GAMERT (Gaming) Round Table

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The mission of the Games and Gaming Round Table is to provide the following:
  • A forum for the exchange of ideas and concerns surrounding games in libraries;
  • Resources to the library community to support the building and maintaining of library game collections;
  • A force for initiating and supporting game programming in libraries;
  • Create an awareness of, and need for, the support of the value of gaming and play in libraries, schools, and related learning communities.
  • Create an awareness of the value of games and gaming in library outreach and community engagement plans.
  • A professional and social forum for networking among librarians and non-librarians interested in games and gaming.
  • 1.  Starting a new board game collection in an academic library

    Posted Sep 24, 2022 01:57 PM
    Hi all,

    I'm looking for suggestions on which board games to start an academic library's board game collection with.

    The collections librarian at my institution, Trent University (Ontario, Canada), is looking at starting a board game collection at both campuses. Trent University has approximately 12,000 students split between two campuses (one campus has 10,000 students and the other campus 2,000).

    Also, if anyone has best practices on how to maintain the board games in a library collection or other resources that should be looked at prior to starting a board game collection, that would be greatly appreciated.

    Many thanks,

    Vickie Albrecht
    Manager, Durham Campus Library & Learning Centre
    Trent University

  • 2.  RE: Starting a new board game collection in an academic library

    Posted Sep 26, 2022 09:20 AM
    Hello Vickie!

    Our university is just starting a Game Collection and we plan to ask faculty what games they might find to be useful teaching and/or research tools to help us populate it.  In addition, these are some games that I've looked into that might be of interest:
    1. Potential Games of Interest 
      1. Color Clash 
        1. Cost$14.99 
        2. PublisherOrange Blue 
        3. Pedagogical UsesPsychology – Stroop Effect 
      2. Q-Bitz 
        1. Cost$24.99 
        2. PublisherMindware 
        3. Pedagogical UsesPsychology, Visual Dexterity, Pattern Matching 
      3. Mosaic Mysteries Pattern Puzzle 
        1. Cost$39.99 
        2. PublisherDiscovery Toys 
        3. Pedagogical Uses 
          1. Mathematics – Tessellation 
          2. Psychology - Spatial Reasoning 
      4. Organ Attack 
        1. Cost$49.96 
        2. PublisherThe Awkward Yeti 
      5. Photosynthesis 
        1. Cost$34.99 
        2. PublisherBlue Orange 
      6. Planet 
        1. Cost$34.99 
        2. PublisherBlue Orange 
      7. Chemistry Fluxx 
        1. Cost$16.00 
        2. PublisherLooney Labs 
      8. Cytosis 
        1. Cost39.99 
        2. PublisherGenius Games 
        3. Pedagogical UsesBiology, Cell Biology 
      9. Starsmith 
        1. Cost$34.95 
        2. PublisherCatlilli Games 
      10. Evolution 
        1. Cost$44.99 
        2. PublisherNorthStar Games 
        3. Pedagogical UsesBiology, Evolutionary Biology 
      11. Timeline Classic 
        1. Cost$13.99 
        2. PublisherZygomatic Games
      12. Code Master 
        1. Cost$22.99 
        2. PublisherThinkfun Games 
        3. Pedagogical UsesCoding Logic Game, Mathematics Education and IT Education 
      13. Potato Pirates 
        1. Cost$19.99 
        2. PublisherThinkfun Games 
        3. Pedagogical UsesCoding Logic Game, Mathematics Education and IT Education 
      14. Tacto 
        1. Cost$29.99 
        2. PublisherCatlilli Games 
      15. Math Dice 
        1. Cost$6.99 
        2. PublisherThinkfun Games 
        3. Pedagogical UsesMathematics Education 
      16. I Sea 10 
        1. Cost$9.99 
        2. PublisherLearning Resources 
      17. Prime Climb 
        1. Cost$35.00 
        2. PublisherMath for Love 
      18. Turing Tumble 
        1. Cost - $69.95 
        2. Publisher  - Upper Story 
      19. Go 
    2. Sources of Additional Potential Games of Interest 
      1. Genius Games 
      2. Gameschool Academy 
      3. Thinkfun Games 
      4. Zygomatic Games 
      5. NorthStar Games 
      6. Blue Orange 
      7. MindWare 
      8. Calilli Games 
      9. Looney Labs 

    Also, for maintaining board and card games in a circulating collection I highly recommend this article:

    Robson, Phillips, J., & Guerrero, S. (2018). Don't just roll the dice: Simple solutions for circulating tabletop game collections effectively in your library. Library Resources & Technical Services62(2), 80–90.

    Joshua Newport
    Math and Science Librarian
    Illinois State University

  • 3.  RE: Starting a new board game collection in an academic library

    Posted Sep 26, 2022 05:14 PM
    Hi Joshua,

    Thanks for sharing your list with me. I've heard of a lot of those games and have played a few of them as well. I'll also check out some of the publishers you've mentioned.

    Vickie Albrecht
    Manager, Durham Campus Library & Learning Centre
    Trent University

  • 4.  RE: Starting a new board game collection in an academic library

    Posted Sep 26, 2022 12:11 PM
      |   view attached
    Hi Vickie,

    We stated a collection at my library about 5 or so years ago. As part of the process we took a look at other libraries' policies. I've attached a PDF of the collections that we looked at.

    For our collection, we ended up leaving our collection on the shelf. We circulate up to 2 games per patron for 5 days at a time. To keep track of pieces, we weigh the games when they are checked out and when they come back in. We haven't had a lot of trouble with missing pieces. Then some do go missing, we 3D print them is we can or reach out to the publisher. Publishers have been great about helping us replace missing pieces. We have 3D printed some of the boxes for smaller games like UNO since they didn't hold up well compared to their popularity.

    In addition to having our games in the catalog, we have them all on the Board Games Collection Libguide. We're able to point everyone in its direction if they have any questions about the games. We also use it to collect things that we might need to print later like the instruction sheets or the forms that are used in games like Clue.

    I recommend reaching out to a local game store. Ours is a great help in buying games in bulk and giving recommendations (their games have also held up better than the versions we've gotten elsewhere). We were also able to work with our student government to get some of the initial games for our collection.  The Games & Gaming Round Table was also a helpful resource. Board Game Geek is also useful when selecting games.

    Ticket to Ride, Catan, Jenga, Codenames, and Pandemic are some of our most popular games.

    I'm happy to share our documentation and processes if you're interested.


    Perri Moreno
    Reference/Instruction Librarian
    University of Idaho Library


  • 5.  RE: Starting a new board game collection in an academic library

    Posted Sep 26, 2022 05:26 PM
    Hi Perri,

    These are fantastic! 

    You and your colleagues did a lot of research into academic board game collections so thank you for sharing this information. The collection librarian and I have started discussing working with local board game stores and luckily there are some within walking distance of the campus that we will be working with. 

    I'll definitely reach out for more help and information once we get to that point.

    Vickie Albrecht
    Manager, Durham Campus Library & Learning Centre
    Trent University

  • 6.  RE: Starting a new board game collection in an academic library

    Posted Sep 26, 2022 08:18 PM
    Thanks for this question and the shared responses. I am also working on getting a tabletop gaming collection loanable at our library. In fact, I have an intern working on it this semester! Our Access Services staff have stressed that we need to have really clear policy and procedures. 

    I am also interested in how you market it and do outreach for it to get users of the collection. 


    Jeffra Diane Bussmann (she/her/hers), MLIS
    Associate Librarian
    Liaison to Chemistry/Biochemistry, Mathematics, Physics
        and the Institute for STEM Education
    Interim Liaison to Earth & Environmental Sciences, 
       Engineering, and Psychology

    California State University, East Bay
    University Library
    25800 Carlos Bee Blvd.

    Hayward, CA 94542

    Student Visiting Hours: 
            Tuesdays, 1-4pm INFO Desk
            Thursdays, 1-4pm Ask-Us LibChat
            or Schedule Appointment By Email. 

    As a member of the Cal State East Bay community with an office on the Hayward campus, I acknowledge that I am a guest on the unceded land of the First People of this region, the present-day Muwekma Ohlone Tribe of the San Francisco Bay Area (formerly Verona Band of Alameda County). I support the sovereignty of this Chochenyo-Ohlone-speaking tribal group and other indigenous peoples. This acknowledgment was created by the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe with the support of the CSUEB Indigenous Acknowledgment Collective and is a living document. Full CSUEB Muwekma Ohlone Tribal Land Acknowledgment  / Whose land are you on?

  • 7.  RE: Starting a new board game collection in an academic library

    Posted Sep 27, 2022 03:08 PM
    Edited by Perri Moreno Sep 27, 2022 03:09 PM
    Hi Jeffra,

    Our collection is a recreation collection. When we started the collection we advertised it in our internal university newsletters to students and faculty & staff. When we first started the collection we would include a survey in each of the games asking how they found out about the collection, did they use the libguide, and getting feedback on the checkout length. The results on this survey actually let to us extending our check outs from 3 days to our current 5 days.

    We also learned from those survey that even though we put up posters on a few of the main bulletin boards and announced it in the newsletter, the primary way that people found out about it was just walking by. Our games are located in a place where many people walk by it to get to our computer lab (we have the circ policies on the shelf). We also advertise it at tabling events with an infographic bookmark that we give out. On one side are our policy and info about the libguide and the other is a list of some of our games. We also get a lot of word of mouth advertising.

    We tend to go an initial "Back-to-School Board Game event" in week 2 of the semester. Some of our employees teach how to play a couple of games from our collection and then play a game with anyone who needs an extra body. That events has the dual purpose of advertising that we have a collection and an instance where new students can get to know others.  Since coming back in person, we also host a monthly game event that is a very similar set up. Students can use our collection or bring their own games.

    Policy wise, there is a 5 gram leeway when the games get weighed at check in. The weight is a note in Alma that circulation makes sure is correct at every checkout and then that weight is what is used for check-ins. The games don't get checked in if they don't pass the weight check.  When games don't pass the weight, we let the patron know that there are pieces missing and ask them to check. If they can't find the pieces, the pieces are counted and compared it with the inventory we do when we initially get the games. If the game is unplayable, it comes to me and I try to make/get replacement pieces either through our makerspace or contacting the publisher for replacements. It hasn't happened yet, but if we wouldn't be able to find replacement pieces they would get a replacement fee on their account.

    Does this answer you question? I'm also happy to share our documentation if you're interested.


    Perri Moreno
    Reference/Instruction Librarian
    University of Idaho Library

  • 8.  RE: Starting a new board game collection in an academic library

    Posted Sep 27, 2022 05:32 AM

    Looks like you have gotten some good answers. I'll throw in a lesson I learned from the first academic library I tried to start a collection. When I cleared all of the administrative hoops and was allowed to purchase I just did, and hadn't fully decided on how we were going to use the collection. After six months or so I read Everyone Plays at the Library by Scott Nicholson (mentioned on getting started section of Perri's LibGuide) and he has a lot of great advice of how to think about the purpose of a collection. Some quick and dirty examples: Is it for use in classrooms? Is it for recreational use? Is that recreation in library programming? Or circulation?

    Once you have the basics of that worked out then you look at resources mentioned by some of the other folks who have replied. If you are looking to get the games into the classroom I would especially highlight the notes that Joshua has on some of his games. You want to develop a language for the skills that each game can highlight. This is what I eventually tried to do. If you want to take a look here is the guide:

    and the guide about game mechanics and how they can tie to the skills:

    Good luck,

    George Bergstrom
    SW Regional Coordinator, Professional Development Office
    Indiana State Library