International Games Week October 29 – November 4

International Games Week

Updates: Minecraft Hunger Games and Global Gossip Game

Posted on October 28, 2014

Hi everyone! Here's the latest on the two international inter-library games.

Minecraft Hunger Games

Registrations are open until the end of this week, and AADL will be sending an email out to everyone who has registered when they close. So if you've been waiting to hear more, not long now!

Meanwhile, make sure you add to your list of safe sender domains (gtsystem is the specific username if you have to add whole email addresses), so they don't get caught in the spam filter - and make sure to check your filter if you don't get anything by early next week!

Global Gossip Game

Registrations for this year's GGG are closed.

This year, because of the huge growth in interest (612 libraries indicated interest in playing when they registered for IGD!) and the lack of comparable growth in the volunteer pool (in fact I have been shrinking slightly) I decided to try a more automated approach.

Everybody who indicated an interest in participating during IGD registration was sent an email early last week with a link to a Google Form for their timezone, asking for the information I need to run the game.

Unfortunately, it seems as though a LOT of libraries had this email get caught in their spam filter - although more than enough still replied that I didn't notice until too late. If you indicated a desire to play and never received either email, please do check your spam filter for the 19th, 20th and 21st of October - it's too late to add you at this point, but at least we'll know what happened.

The list of participating libraries is below. Most have given me all the contact details I need - there are a couple with bits and pieces outstanding. Once I have those details, I'll start generating the combined instructions and contact information that each library has customised to them. I'm hoping for the end of this week, but I have a lot on (PAX Australia is in town this weekend, and I'm presenting a panel), so it may be next week. If you want to see the basic instructions for the day before then (i.e. without your specific contact details), you can visit for the basics - there may be some minor tweaks, but in general this will be the deal.

Unfortunately, this year we had fewer African libraries participating, and none that could join us on the day. We also didn't make it to Antarctica - they are happy for us to try again next year, but this year none of the bases could make it work. And while we came oh-so-close to a particularly interesting travelling library, that too has ended up being a "maybe in 2015". So the upshot is that, even though this is the largest GGG ever, with 77 libraries participating, we only ("only") make it to 5 continents this year. I'm still confident it will be an interesting and enjoyable exercise - I just don't want you telling people the wrong thing on the day 🙂

Thanks again to everyone who expressed interest in participating - and whether or not we got you in for this year, have a fun IGD14!

GGG participating libraries

  • Albion District Library
  • American Corner Pristina - National Library of Kosovo
  • American Library, American Center, New Delhi 110001, India
  • Anoka County Library - Rum River
  • Biblioteca Pública, municipal y Popular "General José de San Martín", Miramar (Bs. As.) Argentina
  • Biblioteket i Ekerö centrum
  • BLIK Gribskov Library
  • Bournemouth Library
  • Boylston Public Library
  • Bridgeport Public Library - Newfield Branch
  • Campaspe Regional Library
  • Campbelltown Public Library
  • Career and Technical Education Center
  • Charlotte Mecklenburg Library- ImaginOn
  • City of Darwin Libraries - Karama Library
  • City of Melville Libraries
  • Clearwater Public Library
  • Clinton Public Library
  • Corona Public Library
  • Cumberland County Public Library & Information Center, Cliffdale Regional Branch
  • Cumberland County Public Library & Information Center, North Regional Branch
  • Dayton Metro Library: West Carrollton Branch
  • Eastern Regional Libraries
  • Fitchburg Public Library
  • Flower Mound Public Library
  • Grafton Library
  • Hairston Crossing Library
  • Henderson County Public Library
  • Incline Village Library
  • John Muir Branch, Los Angeles Public Library
  • Johnson County Public Library - Franklin Branch
  • Knjižnica Jelkovec, The Zagreb City Libraries
  • Lancaster Veterans Memorial Library
  • Landa Branch Library
  • Lawrence Public Library
  • Logan Libraries, Logan Central
  • Lois Edwards Memorial Library
  • Longview Public Library
  • Mandurah Library
  • Mark Twain Neighborhood Library
  • Marsden Library
  • Marshall-Lyon County
  • Melbourne Library Service
  • Moscow American Center
  • Nancy Carson Library
  • Northeast Branch, The Seattle Public Library
  • Nottingham City Libraries: Central Library
  • Nunatta Atuagaateqarfia
  • Olds Municipal Library
  • Onondaga County Public Library_Mundy Branch
  • Orange County Public Library
  • Park Forest Branch of the Dallas Public Library
  • Peter G. Holt Memorial Library
  • Placer County Library, Auburn
  • RAF Croughton Base Library
  • Rantou Public Library
  • Sacramento Public Library Valley Hi North Laguna Branch
  • Salisbury Library Service
  • Scenic Regional Library – Union
  • Scenic Regional Library – Owensville Branch
  • South Butler Community Library
  • Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
  • Albert Public Library
  • Stair Public Library
  • Staunton Public Library
  • Tavlay Library
  • The Emmet O'Neal Library
  • The University Library “Svetozar Markovic”
  • University of Delaware Library
  • University of San Jose – Recoletos Main Library
  • Veedersburg Public Library
  • Verdal bibliotek
  • Winlock Timberland Library
  • Woodburn Public Library
  • Yarra Plenty Regional Library


IGD Anecdotes: Outside groups

Posted on October 9, 2014

Feeling overwhelmed by all the exciting possibilities for IGD? Fear not! There are many supporters and gamers that are more than excited to see and help you succeed in hosting this event - or simply join in on the day. Whether it's boy or girl scout troops, teens, or other community members, there are many groups out there who may be interested in helping.

The responses on the post-IGD survey last year offer some great examples of groups both outside and inside the library helping to bring IGD together. Here are just a few of the stories of people coming together from public libraries to help make their events successful and amazing.

Stair Public Library, MI:

I did not have a clue how to play Yu-Gi-Oh! even after looking through the instructions, so I was thrilled when I asked my teen helpers from our high school Volunteer Club if any of them knew how to play. One boy, mildly autistic, did and he was wonderful at teaching kids how to play. It was a great opportunity for him to be useful and important, and for kids to learn something from a teen. He was so kind and respectful of the younger kids and began every game with a handshake... and had them do the same.

Pickaway County Public Library, OH:

I invited local Girl Scout troops to assist me with IGD activities as part of their community service commitment. This was a win-win - the girls got service hours & I got help & participants! The Girl Scouts were a great help attracting additional participants (who would want to be the only one playing a game?); they brought their own games & taught others how to play them; they were gaming buddies with younger players helping them follow the rules; they learned how to play new games and shared that info with others; they brought their parents and siblings to participate; they helped clean up; AND they had fun! One Girl Scout's family ended up getting library cards for Mom & all three children. (Dad already had a card.) This is a new community partnership for us & I hope it grows and the girls will participate next year.

Oldham County Public Library, KY:

We had a gaming group from a local university volunteer for the day as their service project. They brought games and spent the event teaching kids and adults how to play new strategy games. It was a great success, and awesome to see people of all ages learning together.

At my library, the part of IGD I am least prepared for is Minecraft. I personally cannot figure it out. I get the concept, but it does not appeal to me one bit. Fortunately, I have some great teens who love the game and who I plan to have organize the Hunger Games Minecraft in my library. I get to have someone enthusiastic about the game take over, explain the rules, take pride in sharing something they love, and acquire community service hours simultaneously. This will also let me spend my time teaching and playing games I love and want to share.

So ask around! If there are gamers in your library, see if they would like to help bring and teach games. They may even be part of a larger gaming group that would be interested in helping - or just swelling your numbers, which not only helps your attendance figures, but means more games are available to be joined in at any one time. Many groups use Facebook to keep track of gaming events in an area. Try searching for gaming groups in your town, county, or region. Meetup has a list of gaming groups, and the nearbygamers website might also be a good place to start. Gamers love what they do and usually are really happy to share their passion with others.

International events closing soon – register now! (And tell your colleagues!)

Posted on October 2, 2014

Hi everyone!

We're getting very close to the big day - I hope you're all excited about what we're creating together! I like to think of events like this as being a kind of distributed, de-centralised joy network: there's a central organising point that says it's on, but that's only a tiny part of it. The initiative that makes it actually happen comes from each of our individual locations, sponsors, and volunteers; and awareness of that fact, that all around the world over the course of this day thousands of people are working in parallel to share a few hours of happiness with their local community - and then share that sharing with local communities all over the world (would you call that metasharing?) - is for me one of the best things about the day. So thank you for making this happen for all those thousands of other participants! Their experience wouldn't be the same without you.

Anyway, enough philosophizing from me!

The Point: Remember to register!

This is a reminder for those who haven't quite registered yet and are thinking of participating in the international events (the Minecraft Hunger Games and the Global Gossip Game) that you need to register ASAP. Minecraft tournament registrations close soon, and Global Gossip registrations close in mid-October so I can start to generate the gossip chains. (A job that is waaaaaay less cool than it sounds.)

There's still 6 weeks before the big day, which means people still potentially have time to put an event together to join in. What's more, both of these inter-library events are improved the more participants they have, so in addition to registering yourself, please consider spreading the word and encouraging library colleagues in your networks to register too if they haven't already.

(NOTE: These cutoffs only apply to these big inter-library events. You can continue to register for IGD right up to the day before and still potentially be added to the map.)

This goes double for libraries in countries (and regions) where we don't have a lot of registrations already. Don't forget that our press kit not only has a bunch of handy promotional materials for your event itself, it also has some suggested text for you to circulate through your library networks! If you'd like to help grow the day for everyone involved, and especially if you're in Asia, Africa or South America, please do!


What’s afoot, September edition: the last couple of months in games

Posted on September 18, 2014

Hey everyone! Apologies all round for missing this update last month - there was a lot on and I was a little too stretched to cover it all properly. That's still the case, alas, so here are the major headlines from the last couple of months!

Gen Con 2014

Gen Con bills itself as "The Best 4 Days in Gaming", and speaking from personal experience I can attest that it's not a far-fetched claim. Of particular interest to us in library land is that we actually get the best five days in gaming: for the last few years, Gen Con has featured a trade day on the Wednesday before it starts (it normally runs Thursday to Sunday), with streams for retailers, teachers - and librarians. Having attended in 2011 with my partner (a primary teacher) we can vouch for two out of the three! It is an excellent professional development and networking opportunity. Plus you get early entry into the dealers' hall on the following day... and given that Gen Con is the biggest tabletop gaming convention in the US (not the world - that honour goes to Essen Spiel - but with over 55,000 unique attendees, it's pretty big), that's kinda like getting early entry into BookExpo America... if it were twice the size.

Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition

Of particular interest at this year's Gen Con was the official release of the 5th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons. Honed in a massive public playtest over the last couple of years, the new edition is - to my eye, and based on a preliminary skim rather than a deep engagement with the rules - a solid distillation of the core elements of the game as it's manifested over the past 40 years and 4 editions (though fans of each previous edition will not find the more outlying features from that edition; it's very much about finding the unifying thread rather than the best individual elements), with a few nice modern design touches thrown in. It's still basically a swords-and-sorcery adventure generator, of course!

Readers with keen memories may recall the discussion of the licensing shifts around previous editions of D&D in the Paizo sponsor profile. It's not yet entirely clear how the third-party licensing will work for this edition, though the fact that this license isn't yet available is already a departure of sorts from both 3rd and 4th editions (as is the fact that only the Player's Handbook has been released - the other two "Core Rulebooks", the Dungeon Master's Guide and the Monster Manual, come out later this year). However, they have already taken a novel step with the release of a freely reproducible "Basic Rules" document which contains enough rules material to start playing with typical builds of the four best-known classes in the game - fighter, rogue, cleric and wizard. While the material in this PDF is more generic and has fewer customisation options than experienced tabletop roleplayers would like, as an introduction to the basics of the game it works perfectly well. And its price point makes it viable for any library looking for an interesting activity... or, given the potentially endless stories the game enables, an ongoing series of activities.

I'm looking forward to seeing how this edition of the game (and the license for others to contribute to the ruleset) develops!

The ENnie Awards is... hard to describe, actually. It's the kind of sprawling undertaking - part community forum, part semi-official news site and gossip mill, part collective archive - that seems to spring up disproportionately often among gamer circles; the combination of tech-headedness and a proclivity towards user-creation seems to provide particularly fertile terrain for their growth. Since originally starting back in 1999 as an unofficial clearinghouse for news about 3rd edition D&D, it's gone on to become all the above and more: most noticeably a publisher in its own right (with several substantial publications, both in print and electronic, under its belt now), and - from quite early on, starting online in 2001 and hosting at Gen Con since 2002 - the host of the premier awards in the English-speaking tabletop roleplaying game world, the ENnies.

In the table of nominees below (which was lifted from's announcement of nominees), the Silver Award recipient is bolded and the Gold Award recipient is bolded in red - yellow being too hard to read!

Best Adventure

Best Aid/Accessory

Best Art, Interior

Best Art, Cover

Best Blog

Best Cartography

Best Electronic Book

Best Family Game

Best Free Product

Best Game

Best Miniatures Product

Best Monster/Adversary

Best Podcast

Best Production Values

Best RPG Related Product

Best Rules

Best Setting

Best Supplement

Best Software

Best Writing

Best Website

Product of the Year


2014 Judges’ Spotlight Winners

PAX Prime and (vs.?) DragonCon

The other biggest gaming convention in the USA - this time focused on videogaming, though in reality both conventions feature plenty of overlap with each other's focus[1] - PAX Prime took over from E3 when that convention made the fatal decision to shift from being open to a general audience towards a more industry-insider event. This year it also expanded to four days, Friday 29 August - Monday 1 September, making it one of the major contestants for Gen Con's "Best 4 days" title - and also placing it 100% in competition with (fellow contestant for best 4 days) general-geek-culture convention DragonCon, which ran on the exact same dates.

(Crowdfunded MMO-in-beta Shroud of the Avatar - Ultima creator Richard Garriott's latest project - cunningly played up this rivalry by running a PvP test pitting players from the two conventions against each other. Despite being the smaller and nominally less game-focused convention, DragonCon won convincingly, 34 to 14.)

More news to cover, and all three conventions have received plenty of other coverage, so we'll move on.

Microsoft buys Mojang (makers of Minecraft) for $2.5 billion. Yes, with a "b".

You presumably know that Minecraft is kind of a big deal. It's sold upwards of 33 million copies, and occupies a healthy chunk of the planet's attention at any given time.

Even so, $2.5 billion seems like a lot. As a point of reference, Oculus, the folks who are likely to be bringing the world a whole new mode of interacting with technology and imagined worlds (they rekindled the push towards head-mounted virtual reality displays with their Kickstarted Rift device), were bought by Facebook not long ago for $2 billion - i.e. less than Mojang.

It seems a little excessive, especially since it can only be a matter of time before the next craze starts, right...? But, as many commentators before me have pointed out, what Microsoft has bought is not just the game, nor the company that made it (indeed, the founders of Mojang are all leaving), but the userbase. An audience - or, to a corporation, a market - of that size is a significant commodity. (An interesting word to apply to a collection of actual humans...)

Minecraft Hunger Games

Before anyone asks - we have no indication that this will have any effect on our plans for the Minecraft Hunger Games. Naturally, if there is any sign of anything changing, we will let you know! But barring the unforeseen, those of you who expressed a desire to participate should be hearing from the good folks at Ann Arbor District Library shortly - and those who have not yet registered should do so pronto - it's not too late until we tell you it is!

Special Guest Post: Scott Mason, Perton Library, South Staffordshire, UK

Posted on August 18, 2014

Hi folks! Today we're holding off on our monthly Game News post a little. This last weekend was Gen Con, the biggest tabletop gaming convention in the US, so we're aiming to provide some coverage from folks who attended - once they've had a chance to get settled back in! (If you made it, we'd love to throw your perspective into the mix - be in touch!) Meanwhile, here's a guest post from a very energetic young chap from the UK talking about how - in true gamer fashion - he overcame obstacles and solved problems to hold a highly successful International Games Day in the UK before the day even was officially International. Take it away, Scott!


My name’s Scott Mason and I’ll be your guest writer today, talking about how I’ve been spending the last few years helping to bring IGD@yl to the UK ^_^. I’m 25, live in South Staffordshire, England and I work for Staffordshire Libraries, currently as the Supervisor for Perton Library (but I’ve been here in one job or another going on 7 years now!).

Gaming has always been a big part of my childhood and something that has grown with me to become a real passion of mine. A lot of people always give me strange looks when I describe ‘games’ that way, but to me, it’s just another medium the same as books, film, music or art and when it’s perfectly acceptable to love each of those as much as people do, I hold no shame in my love for games.

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