International Games Day @ your library Game on November 19, 2016!

Hosting a Hearthstone Tournament

Posted on July 18, 2016


Hearthstone is a free-to-play digital collectible card game based on the popular game “World of Warcraft”. The game itself is fairly simple to play but has a lot of strategic depth which has made it quite popular as a competitive game. Running a tournament for Hearthstone may at first seem like a daunting challenge but is actually rather accessible for even the least experienced of tournament organizers and can be done for little to no cost at all.

Hearthstone - Pull up a chair

The Hearthstone Innkeeper

Preparing the Space

When planning any tournament you will first want to dedicate a space for holding the event. Ideally, a library should be able to provide computers for the players to use, but it is not strictly required. If the library is planning on allowing players to use library-owned computers, be sure to download the Hearthstone game client well in advance of the tournament. The game can be downloaded for free here. Hearthstone can be played cross-platform on either PC, iOS, or Android devices. Keep in mind that all players should be using their own private accounts in order to play their matches. As long as every entrant has access to at least one of these devices, play should run smoothly. Of particular importance, make sure the provided space offers Wi-Fi internet access and plenty of power outlets so that players may charge their personal devices.


Promoting the Event

A great way to start promoting your Hearthstone tournament or get together is through the official Hearthstone Fireside Gathering website. The company responsible for Hearthstone has set up a great online calendar that allows organizers to promote and even support their events with free in-game digital goodies. Many local schools and universities also have student-run eSports organizations that you can reach out to for both support and potential participants. Finally posting flyers, creating Facebook event pages, and sending out email blasts are also great ways to spread the word about your upcoming event!

Establish the Rules

The next step in planning is to establish a basic rule set. Having a well-written rule set posted in advance will eliminate a lot of headaches on tournament day. First and foremost you will want to decide which style of bracket you would like to run. A single elimination bracket will allow for a maximum number of entrants to participate as it takes the least amount of time to complete. The one major drawback to a single elimination bracket, however, is that nearly half of all entrants will only be allowed a chance to play in one game before being eliminated. A double elimination bracket is a far superior choice to a single elimination bracket in that it guarantees that all participants are allowed to play at least two complete matches before being eliminated. However, the increase in the number of games played can significantly increase the time needed to complete the event. Most rounds of the tournament will take about 45 minutes to complete so be sure to allow the players ample time to complete the entire event whether you choose a single or double elimination bracket. No matter what style you choose, is a valuable free resource for both generating a bracket and keeping track of tournament results. You can use this link to help you begin generating your free tournament bracket.


Setting Guidelines

When laying out a basic rule set you will also need guidelines for how individual matches themselves should be played. The most common format for match play is the official Hearthstone “conquest” format played in either a best of five or best of three setting. In a best of five format, each player brings five decks and must win three out of five games to be awarded a match victory. For a more abbreviated and faster play format, players can be required to bring three different decks and win two out of the three games to be declared the victor. In either case, once a player has won a game with a particular deck they are no longer allowed to use that deck in that match. A losing player may continue using the same deck or attempt to switch to a different deck of his/her choice. In order to ensure that players are not changing their decks between games, or rounds, each player should be required to submit an official deck registration sheet prior to the start of the tournament. It is highly advisable to allow players the chance to complete their deck sheet prior to coming to the event. If a player is caught playing any modified deck at any point during the tournament they should be subject to either a game or match forfeiture, up to the tournament organizer’s discretion. Hearthstone

For a more in-depth and comprehensive guide, check out the official Hearthstone Innkeepers Guide for a complete breakdown of all things related to hosting your own event!



Librarians Report: IGD Notes from a Small Island

Posted on July 13, 2016

Darren Edwards is Operations Manager for Bournemouth Library, UK. He has been a tabletop gamer for over two decades, initially wargaming then discovering roleplay and modern board games whilst at University.

Hello from sunny Bournemouth; where Bill Bryson cut his teeth as a journalist, Robert Louis Stevenson wrote The Strange Case Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, J.R.R. Tolkien retired, and Mary Shelley is buried. Bournemouth is a busy seaside town on the south coast of the UK, with twelve libraries serving a population of around 180,000.

Our largest town centre library has taken part in International Games Day (IGD) for the last three years, but 2015 was the first year we attempted to run events in all twelve of our libraries. The success of these events was pretty varied. The busiest of our events at our town centre library led to an increase in footfall of 15%. At the other end of the spectrum one of our community libraries had no participants at all.

island6 island5 island4 island3

From our experiences last year we have learnt a few things about ways to increase the likelihood of an IGD event being successful.

  1. Connect the event with existing programming
    Those libraries that ran one-off, standalone events were less likely to attract a
    significant number of attendees than those connected to regular activities. The “Stay and Play” session that was added to a community library’s weekly “Baby Wriggle and Rhyme” attracted 50 children and parents. By connecting with existing groups you have a premade audience to target. It is also easier to get people to stay in the library than to attract them in the first place.
  2. Forge links with your local gaming community
    In our experience, local games stores and clubs are highly likely to want to help out with events. We are lucky that Bournemouth has a very active gaming community and were able to ask a range of local retailers and clubs to help out. All but one of these responded and all that did respond ran activities for us. The retailers and groups had the opportunity to recruit new customers/members but also brought some of their regulars with them, many of whom were not existing library users.
  3. Provide staff or volunteer support for visitors
    Our most successful events were the ones which had games on open display and staff or volunteers available to demonstrate and advise. The events in which games were on display but had no staff support were still well received, but had lower levels of participation. Providing staff support minimises the initial barrier to customers trying something new and makes for a more helpful, welcoming atmosphere.
  4. Be focussed and know your limits
    In our first year of IGD we tried to put on a really wide range of activities and ended doing them all a bit of a disservice. Focussing on one or two specific areas that you will be able to deliver high quality on is better than trying to do everything all at once. Consider how you will cope if staff are sick, or volunteers arrive late, or if you are forced to change the space being used at the last minute. Aim low and exceed expectations.

All of our events were positively received by the public, especially those aimed at children. A number of those attending asked for us to run more regular games and play activities. As a result of last year’s IGD events, one of our community libraries has started an after-school chess group. At our largest library, we have started a word games and logic puzzles group for adults and are investigating starting a Lego club for children.

Gaming at Bournemouth Library Gaming at Bournemouth Library

The American Go Foundation and Libraries

Posted on July 5, 2016


This year International Games Day is focusing on ways that libraries can play with little to no materials budget. The American Go Foundation offers libraries several ways to introduce the game Go to their library. Go is an ancient two-person strategic board game invented in China millennia ago and is still wildly popular today. This foundation’s Library Programs page offers two ways to get the game Go into your library.

For a donation of $25 for shipping, libraries can introduce patrons to Hikaru No Go. This manga is a coming of age saga about Hikaru Shindo, a sixth-grader in Japan who finds a Go board with an ancient Go master trapped inside. The Hikaru manga set also includes two cardboard playing boards as well as two copies of an instructional game booklet, The Way to Go.

Libraries ready to start a Go program can fill out an application to receive a free Go set that includes 3 reversible vinyl boards, 3 small sets of plastic stones in stackable bowls, 10 copies of The Way to Go booklets, and 4 cardboard 9x9 sets with cardboard stones.

What?! You don’t know anything about Go? The American Go Foundation has you covered there as well. This amazing group offers a free book for organizers, Go As Communication by Yasuda Yasutoshi. This book will guide you in learning about Go, its benefits for all users, and your Go program.

Go visit the American Go Foundation site and see how you can bring this game into your library!


IGD 2016 Registration is open!

Posted on June 17, 2016

Registration for International Games Day 2016 is open!

This year many donations will be managed through this blog. You can subscribe to the blog to receive updates about donations, resources, and information on running a successful event.

You must register to be eligible for donations. Donations are available while supplies last.

Visit the Library Press Kit page for resources to help you promote your event.


Free RPG Day is Saturday, June 18!

Posted on June 13, 2016

Here is a great way to get a new role-playing game (RPG) guide for your library.

Saturday, June 18, 2016 is free RPG Day! This day’s goal is to inspire gamers to play a new RPG by offering new and exclusive RPG quickstart rules and adventure modules. Librarians interested in this day can use the free RPG store locator to find a participating store in their city.  

Visit their website to see a list of the 2016 sponsors.



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