International Games Week October 29 – November 4

International Games Week

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.

IGD Anecdotes: Intergenerational connections and meeting new people

Posted on September 29, 2014

As you forge ahead with your IGD plans, you may be focusing on certain age groups: kids, teens, twentysomethings, or beyond! Your target group may shape what type of games you introduce – but fear not should you encounter a mixed combination of groups. Be spontaneous and flexible with adjustments because you’ll never know who will show up until the day arrives. You may soon realize that the level of a game could have broad appeal regardless of one’s age.

People of all ages can play a good tabletop game together, or even a video game. From past IGD events, various libraries have observed people of all ages teaching and playing games together. For instance, in one public library:

[A] tween came wanting to learn Magic: the Gathering and brought her first deck. A group of college guys mentored her in the game, giving her tips and strategies. She left much more confident in her gaming skills, and very excited to teach her friends. 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.

(As a side note, this story exemplifies the value of having teachers on-site to make games an opportunity to learn and critically assess both one’s play of a game and the structures of the game itself. Games such as Magic teach us how to think strategically, and it’s always helpful to get that reinforcement which builds confidence.)

At a library in Vermont there was a large group of teens that came to a game day; as the day progressed more adults joined, and the teens invited them to play a number of games. At one game of Forbidden Island, a cooperative game where players try and beat the island, a teen, a twentysomething, and two people in their fifties and sixties played together. The island won in the end but everyone involved had to work together to form a strategy and problem-solve. This kind of intergenerational interaction can be difficult to get with other programs.

At the UCLA Library, most attendees at the last two IGD events at the undergraduate library were college students. However, librarians and library staff also attended, bringing their children to learn and play games like Settlers of Catan. An 8-year-old boy taught a library staff member how to play Settlers. A group of young teenage volunteers taught another librarian how to play the Yu-Gi-Oh! card game. Games are suitable for a wide range of age groups, and guess what? They do not discriminate!

Consider IGD at your library to attract a diversity of age groups to learn and play together!


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.

What’s afoot: News from the world of games

Posted on May 19, 2014

Hi folks! Our third-Monday-of-the-month series is going to be news from the world of games. We're still getting everything up and running, and the tabletop games business is quiet at the moment as it's gearing up for convention season, so this month's entry will be a bit short. But still hopefully of interest!

General upcomings

There have been a few interesting announcements about upcoming releases in games - some of which are not so new, but perhaps newsworthy to library folks.

Trading card game Magic: the Gathering has just announced its next big September expansion is going to be called Khans of Tarkir. Rumours are that dragons will play a significant role in the fictional world of the game - one to keep an eye on if you have patrons who like dragons. They also have a new multiplayer set called Conspiracy coming out shortly featuring intriguing [pardon the pun] multiplayer mechanics.

Speaking of TCGs, our sponsors Konami (thanks again!) have just released the latest set for their card game Yu-Gi-Oh! The set is called Primal Origin and is the final set in the 8th series of the cards.

The 5th edition of iconic tabletop roleplaying game Dungeons & Dragons,  which has been playtested extensively under the working title D&D Next, is slated for release this August at Gen Con and generally on August 17. It could be worth thinking about as a school holiday program - pick up the rulebooks and run a few games, then point the players at a display of the tie-in fiction.

In a surprising turnaround, Microsoft have announced that they will be selling their XBox One console in a new Kinectless bundle. This is noteworthy because they have stuck to their guns about requiring the Kinect motion sensor/camera, to the point of costing US$50 more than rival console the PlayStation 4, despite both considerable market friction on the higher price and consumer resistance to the idea of a compulsory infra-red camera attached to the TV (and, usually, an internet connection). The announcement means they'll now be selling the console for the same price as the PS4 (or, so reports say, $50 less here in Australia) - and also does away with technical and privacy issues that might have made it harder for libraries to include the consoles in their facilities.

Interesting reads/views

From the Department of Ingenious Absurdity: Mario in a box - - Possibly useful as an inspirational tool for a robotics (or game design) session at your library?

From the Department of Archaeotechnology: The Atari landfill excavation - - A story about the proof an urban legend turning out to be true (pretty much). There have been stories about an early ET tie-in game being so bad that Atari buried copies of it in landfill circulating for years - certainly the game was pretty bad! Personally I thought the story was worth it just for the mention of "Atari truthers" at the end.

From the Department of Good Fun: Games for Good video update - - Games for Good is an initiative of games consultant and writer James Portnow (Extra Credits) that was funded via crowdfunding site RocketHub last year, to highlight the many positive contributions that games make, and to enable and encourage gamers and game-makers to collaborate with other folks doing good in the world. In this video (recorded during a livestreamed update to backers) Portnow talks about what he and collaborator Soraya Een Hajji have been up to - and it's pretty impressive! The update is followed by a lengthy Q&A, which might be a little more skippable to a less invested audience; but as an introduction to the kinds of inroads games are making into the wider culture - and their ambitions to do good things along the way, which notably for libraries prominently includes standing up for Net Neutrality - it's not a bad place to start.

That's it for now! If there's anything else you'd like us to add, please feel free to be in touch!

Special Guest Post: Yu-Gi-Oh in the library – Lisa Brien, Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library

Posted on September 30, 2013

Another special guest post, this time from Lisa Brien of the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library, talking about the value her community gets from the regular Yu-Gi-Oh! tournaments the library runs. One point I neglected to mention in the general post on rules-play games was the way in which CCGs excel at fostering metagame discussion as cards are compared for their merits, strategies discussed, and trades made (as Lisa shows us below, trading is a key part of collectible card games, and in fact an alternative acronym for "CCG" is "TCG", Trading Card Game). In my defense I can only say that there are so many interesting aspects of games to mention that I am bound to miss some... anyway, thanks for the post, Lisa, and over to you!


There is no game in Topeka that is more intensely played than the bi-monthly Yu-Gi-Oh! tournaments held at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library. Teens from all over the county gather to pit their decks and skills against each other.  As they wait for the doors to open to our teen room, The Edge, they pace the halls outside as they check and double check their decks in preparation.


Our library has hosted Yu-Gi-Oh! tournaments continuously since the card game was first released nearly 11 years ago.  Many of our young patrons come to the library after school to meet up with fellow players and practice their dueling skills, but the tournament marks the highlight of the month.


Throughout the years we have tested many forms of game play, from multiplayer casual play, to traditional one-on-one dueling.  However, for our official tournaments we use advanced play, which involves banning certain cards that are deemed to be too advantageous.  Thankfully, we have a volunteer Yu-Gi-Oh! expert who has competed at a national level to help run these tournaments.


After the brackets have been played, and the winners have exercised their bragging rights, the top players are given an unopened pack of cards.  These are highly prized as they always have the potential to reveal a rare, powerful card. Then the trading begins! This negotiation for cards is nearly as intensely anticipated as the game itself.

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