

Many tabletop gaming enthusiasts look forward every year to the Spiel des Jahres nominees, awarding some of the best game on the market for excellence in design. The winners make a place for themselves in gaming history, and gamers snap up copies of the successful products. In Everybody Wins: Four Decades of the Greatest Board Games Ever Made, James Wallis takes readers on a beautifully produced tour of the influential award’s winners, losers, and honorable mentions, using it as a lens through which to view the evolution of board game history and culture.

Each game gets a large, several page long spread, with glossy photos, informational asides, and helpful infographics. The author introduces and discusses different game mechanics, defines terms that might not be familiar to the reader, and breaks down gameplay. For each year, the winners and losers are detailed, as well as special awards and interesting asides. Wallis offers opinions on the games and choices, creating a larger narrative thread about shifting trends in gaming that winds throughout the book.

Wallis, an experienced game writer and designer (you may recognize his work as a co-creator on the game Once Upon a Time) does an excellent job of writing about the games in a way that introduces them to uninitiated readers, while also providing depth and background information that experienced gamers will find interesting. For many game lovers, this book will provide new and thoughtful information about old favorites. Most of all, it highlights a love of the hobby that radiates throughout every page. Wallis’ passion for the subject is clear, and draws even casual readers in.

For libraries with game collections or gaming patrons, this is an excellent addition to a collection. The hardback is high quality and eye catching and will have great shelf appeal on displays. The information is an excellent reader advisory choice for patrons looking to learn more about board gaming, or someone who is passionate about the hobby. It also serves as a comprehensive introduction to popular, well-loved games for a library staff member looking to curate a collection, or to provide to a director who is on the fence about the value of a gaming collection. If you want a way new way to appreciate the games you love, Everybody Wins is a prize.

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