Do you find that you have a tendency to read books that relate to the types of game you play? For example, you’re playing a wargame that focuses on Operation Dynamo, the British retreat from Dunkirk, and you are reading a book directly related to this operation. Another example, you’re playing a sci-fi themed euro boardgame and you are inspired to read a work of fiction that was inspired by the game itself. As of late I find this happening more and more.
Lately, I have been putting the wargame Somme 1918 by Nuts! Publishing through its paces and in doing so, found that I wanted to read a book on the battle. Being a little short on available cash, I grabbed a book titled The Oxford Illustrated History of the First World War by Hew Strachan from my bookshelf. Fortunately for me, I have never read the book so; it is helping me to get into the WWI mindset even though it does not focus directly on the Somme 1918 campaign.
I find that reading a book related to the topic of the game helps to put the game into context and will let me actually learn something. Yes, I like learning a little slice of history when I play wargames. Now, when it comes to RPGs, that idea is thrown out the window. I generally don’t read a lot of non-fiction, but sometimes I find myself going through a phase where I will read snippets of fantasy for no other reason than for creative ideas. These ideas could be anything from plot hooks to monster concepts, or even campaign ideas. You just never know what a fantasy story can inspire in the mind of its readers. I am certain that for those that enjoy the sci-fi genre of games, a good sci-fi book like War of the Worlds or something from Harry Turtledove can inspire you, as Fantasy books inspire me.
Gaming in one sense is an extension of creativity; at least within the RPG community. Thereby, reading is part of that creativity. Within the boardgaming and wargaming community it less about creativity and more about learning something new, placing things in context or getting into the right frame of mind.
Now, go out there read! Get inspired and learn something new!