With acknowledgements to Charles Cotton


Playful essays and articles by David Parlett

This title (by posthumous courtesy of Charles Cotton, author of The Compleat Gamester, London 1674) introduces a collection of my game-related writings produced over the years. They include commissioned talks, articles and reviews, chunks lifted from my books, and miscellaneous ramblings done for my own amusement. Don't be surprised at the repetitiveness: I am my own worst plagiarist - or, to put it another way, most prolific recyclist.

Are we playing the game...
... or is the game playing us? A talk given as part of a session on psycholudology at the Impakt festival in Utrecht on 1st April 2007.
Arts of Contest, the
My introduction to the catalogue accompanying an exhibition of Asian games under this title by the Asia Society, New York, October 2004. (Warning: it's over 12,000 words long and runs to five pages.)
Back to Square One - Questing the origin of games
A contribution to the 14th Colloquium of the Board Games Studies Association at Brugge in April 2011.
On Chance and Skill in Games
A contribution to the 11th Colloquium of the Board Games Studies Association at Lisbon in April 2008.
Conquest (game review)
I can't remember what publication I wrote this article for, but Conquest is one of my favourite games and the article was once available at https://www.etc.cmu.edu/etcpress/content/, but seems now to have disappeared. So I'll have to scan it when I have time (!).
"Games & Puzzles" magazine - the inside story
Many game enthusiasts still remember this pioneering magazine that ran from 1972 to 1981. Some even retain complete sets of the series. Here's my view of it, speaking as a former editor and contributor.
Monopolizing history
A review of Philip E. Orbanes's "Monopoly: The World's Most Famous Game - And How It Got That Way", commissioned by and published in the magazine American Interest in March 2007.
Rules OK (or: "Hoyle on troubled waters")
What are the rules of a game? How do they develop, and who or what constitutes the authority of so-called "official" rules? A contribution to the 8th Board Game Studies Colloquium at Oxford, 2005.
What is a ludeme? Who invented it and what does it mean?
The term has been wrongly attributed to me, and I have wrongly attributed it to someone else, so I've done a bit of research and here's the result.
What's it all about?: On abstraction and representation in games
A contribution to the 9th Board Game Studies Colloquium, Paris, 2009.
When is a word not a word?
An essay on the acceptability of words in word games, first published in my "Penguin Book of Word Games".