The month of November is International Games Month! This is an initiative through the American Library Association and “is run by volunteers from around the world to reconnect communities through their libraries around the educational, recreational, and social value of all types of games.” If you would like to see more of their resources, including a list of games that you can print and play, check out their page at the Games & Gaming Roundtable website.
However! November is only the start of the season for games and gaming. With winter approaching, it’s finally time for some indoor games and activities. The titles below will keep you entertained with face-to-face games all winter long.
There isn’t much to be said about D&D that hasn’t been said already. This is 5th and most recent version of the game that was originally released in 1974. Next year marks the game’s 50th anniversary, and this tabletop roleplaying game is more popular than ever. If you’ve been intrigued by its presentation in Stranger Things or other pop culture references, you can check out a copy of the Player’s Handbook as well as the other two essential books to play the game, the Monster Manual and Dungeon Master’s Guide, and have all the ingredients necessary to start playing except for the dice. As a side note, did you know Google will roll dice for you?
If Dungeons & Dragons is too mainstream for your tastes, you may want to check out the bizarre world of Troika! If you like things like Adventure Time or Dying Earth, this game might be for you. It’s also a far more rules-light option for roleplaying, consisting of only a single book to get all of the information you need to run the game. And if you really like it, you can even check out pre-made campaigns like Fronds of Benevolence, Acid Death Fantasy, or Very Pretty Paleozoic Pals. As you can guess from the names, this game is built for lovers of the bizarre and spurners of fantasy tropes.
If you prefer your games to get straight to the point, you can get a lot of action out of this collection of games which all make use of a pack of standard playing cards. With rules for classic games like Rummy and lesser-known games like James Bond, you’re almost sure to get some entertainment out of this book. It’s also worth noting that it includes rules for single-player card games as well. You can play Solitaire with real cards instead of on your computer! If you don’t want to buy a deck of cards, you can find a printable set of playing cards here.
When you’re not sure what board game is right for you, this book can help. It has rules and strategies for a lot of the popular games (Catan, Betrayal at House on the Hill, Small World, etc.). More importantly, though, it classifies those games into genres. So, if you know which kind of game you like, you get a list of other games that use similar design! For each game it also lists difficulty, number of players, estimated playtime, and age range, so you can know if a game is a good fit or if it is a little more complicated than you would like.
Alright, so if you weren’t sold on Dungeons & Dragons or Troika! because of their complexity, but you still really want to try out a tabletop role-playing game, this book is the one for you. It’s a compendium of 40 different games to try out in a variety of settings, styles, and rules. Each game’s entire rules and requirements are listed on one double-sided page. This also makes it a great option for younger players, older players, or people that are short on time. The goal with most of these is to have a short setup time that doesn’t require preparation of any kind. These games can be a lot of fun because they don’t require the “serious” commitment that the games above would expect. If these kinds of games interest you, there’s also a lot of variety to be found online. The advantage of this book is the hand-selected titles to cut out some of the lower-quality titles.
Did you check out all of the books above and still feel like none of them are right for you? Maybe you’re ready to design your own game! This title gives you all the jargon and principles used in modern board game designs, with examples based on very common games (snakes and ladders, checkers, tic-tac-toe) to give clear ideas of how the mechanics work in reality. It ends with a couple examples of games designed using the principles in the book. Your creation could be the next board game sensation!
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