Come, Let Us Game Together

You should have heard before now that you can register for National Gaming Day 2010 which will take place on Saturday, November 13. If you have not signed up yet, do it now! North Star Games originally offered to donate a copy of Wits & Wagers Family to the first 1,000 U.S. libraries that registered, and those were snapped up in less than a month. North Star Games has generously expanded on this offer, upping the number to 1500 free games. Get a move on before these are gone as well!

WW Family 300x300 Come, Let Us Game Together

I got my hands on a copy of Wits & Wagers Family, and it looks like a better fit for libraries than the original. Gone are the betting chips and the green baize board that look a bit too reminiscent of a craps table for maximum levels of comfort. Any library can use this edition without concern for misunderstanding arising from superficial appearances.

The questions are updated and many touch on current topics of interest to readers and library-users. I happened to pull one right off that asked how old Dumbledore was in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince; another asks how many books are C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia. Do you know what year Twilight was published? I think it’s nice, too, that each answer (which is always a number) gets an added dollop of information to fill out the context: Dumbledore was born in the summer of 1881. And for the reference librarians among us, you’ll find a general citation of where the information came from. You might have to dig a little to ferret out the actual factoid in question, but you know how to do that, surely?

While National Gaming Day is focused on libraries (of all kinds) in the US, if your library is in the Atlantic provinces of Canada, you have your own regional event coming up even before NGD: Games@theLibrary 2010. According to thr website, the Atlantic Provinces Library Association is one of the oldest library organizations in North American and, for the geographically-challenged, they serve the provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland. Rather than limit the event to a single day, the APLA is promoting the week of October 18-24 as Games@theLibrary Week, asking libraries to hold a game-themed event at any time during that week.

The site offers ideas of games to run, tips on planning the event, and a nice link to the ALA Gaming Toolkit as well. I’m impressed that, last year, their libraries reached beyond The Usual Suspects ‚ RockBand, DDR, and the Wii are absolutely wonderful but there are lots of other possibilities too! A library-themed mini-golf? A board game I’m unfamiliar with, noted as the “traditional Canadian game of Crokinole”? I think that is inspiring and responsive to the local community, and hope some of you might put on your thinking caps to get extra-creative this year, whether for NGD or Games@theLibrary.

I hope to hear great stories about both these events when they come around. Sign up, plan a great event, and have fun! Until then, game on.

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Liz Danforth About Liz Danforth

Liz Danforth, MLS, is a freelance game illustrator, scenario designer, and game developer who was inducted into the Academy of Gaming Arts and Design's Hall of Fame in in 1996. She has 18 years experience as a part-time paralibrarian in Phoenix and Tucson and is one of about a dozen "gaming experts" working with the American Library Association on a million-dollar grant-funded project to study the use of gaming to improve literacy skills and to develop a model "toolbox" for gaming in libraries. Through Danforth Design & Development (D3), she also works as an artist, a writer, and a library consultant. Follow her on Twitter @LizDanforth.

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