Skaff Elias, Richard Garfield, and Robert Gutschera are three of the most legendary and influential paper game designers working today. Among other things, they were all instrumental in developing Magic: The Gathering, Richard’s design that singlehandedly created the trading card game genre.

When they asked me to write the foreword for their new book, Characteristics of Games, I was more than flattered. I have read articles, heard lectures, and attended workshops with all three of them. Not to mention that I’ve lost my fair share of tabletop games to them as well. Their ideas and their games have had a profound impact on my work.

Characteristics of Games is an amazing book whose influence will be felt for years to come. It dives deep into the nuts and bolts of game design, where mathematics and logic meet human psychology and design aesthetics. Deliciously analytic, the authors dive in to thorny dilemmas like quantifying luck and social politics. If you are a game designer, game scholar, student, fan, or player of games – on or off the computer – read this book.