Check out the Video Game Book Source for books separated by discipline. Highly recommended!
- Challenges for Game Designers (Shameless Self-Promotion)
- Character Development and Storytelling for Games (Game Development Series), Lee Sheldon, the quintessential book on game writing by a very experienced designer and writer.
- Game Writing: Narrative Skills for Videogames, edited by Bateman
- Theory of Fun for Game Design, Raph Koster, a classic and a yearly read for me.
- Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud, a favorite book among game designers
- Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the seminal book on the zone that all designers want players to reach.
- Patterns for Game Design, Bjork and Holopainen, a dictionary of mechanics
- Game Design, 2nd Edition Bob Bates, an excellent and well written book that’s great for people new to game design. Cheap, too.
- Game Design Workshop, 2nd Ed, Tracy Fullerton
Great Books for Coders
- Coders at Work: Reflections on the Craft of Programming by Peter Seibel
- Masterminds of Programming: Conversations with the Creators of Major Programming Languages (Theory in Practice (O’Reilly)) by Federico Biancuzzi
- Programmers at Work: Interviews with 19 Programmers Who Shaped the Computer Industry
- Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution – 25th Anniversary Edition
Great Games for Parents & Kids to Play Together
4000 AD (Waddingtons Games)
The Creature That Ate Sheboygan (SPI)
Stellar Conquest (Avalon Hill)
Advanced Civilization (by Avalon Hill, I think)
Advanced Squad Leader
Carabande (I forget the English version name of this).
Double Fanucci (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_Fanucci).
Empires in Arms
Eurorails, Nipponrails, Iron Dragon, etc.
Hare & Tortoise (aka Hase und Igel).
King Me, Tsuro
Knizia’s Lord of the Rings
Liar’s Dice (aka Bluff)
Magic: the Gathering
Memoir ’44 and/or Battlecry and/or Battle Lore
OGRE/G.E.V (by Steve Jackson)
Republic of Rome (Avalon Hill)
Samurai Swords (aka Shogun)
221B Baker Street
Diplomacy (Avalon Hill/WotC)
History of the World (Avalon Hill)
Set, and/or Ricochet Robot.
Six Nimmt and/or Diamant
Tales of the Arabian Nights (West End)
Star Trek: The Adventure Game (West End)
Voyage of the BSM Pandora (solo – Ares magazine #6)
Sorcerer’s Cave (Ariel) and its bemusing sequel, Mystic Wood (Avalon Hill)
Barbarian Prince (solo – Dwarfstar Games)
Source of the Nile (Avalon Hill)
King Arthur’s Knights (Chaosium)
Runebound (Fantasy Flight Games)
The Very Clever Pipe Game (CheapAss Games)
World in flames