Around the World in 80 Games: A mathematician unlocks the secrets of the greatest games

By Marcus du Sautoy



An award-winning mathematician explores the maths behind the games we love and why we love to play them.

Where should you move first in Connect 4?

What is the best property in Monopoly?

And how can pi help you win rock paper scissors?

Spanning millennia, oceans and continents, countries and cultures, Around the World in 80 Games gleefully explores how mathematics and games have always been deeply intertwined. Marcus du Sautoy investigates how games provided the first opportunities for deep mathematical insight into the world, how understanding maths can help us play games better, and how both maths and games are integral to human psychology and culture.

For as long as there have been people, there have been games, and for nearly as long, we have been exploring and discovering mathematics. A grand adventure, Around the World in 80 Games teaches us not just how games are won, but how they, and the maths behind them, shape who we are.

‘A delightful and addictive celebration of games. You’ll keeping wanting one more go’ DARA Ó BRIAIN

‘Whether your game is Go, Dungeons and Dragons, or Chocolate Chilli Roulette, you’ll find this book adorable. It’s lively, creative and humane – exactly as one would expect from Marcus du Sautoy’ TIM HARFORD, author of How To Make The World Add Up

Format: Hardback
Release Date: 12 Oct 2023
Pages: 384
ISBN: 978-0-00-852591-0
Marcus du Sautoy has been named by the Independent on Sunday as one of the UK\'s leading scientists, has written extensively for the Guardian, The Times and the Daily Telegraph and has appeared on Radio 4 on numerous occasions. In 2008 he was appointed to Oxford University’s prestigious professorship as the Simonyi Chair for the Public Understanding of Science, a post previously held by Richard Dawkins.

”'Marcus du Sautoy’s brilliantly clear and captivating prose manages to bring to life the drama of so many different games. With the lightest of touches du Sautoy manages persuasively to show how games are both narratives that speak about us and structures whose ideas underlie everything in our known universe. And on top of it, the book serves as an absolutely indispensable compendium. Rainy weekends in Cornwall will now be welcomed” - Stephen Fry

”'The book encapsulates the very essence of human ingenuity and our intrinsic love for play and exploration. You do not need to be a seasoned player nor a skilled mathematician to relish this enchanting read. However, this book may just encourage you to become the one or the other” - Reiner Knizia, award-winning game designer

'Du Sautoy’s enthusiasm is infectious … perhaps it will ignite a search for new gaming horizons beyond lazy Cluedo sessions on Boxing Day. It may even awaken a recognition in those who don’t see themselves as gaming fans that it’s not that they are fundamentally averse to games, it’s that they have yet to find the right one’Sunday Times -

”'The world of games is vast and du Sautoy ranges across it boldly, his lively and engaging style keeping things readable, even for those with non-mathematical minds … An excellent Christmas present for anyone who seriously enjoys playing games” - Literary Review

”'[du Sautoy] thoroughly knows his subject, and he writes with self-effacing charm … A complex package delivered in refreshingly simple and consistently entertaining terms” - Kirkus starred review

”'This meticulous and deeply researched survey will appeal to math-lovers and history buffs alike” - Publishers Weekly