GameRT (Games and Gaming Round Table) RoundTable
Hello from GenCon, where about 60,000 dedicated fans of (mainly) tabletop gaming have gathered in Indianapolis, IN for four days of gaming bliss. My GenCon actually began a day early with Trade Day, a series of workshops for retailers as well as educators and librarians. Librarians were well represented this year, with great presentations from Orion Township (MI) Public Library and librarians from the Indianapolis Public Library. They talked about setting up game programs and working with school libraries to support common gaming projects. I presented on trade day as well about my Teaching Through Games series of books and the work that Brian Mayer (Vice-President of the GameRT) and I are doing on Play Play Learn. You can see my slides and handouts at playplaylearn.com/gencon.
The other big part of Trade Day is an evening showcase where publishers demonstrate their new games. A great way to see what is coming in a smaller venue with a chance to ask more questions than on the floor. There were a number of great games I played that evening, but a standout for libraries was Medieval Academy (IELLO Games). This game is fascinating and a bit unique in that it makes use of six double sided boards that can be flipped from an easy side to an advanced side to modify the level of difficulty. This means a library can purchase one game, learn to teach one game, and have many different levels of game support in a single box. A great way to differentiate on the fly to support different levels of players.
Another hot pickup from the floor is Codenames (Czech Games Edition). In this game, players are trying to clue in their teammates to the identity of secret agents using carefully selected, single word hints as to the codenames of the agents along with the number of agents the player thinks his team will identify from the clue. Be careful, though, selection of an innocent bystander card or an agent from the opposite team ends your turn. Even worse, each round has a single assassin card that will result in an immediate loss if selected. Great twist to a hint-based word game.
Sticking with word games, another very interesting find was SHH (Perplext). This micro-sized game – think a pack of stick gum sized – is part of the publisher's new Pack-o-Game series. These quick-to-learn and quick-to-play games use different mechanisms ranging from pick up and deliver to auction to dexterity. SHH is a cooperative word game where the players are working together, silently, to develop words that use every letter of the alphabet. Vowels are placed in the center of the table, and the players take turns playing out either a consonant from their hands or a vowel from the middle. If a word is formed and no new letters can be added by the active player, she or he indicates concession with a thumbs up. But remember...no talking! Lots of fun in a very small package though I hope there might be a larger release for more general use in schools and libraries.
Now I must steel myself for another foray onto the floor; things are a bit louder and more chaotic than the ALA floor. More updates and games to come. If you have anything you want me to check out and report back about, please drop a comment here or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hello GameRT members,
As ALA Annual 2015 wraps up and my term as President of the GameRT begins I wanted to send out a quick introduction to everyone along with a promise of future communications.
First, I want to be sure that we all pause to recognize the incredible efforts of Diane Robson in her three-year tenure as President of the RT. Diane remained dedicated through a comedy of circumstances that placed her into a triple term of leadership. I am incredibly grateful that even though some rest would be well-deserved and fully understood, Diane is continuing to work on IGD and other programs for the RT. Leaders like Diane who give selflessly of their time and energy are the only way that membership organizations like ALA can thrive. At the board meeting, we recognized her for her work and gave her an entirely inadequate gift of some very nice candles. I wanted to share this with the larger RT in the hopes that you would join me in thanking Diane for everything she has done and continues to do for all of us!
A little bit about me: I am the Director of the School Library System for the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership, an educational services agency (BOCES) in Western New York between Rochester and Buffalo. We serve the school libraries of 22 small, rural school districts with a total student population of about 20,000. Working alongside my amazing colleague (and the new VP of the GameRT) Brian Mayer, we have coordinated a game library for the Genesee Valley SLS since about 2007. More recently I have started an external venture, Play Play Learn, to help spread the good word about board games in libraries and classrooms. To help share the successes we have seen, I also wrote a series of books on Teaching Through Games published earlier this year by Rosen Publishing.
Over the next couple weeks, I will be gathering reports from the various committees and programs of the RT to share out with members via an upcoming newsletter. GameRT had an amazing conference, and there is a great deal for us to celebrate! ALAPlay was huge, especially the new UnPub (un-published games brought in by designers/authors to share and gain feedback) organized by Brian. The booth, along with our two guest publishers, was a hopping place daily and the gaming lounge tables were consistently busy. Programming was a huge hit as well...stay tuned for executive summaries and handouts.
This upcoming newsletter will be the first of a quarterly publication from GameRT to help you, the members, stay up on new programs, resources, and ideas around gaming in libraries. If you have a library program, favorite game, best practice recommendation, or anything else you want to share in the newsletter, please let me know (email@example.com). I am happy to help with editing. The current plan is to publish a newsletter following Annual and Midwinter as well as two smaller update issues in between the conferences to maintain communication.
Thank you for your membership, and whatever level of volunteer support you are able to contribute to the success of this RT. Our membership numbers continue to grow – even as some other RTs decline. Please do let me know what I can do in my year of member-leadership to help meet your needs and advance the mission of the RT.
Beyond the Game Night: The Library as a Hub of Campus Community and Collaboration by Shannon L. Farrell, Amy E. Neeser, and Carolyn Bishoff
Models for gaming services in academic libraries focus on two areas: collections and undergraduate events. These models fell short when applied to our environment so we adapted our approach to reflect the needs of our campus community.
The University of Minnesota Libraries launched a grassroots forum for staff interested in video games that hosted three events and attempted to kickstart a small lending collection. These efforts resulted in spectacular failure, and helped us develop new programming that positioned the Libraries as a hub for gaming communities throughout campus. We are building connections between students, researchers, and the public, and will discuss the following programs:
* Co-hosting “Co-Op Talk,” a monthly student discussion group
* Partnering with a STEM student group on an Oculus Rift sandbox event
* Hosting a gaming research showcase for faculty, staff, and students
* Co-sponsoring a “Games, Gender and Identity” event with the UMN Institute for Advanced Study
* Creating an interactive gaming installation for a city-wide art festival
Our outreach has led to valuable partnerships across campus and increased awareness of the value of games and gaming. We suspect our experiences are not unique, and want to add these insights to the existing conversation on gaming in libraries.
There are some fantastic game related events planned for annual in San Fran this year. I have attached a flyer with many of the events. The GameRT has a booth again this year (BOOTH 207), with Fantasy Flight Games and Academy Games as our booth guests. Plus, we have the Gaming Lounge this year, where we will have open gaming, demo events and a sharing session from librarians doing great gaming programs.
Not everything related made it to the sheet. I will be running two sessions of a giant 8 foot version of my game: Freedom: The Underground Railroad
Chris Harris will be doing a talk on the Gaming and Graphics Novel Stage on his book series Teaching through Games from Rosen Publishing:
Lastly, Game and Learn RT's will be doing a joint session on gaming and training:
Thanks and I hope to see a lot of you there!
Green Bay’s Board-Game Obsession: Competitive Juices Fuel Lengthy Rounds of ‘Settlers of Catan’ Among Packers’ Playersby Jenny Levine (staff) on Fri, Jan 16, 2015 at 12:00 pm
Marketing help for games and gaming!
Anyone else know celebrities (besides Wil Wheaton and Felicia Day) who are big gamers?
"'When the average person sees the Packers doing it, it becomes a safe thing. That it's not the kids in mom's basement anymore,' Fuge said.
The Packers' embrace of the game become such a phenomenon that the store put a sign up that said 'Be cool like Justin Perillo, play Catan!'"
Another big announcement for ALA Annual. The GameRT will be hosting a Gaming Lounge at ALA Annual in San Francisco. This will be a large 20x20 space on the exhibit floor that will be open to attendees all conference long while the exhibit floor is open. The space will feature open gaming, scheduled demo games from game publishers attending annual and sharing time from librarians exploring and using games in their library spaces.
Currently we will have scheduled gaming demos from:
- Fantasy Flight Games
- Academy Games
- Paizo Publishing
We will also have open game play available during the exhibit floor hours. Stop in and play games from the huge library of games in the GameRT's collection of games.
Lastly, Saturday and Sunday for one hour each day, we will have sharing times in which librarians can sign up to present and share with conference attendees their experience and expertise using games and play in their library spaces. This can be in any format desired (poster, tech, hands on... etc).
We are very excited for this space. It presents an opportunity to create a hands-on interactive space for conference attendees to explore game resources, interact with publishers and learn from great gaming programs.
If you are interested in being a part of the Gaming Lounge, either as a helper manning the space (checking out games and being a game shepherd) or if you would like to present during one of the two sharing slots, please get in touch with me.