Breakout EDU, a platform for immersive learning games, is donating a Breakout EDU Kit for two libraries in the United States.
What is a breakout? A breakout is a themed puzzle activity. The goal is for a team of participants to solve clues and puzzles to open all of the locks on a final box to discover what’s inside. Much like a regular escape room, breakouts offer a great way to teach critical thinking, teamwork, and complex problem solving. Breakouts are being used to teach core academic subjects in a real world environment.
How does it work? The box and everything needed to solve its locks are set out on a table. Participants are led by a facilitator who introduces the game, explains the rules, and guides the participants if they are stumped. They are then set free to try to solve the Breakout before time runs out.
The Breakout EDU site includes access to a plethora of games suitable for all ages.
The Breakout EDU website gets you started on this adventure and the Breakout EDU Facebook group helps keep you organized and up to date on how Breakouts are being used in libraries and classrooms all over the world. This forum offers a space for members to connect and collaborate. It offers excellent advice on the best materials and ways to keep them organized and working efficiently for your events.
Breakout EDU is a great way to bring immersive learning to your gaming events. International Games Day is excited to have them sponsor this year!
Register here to enter the drawing for one of the two Breakout kits. You must be registered for International Games Day and located in the United States to be eligible for this free donation. Registration for the drawing will close on September 30th and winners will be emailed by October 14th.
THE NOT-SO-CHEAP CHEAPASS GAMES IGD PACK
Make your International Games Day a success by playing hilarious games with as little “nose time”—time spent with your nose in a rule book—as possible. Cheapass Games is excited to offer ten libraries a Not-So-Cheap IGD Pack including nearly their entire catalog. Titles in the Not-So-Cheap Pack include:
- KILL DOCTOR LUCKY, a tasteful family game of murder in the dark with weapons such as tight hats and frozen fish. Creep through Doctor Lucky’s mansion, wait until no one can see you, and take a whack at him. If at first you don’t succeed, don’t worry; failed murder attempts make you stronger for your next encounter with the good Doctor.
- GIVE ME THE BRAIN and LORD OF THE FRIES, featuring the antics of zombies working food service jobs at Friedey’s: Fast Food of the Damned. In Give Me the Brain, you must empty your hand of chores to win. Some of your chores only require hands, but some require the brain—and there’s only one to go around. In Lord of the Fries, you and your fellow zombies are cooks, doing your best to fill customers’ orders. That’s right—as strange as it sounds, the dead can still assemble combo meals.
- STUFF AND NONSENSE, a game of cleverly spun stories about fictional escapades to the world’s most exotic locales. Move around the city of London, collecting anecdotes, artifacts, specimens, and more. Return to the Adventurer’s Club with your “evidence” and a completely false account of your explorations. Watch out, though—Professor Elemental was the first to think of this, and he’s not at all impressed.
- GET LUCKY, you and your associates are treacherous villains, each secretly bent on killing a despicable old man. But he’s not called “Doctor Lucky” for nothing;
- "BEFORE I KILL YOU, MISTER SPY...", a game where you find out what kind of super-villain you’d make;
- DEADFALL, a gambling / bluffing game;
- BRAWL, a fighting card game where the object is to play the most “Hits” on your side of the table before the game ends;
- FALLING, a game where everyone is falling. And fighting. The object is to hit the ground last;
- PAIRS, a “New Classic Pub Game”;
- DEADWOOD STUDIOS, USA, a deluxe board game about making cowboy movies;
- UNEXPLODED COW, a fast-paced card game about mad cows searching for unexploded bombs.
Register here to enter the drawing for one of the Cheapass Games Pack. You must be registered for International Games Day and located in the United States to be eligible for this free game donation. Registration for the drawing will close on September 20th and winners will be announced soon after.
Available to all libraries is our catalog of dozens of free print-and-play games (http://cheapass.com/free-games/). Don’t let their lack of a cost fool you; these games are ticking time bombs of game design quality. You can even find free versions of many of our retail games. We recommend reading over the rules and printing your games early so you can contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any questions.
Thanks for making Cheapass Games part of your International Games Day!
Matt Willbergh is the branch manager of the Pt. Pleasant Beach Branch of the Ocean County Library, located in Pt. Pleasant Beach, NJ. He and his family have been subjecting everyone they know to the joy of hobby gaming for the past few years.
Here at the Ocean County Library on the east coast of New Jersey, we hold an annual Staff Development Day. This day involves seminars and workshops for OCL staff, provided by both staff members and outside groups. I recognized an opportunity to spread my love of board gaming by showing others how board games can be used to build relationships, even in the workplace. I, along with 4 colleagues, put together a workshop for the staff called “Co-Op Board Games as Team Builders.” Co-operative board games have been around for decades, but I have found that most people are not familiar with the genre. They are perfect to use as team builders, due to the fact that they get people to work together, communicate, share skills, and, most importantly, have fun. I wanted to share our process of creating this workshop, as it is easily reproducible and a great way to introduce others to the excellent games that are being played these days.
To start, we put together a list of co-op games we were each familiar with. Since we were going to be teaching the games to newcomers, it was important that we knew the rules. We intended to limit the workshop to no more than 25 people, so we looked closely at the number of players each game would accommodate. However, we did not have firm control over the number of attendees, so we allowed for flexibility by including a “party” game”, which could accommodate up to 12 people. We also came prepared with duplicates, thinking that if the need arose, a few of us could run two copies of a game.
We also considered the amount of time each game required to play. Most board games come with an icon on the box showing the estimated game length. We tacked on 15 minutes to the estimated game lengths, in order to accommodate game instruction. With just over an hour for our workshop, we chose games with box lengths of about 45 minutes to an hour (give or take).
After taking into account all of the above factors, we settled on the five following games:
- Forbidden Island (2-4 players; box time: 30 minutes)
- Forbidden Desert (2-4 players; box time: 45 minutes)
- Concept (party game with up to 12; box time 40 minutes)
- Castle Panic (2-6 players; box time: 60 minutes)
- Pandemic (2-4 players; box time: 30-90 minutes)
On the day of the workshop, we set the games up well before our start time. As attendees arrived, we allowed them to choose the games they wanted to play, with most selecting a game at random. We talked for a few minutes about co-op games, how they can be utilized at staff meetings or as ice breakers at teen volunteer events, and how they compel people to work together to achieve a common goal. We then explained the rules to each table and the games began.
I was running Castle Panic with a group of staff members from different branches; they did not know each other well. I guided them in the beginning, answering questions and providing basic strategic assistance. But as they learned the game, I was less involved. I stood back and watched them as they talked through each turn, discussing strategies, exchanging cards, and building a story together. There were tense moments as walls were breached and castle towers were destroyed, but in the end, they came together and saved the day.
Throughout the duration of the workshop, it was very obvious that each group was creating their own stories, and having fun doing it; the room was filled with cheers, laughter, and an occasional groan. In the end, some tables won their games, others lost, but it was obvious that everyone had a great time. Afterword’s, I overheard the group that had lost their game of Forbidden Island exclaim “we were so close! Let’s come back and play this at lunch time.” I could not have been happier.
Overwatch is the newest game released by Blizzard Entertainment, developer of World of Warcraft, Starcraft, and Hearthstone. Overwatch is a team first-person shooter in which heroes band together to restore peace in the midst of rising conflict in the world.
This overwhelmingly popular game just reached over 15 million players worldwide. Overwatch is available to play on XBOX One, PlayStation 4, and on PC. If your library offers console games, it is simple enough to purchase a copy or two for XBOX One or PlayStation 4, but why not support gaming in your library? Does your library have computers? Do they meet the minimum system requirements to play Overwatch?
Users who purchase the digital rights to playing Overwatch can play anywhere they can access the internet on a computer as long as it meets the minimum specification requirements. If your library's computers can run this popular game, Overwatch is a great talking point that will bring people in to play!
Dalene Schrier is the Technology Specialist at Bentonville Public Library in Bentonville, Arkansas. She enjoys tabletop gaming and is an all-around geek.
Passion, dedication, and persistence are three characteristics anyone who plans library programming possesses. To produce a program with little to no budget, one needs those qualities and more. In the case of TableToppers, I have passion, dedication, and persistence in spades.
Spring 2014: Inspired by Wil Wheaton and my love of tabletop gaming, I approached my supervisors at Bentonville Public Library (BPL) about starting a tabletop gaming group. To my surprise, they agreed albeit with a caveat: I had to get everything donated. There was no extra budget for games. Luckily I like a challenge! After thinking about the best way to get games donated, I immediately began researching game publishers. Why not go directly to the source? With the assistance of the library’s wordsmith, we prepared a letter that was sure to get game donations. While some publishers did post their address online, some had online request forms. Using the same text from the letters we had multiple avenues for requesting support.
Local game stores in Northwest Arkansas showed enthusiasm about a library gaming group but were unable to donate materials to the program. Their support came in the form of promotion, which was needed and appreciated.
I began looking for other libraries that had tabletop gaming programs. To my surprise, I didn’t find many. I spoke with a couple of libraries that had active programs. Compared to those libraries, I was at a disadvantage with no budget. But I wasn’t going to give up.
A couple of weeks after the first round of letters, I received a response, not just from Rio Grande Games, a major game publisher, but the founder of the company! He was going to send me a package of demo games for our collection! I couldn’t believe it! Soon, more boxes arrived with more games. At this point, the only money spent was on paper, envelopes, and postage.
Fast forward to September. The room had been configured for optimal gaming space, the games were available for participants, and I was ready to play games! Of course, I was nervous. Who wouldn’t be? In the end, there was no reason to worry. Eight patrons came to play games! This was a brand new program, featuring unheard of games, targeting adults with a niche hobby, so eight participants was a great start! TableToppers was a program with room to grow. And grow it did!
By the end of December, it was obvious TableToppers was a successful and sustainable program. We had multiple patrons suggest we change from a bi-weekly meeting to weekly as it would be more frequent and offer more opportunities to play games. The patrons spoke and I listened! Starting January 2015, TableToppers began meeting every Monday evening starting at 5 p.m.
TableToppers was going great! We received more donations of games and our weekly meetings had a steady crowd with an average of six participants. Around March 2015, after several patron suggestions, we decided to add Wednesdays to the schedule. At this point, TableToppers was a self-managing program with limited staff involvement. Still, BPL had not spent any money on TableToppers.
Around the same time, we decided to add Wednesdays to the schedule, I came across International Tabletop Day presented by Geek & Sundry, a geek collective. Founded in 2012, Tabletop Day is a celebration of all things tabletop gaming. With little time to spare, we planned to stream the event in California, hold open game play, and offer door prizes. Surprisingly, we had 24 total participants! Tabletop Day was a successful event supported entirely by donations, including door prizes.
With the relative success of Tabletop Day, I searched for other game days and found International Games Day @ your library, an American Library Association initiative that escaped my initial searches. When I saw that there was an event sponsored by ALA just for gaming, I was excited! I immediately started planning my events. Games Day was going to be bigger and better than Tabletop Day. I was on a mission and my goal was clear: bring together the gaming community and the library.
While planning the Games Day event, I was contacted by the founder of GlitchCon, a local geek and anime convention, about having the Library’s game collection in the game room. This was the perfect opportunity to reach a large group of regular gamers. We took our game collection and used the opportunity to promote our graphic novel collections. We also partnered with a local charity gaming event, Game It Forward Northwest Arkansas, to provide our game library for their inaugural event. Both events created great community connections.
November arrived too soon. Gear Gaming Store of Fayetteville partnered with us. They sponsored a Smash Up! tournament and donated door prizes and games. Lunch was provided by Marco’s Pizza. We scheduled gaming events and open game play for all ages. Having a designated area for family games was a big hit! With the limited success of International Tabletop Day, an unexpected 150+ participants played games until the very end. International Games Day @ your library was here to stay! All BPL had to purchase were cups and beverages for this event.
In two years, BPL has spent less than $100 total on TableToppers. All games in our collection, giveaways, and other related items have been donated to BPL with the exception of playing cards, a pound o’ dice, and bags for game components. Currently, BPL has more than 125 games in its collection and is valued at nearly $4,000. Bentonville Public Library has received great patron feedback and positive media attention.
It doesn’t matter if you have an endless budget or just a few dollars. If you are determined to put on a program, you can and will find a way. Chances are there is someone just as passionate as you! Your patrons will appreciate the effort, and your library will benefit from you thinking outside the box.
Dalene Schrier, Technology Specialist
Bentonville Public Library – Bentonville, Arkansas