Title: Your Move: What Board Games Teach Us About Life
Author: Joan Moriarity and Jonathan Kay
Goodreads Rating: 3.67
“Games, at their best, have the power to create a special space, a world within the world. It’s a kind of magic circle.”
Do you love reading? Do you love board games? Do you love reading about board games?? I have the book for you. Well… not really. I unfortunately cannot recommend Your Move as a good read.
In Your Move, Moriarity and Kay attempt to analyze the impact of board games on societies and relationships and how different cultures approach board games. Expressed in only 166 pages, it is a quick read and the authors focus the majority of their time on some of the most well known board games throughout history. You’ll learn about their perspectives on Monopoly, Scattergories, Catan, Scrabble and many more. Let me emphasize the word “perspectives”. Your Move is a rather opinionated, glass-half-empty book that shares little about the history of board games and contains more of their personal views and biases.
If you’re looking for a high level view into the history of board games or if you’re looking for objective research about how board games impact societies and relationships, don’t read this book. I was let down by Your Move. The authors come across as two melodramatic complainers whining about mainstream and entry-level games. In the first couple chapters, they set up the book as if they are going to dive into detail about what board games can tell us about people and personalities… it was more about how gamers don’t approach games correctly, how mainstream games are disliked by true gamers, and how some board games inaccurately depict and disrespect historical moments, cultures, and populations. They completely lost me by the time they reached Scattergories and said that it shatters relationships, is morally corrupt, and instills hatred and violence. I suppose I could be living in my safe bubble of happy board game experiences… but I strongly doubt that their negative observations of gaming experiences are as common as they suggest.
I hold out hope that there are better board game books out there waiting for me to discover them. As for Your Move, I don’t think I can honestly recommend it as a good book. The negative points of view and melodramatic explanations are hard to ignore and there’s enough negativity in the world that I prefer not to read about it as it pertains to one of my most treasured hobbies.