Here’s Top 3 books on game design that I’d recommend:
- The Art of Game Design: A book of lenses (and I suggest to purchase actual lenses deck on Art of Game Design website
- Game Design Workshop, Second Edition: A Playcentric Approach to Creating Innovative Games
- Challenges for Game Designers
Now, probably the most important thing is that game design as a discipline is pretty thin, but it draws a lot from other areas like art, history, economics, math (specifically theory of probabilities & statistics), psychology, writing and even music & filmmaking. So good books in all those disciplines probably would be equally important for a game designer as well as specific game design books.
I pretty much have Theory of Fun by my side all the time.
I’m sorry if this would sound like a shameless plug, but I developed a visualization service that crawls Amazon data and shows relationships between books. I specifically created visualization for your question and it had all books from Alex Koloskov’s answer. I wanted to share those that I couldn’t find among answers here but presented in my visualization.
Reality is Broken written by game designer Jane McGonigal it reveals how we can harness the power of games to solve real-world problems and boost global happiness.
The Ultimate History of Video Games Steven L. Kent writes about about games that changed the world, the visionaries who made them, and the fanatics who played them.
The Ultimate Guide to Video Game Writing and Design This one comes from the co-authors of The Chronicles of Riddick game. I haven’t read it, but overall reviews are positive.
Among all I really enjoyed reading “The Art of Game Design: A book of lenses” suggested by Alex.
PS: Visualization itself: