NCompass Live - July 1, 2015.
One Saturday each month about 50 people gather at Concordia University’s Link Library to play board games. That might sound banal in a higher education setting or Luddite in this age of ever-increasing technology. Since 1995, however, a grand renaissance in board game design is providing games that are intellectually stimulating, artistically engaging, educationally valuable, and socially exciting. Hear how a modern board game event in the library offers outreach to the students, faculty and community. Learn what resources we use to develop and promote the event. If you believe that fun has no place in the library, do not attend this session.
Presenter: Phil Hendrickson, Library Director, Link Library, Concordia University, Seward, NE.
Did you know we’re in a renaissance of board and card games?
WSJ ran a story during the NFL playoffs about the Packers playing Catan. The news angle is that adults are playing board games, not just H.S. geeks in the basement.
Not to bash Monopoly, but games have come a long way in 100 years.
Several names are used to try to demonstrate that board games have changed in recent years.
These games are mostly NOT designed to be educational, yet they give fun ways to build and use problem solving, logic and subject skills.
F2F tabletop gaming builds social skills far better and is less expensive and technology-dependent than video gaming. Gamergate; small vs. big money.
Game nights are a good fit for library values. They serve a wide variety of people. Board gaming engenders a culture of constant teaching and learning.
Several hundred new games are published each year; the majority will never appear in Walmart because they aren’t cheap, mass-market games. What led to this renaissance? Mid-20C German families wanted non-violent games. The Spiel des Jahres (established 1979) led to much better game designs…
Easy to learn – often only a few rules; user-friendly rule books. Quality components; attractive artwork. Wide array of interesting themes.
Player interaction throughout (e.g. trading, negotiation, cooperation). Games have a definite length, unlike Monopoly or Risk. Scoring is usually based on points or accomplishments, not player elimination. Meaningful decisions outweigh luck. Open-ended choices, not roll-and-move.
By April 2013 our home game nights with friends and students grew too large. Librarians are well-practiced at hosting events and demonstrating how to use media. We meet when library is closed, so food, noise and activity are no problem. Plenty of large tables and good lighting are essential. Attendees are 50/50 CUNE and community, from as far as 1.5 hours away. Families are welcome as long as children stay engaged in the games. Connecting with a few faculty members. Hopeful that Plum Creek session might spur connections to Education faculty, and thus their students. Primary promotion via BGG and FB, plus campus email and student calendars. Area game designers have started bringing prototypes to demo.
BGG is the top board game site in the world, over 1M users. The core hobbyists are enthusiastic evangelists, and love giving recommendations to new gamers. The Dice Tower and Casual Game Revolution are good websites to explore for reviews and suggestion lists.
Tons of sites offer game reviews and discuss gaming issues. Most avoid strategy tips and “game cheats”, common with video games. Discovering strategies is the fun of learning new games.
Teaching with games, library game events, and board game hobby culture.
FLGS and Hobby shops - look for one that isn’t smelly or overpriced. Dedicated online game stores offer strong selection, great service and the best prices.
NCompass Live: Cardboard Conundrum: Why a Small University Library Has Grown a Monthly Board Game Night
Why a Small University Library
Has Grown a Monthly Board
Philip Hendrickson, Director of Library Services
Concordia University Nebraska
How game night benefits the library
o In our small town, game night offers a fresh activity for students, faculty, librarians and friends.
o It provides a fun, intellectual alternative to the strong sports and arts opportunities on campus.
o Game night draws visitors to campus, which the administration always appreciates.
o It helps library staff build informal relationships with students, which reduces their reluctance
to ask us for library assistance in the future.
o It offers a talking point during recruiting tours, allowing librarians to demonstrate to future
freshman that we are approachable and friendly.
o It is a non-threatening opportunity to draw into the library students who otherwise avoid us.
Library Lingo: Collection Development
Podcasts, Blogs and YouTube Channels
Games for Educators
Rahdo Runs Through
Watch It Played
… and so on.
The Dice Tower
The Secret Cabal
Games in Schools and Libraries
Blue Peg, Pink Peg
Garrett’s Games and Geekiness
Rolling Dice & Taking Names
Shut Up and Sit Down
The Daily Worker Placement www.BoardGameLinks.com
…and Books, of course!
Teaching with games:
Mayer, Brian, and Christopher Harris. 2010. Libraries got game: aligned learning through modern
board games. Chicago: American Library Association.
Harris, Christopher, Patricia Harris, and Brian Mayer. 2015. Teaching the underground railroad
through play. New York: Rosen Classroom Professional Resources. [Part of a series of game-based
lesson plan books.]
Planning game events in libraries:
Nicholson, Scott. 2010. Everyone plays at the library: creating great gaming experiences for all ages.
Medford, N.J.: Information Today, Inc.
Board gaming culture:
Woods, Stewart. 2012. Eurogames: the design, culture and play of modern European board games.
Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co.
Green, Lorien. 2012. Going cardboard: a board game documentary. United States: T-Cat Productions.
Where to buy games…
Friendly Local Game Store … maybe
or Amazon, of course.
All pictures taken by presenter except:
Clark, Kevin, “Green Bay’s Board-Game Obsession” in Wall Street Journal
(Jan 15, 2015) viewed May 26, 2015 at http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-
"Monopoly board on white bg" by fir0002/flagstaffotos. Licensed under
GFDL 1.2 via Wikimedia Commons -
"1911 Ford Model T Touring" by I, Lglswe. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via
Wikimedia Commons -
“Bentley Continental GT” by nakhon100. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Flickr
“Ticket to Ride cover” by Fawkes. [Circle added for emphasis.]
"Children playing video games in a video game trailer" by Gamesingear.
Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -
"Carcassonne Miples" by Júlio Reis (User:Tintazul). Licensed under CC BY-SA
2.5 via Wikimedia Commons -
“BGG Logo”. http://www.boardgamegeek.com
“Dice Tower Logo”. http://www.dicetower.com/game-podcast/dice-tower
“Casual Game Revolution Banner”. http://casualgamerevolution.com
“Cool Stuff Inc Logo”. http://www.coolstuffinc.com
“Miniature Market Logo”. http://www.miniaturemarket.com
“Funagain Logo”. http://www.funagain.com
“Carcassonne” by Sampsa Ritvanen (User: saksi). Licensed under CC BY-NC
3.0 via BoardGameGeek -
Also see “Cardboard Conundrum” in the
February 2015 issue of Nebraska Libraries,