Gamasutra has an interesting set of articles on real-world game design.
[Game Design Essentials returns with an extensive review of some of the most interesting non-electronic games, from traditional cultural games like Chess and Go through pen-and-paper role playing titles like Call of Cthulhu, European games like The Settlers of Catan, and much more — each with a unique design lesson.]
The only game I would add to the review would be Vampire: The Masquerade for it’s (at the time) unique emphasis on character and the loss of humanity which does compare to the sanity-blasting nature of Call of Cthulhu after a fashion. But the exclusion of the game is undoubtedly because of the afterbirth of the tortured souls who first loved the game: the trenchcoat samurai. These individuals (and their cohorts, the velvet wannabees) changed the tone of the game and put a lot of people off. When you had a good group, however, you had a game which focused on social interaction, on playing roles like duty, love, passion, perversion – and making it acceptable though challenging to play.
Vampire revitalised the hobby (again) and this role is now being repeated by indie games which have a reduced need for long preparations and rely more on social interaction and ‘storytelling’ than strict adherence to the result of a dice (if indeed they have any randomising element).