A little background Tabletop Gaming at the Library Weekly, intergenerational, mostly gateway games Game Designer’s Guild Monthly, intergenerational, design, learn, create, play- test. Pick and Play Monthly, teens, Board Games at the Primos Branch Library
Demographics 50% of attendees were 55+. 50% of attendees were female. The rest were mostly 30[ish] male. Led me to think that a gaming event targeted for seniors was both warranted and needed. Tabletop Gaming at the Library The “Over the Hill” Gamers of Newtown, PA. [meetup]meetup Motto: We're old but we still game.
“Modern” board game event basics Teach. Encourage help. Start simple and work up [or not]. Make connections to past or well-known games. Just like storytelling, be confident even if you’re falling apart. Answer questions and guide throughout the game. Avoid jargon. Don’t touch a persons’ bits, cards or pieces w/o asking first.
A few words on teaching games. Moderate, don’t play. Unless you need to, don’t play. Allow for half the playing time for instruction. If the game lasts 30 minutes then allow for 15 extra minutes. Know the game before you play. Read the rules and have at least one play-through Teach in the following order What is the game about? What do I do? How do I win? Use scaffolding for complex games. Debrief afterwards with a post-mortem.
Source: Rapid City Public Library North, Gaming Afternoons, Rapid City, SD. When we think of gaming, does this pop into your head?
Source: A Knit Wits session at the Active Senior Network Room in the Berea (Ohio) Recreation Center. When you think of adult programs do you think of this…
Some of us even think of this… SourceSource: Wii Bowling for Adults at the Library Lester Public Library, Two Rivers, Wisconsin. SourceSource: Bowling in the Library, Danbury Public Library, Danbury Connecticut.
Increases in multitasking, cognitive abilities, working memory, and attention sustainment over time while playing specially designed video games. [source]source Potential “application to other brain-related disorders such as attention- deficit/hyperactivity disorder, depression, and dementia…” “Video game training enhances cognitive control in older adults”
Obligatory Survey Data Seniors tend to play games more frequently than young adults. Over one-third of gamers 65+ say they play games everyday or almost everyday. Almost half of all adult gamers reported playing games at least a few times a week. Adults and Video Games Adults and Video Games Dec 7, 2008 by Amanda Lenhart, Sydney Jones, Alexandra Macgill
Let’s talk about a few things: Game Weight Player Interactivity Game Mechanics and Theme Before we dive in…
Game Weight Light Medium Heavy Game Weight will depend on: Decision Space Length of Rules Play time Strategy vs. Luck Atmosphere Accessibility of theme
Player Interaction Solitary Games Minimal interaction Friendly Competition Encourage interaction through a shared board and personal objectives. Direct Competition Main mechanic is confrontation with other players. Cooperative Players work together towards a goal. 1.How much noise is appropriate in the library? 2.What space am I considering – an open, accessible space or closed, exclusive space. 3.Am I encouraging new players?
Mechanics and Theme The "moving parts" of the game, the rules, how the games is played. A game with a focus on mechanisms focus on what you are doing rather than the story surrounding those actions. The story, setting, premise and character of a game. With a heavily thematic game, game play will be immersive. MechanicsTheme
Birth of the Golden Gamers Evaluation of need Goals Collection Development Development
Evaluation of need Issues with Video Games: Accessibility tends to be a challenge due to physical determinants (carpal tunnel, poor eyesight, arthritis) Large learning curve Lack of a social experience. Benefits of tabletop board games Interactive, social experience. Cognitively challenging. Wide range of decision space. Familiar themes. Difficulties of tabletop board games Large rule-set. Lots of fine print (on cards, boards). Crazy mechanics (what is a worker placement?) Upper Darby Library Senior Activities Board
Goal Number 1 Choose games with small, simple rule-sets. familiar mechanics used in interesting ways. Find games which focus on singular mechanics. have familiar themes. are social. Play quickly with minimal set- up time. Lower the barrier of entry of gaming for seniors. No rule books. Quick to learn. Easy to teach. Board games are the only hobby that you need to pass a written and speaking exam before you start. ( Rob Daviau, designer)
Goal Number 2 85% of the attendees of regular board gaming group are not card holders. Next step: Journey to senior centers, retirement homes, schools. Community outreach centered around a positive and emerging cultural building medium. Go places! Meet people!
Goal Number 3: Recognize the culture of your library/group and build around it. Experimentation and Interaction. (Modern Board/Card Games, Design) Comfort and Familiarity. (Classic Games/Mass Market) Competition and Interaction. (Chess, Bridge, Scrabble) Interaction. (Party/Social Games) Encourage constructive play, social learning and friendly competition.
Goal 4: Support learning and explore a diversity of board games.
Collection development hints: Start with a small, diverse collection. Keep initial games inexpensive ($8-$35 each). Be sure they are in print from reliable publishers. Purchase online for good deals. Purchase from brick & mortar stores for goodwill. Encourage sharing of games. Build the collection as group aligns toward certain games.
Find help and support! A staff person who may be a hobby board gamer. Contact local game shops. Peruse Meetup.com for any board game groups. Contact board game publishers. Ask for educational discounts or demo copies. [hint: request “dinged” copies] Start with what you have or what people can provide.
1) Sushi Go! Card Drafting Set Collection Plays in 15-20 minutes 2-5 players Next Step? 7 Wonders Seasons Collect sushi. Score points. Pass cards.
2) Augustus Plays like, but doesn’t feel like, Bingo. Completes objective by pulling symbols from a sack and placing on cards.
3) Las Vegas Introduces area control/influence. Players roll and place dice on casinos to for payouts. 2-5 players (can expand to 7 with extra dice). Plays in 30 minutes. Next Step? Small World Kingdom Builder Tammany Hall Roll dice. Dominate casinoes.
4) Incan Gold! Press Your Luck game. Players decide whether to go deeper into a temple for treasure or play it safe and head back to camp. 3-8 players. Plays in 20 minutes. With great risks come great rewards!
5) Bohnanza Negotiation/Trading Collect sets of beans to “harvest” for money. 2-7 players. Plays in 45 minutes. Next Step? Settlers of Catan Collect Beans/Harvest for Cash.
6) Citadels Take a role, build a city. Variable player roles. Each round players draft a new role. 2-8 players. Plays in 45-60 minutes. Can play a shortened version of the game. Next Steps? Flash Point: Fire Rescue Pandemic
7) Hanabi Card game where you can’t look at your cards! Players can play a card, discard a card or give a hint. Everyone works together to create a fireworks display. 2-5 players, 30 minutes. Next Steps? Pandemic Flash Point: Fire Rescue Forbidden Island Look at everyone’s cards but your own!
8) For Sale Auction/Bidding players bid for buildings then sell the buildings for the greatest profit possible. Next Steps? Alhambra Going, Going, Gone Power Grid Ra
9) Skull A game of bidding/bluffing. Minimal components. Simple game play. Lots of player interaction. 3-6 players, 30-45 minutes.
10) SOS Titanic Cooperative solitaire themed to the Titanic. Moving cards around the board similar to a game of Solitaire. Plays 1-5, 30-45 minutes.
These open the gates for so many more…. Alhambra ~ markets Carcassonne ~ tile-placement Dixit ~ storytelling Dominion ~ deck-building Kingdom Builder ~ area influence/control King of Tokyo ~ press your luck Mascarade ~ social games, bluffing Stone Age ~ worker-placement Letters from Whitechapel ~ hidden movement Ticket to Ride ~ route-building Ra ~ bidding Takenoko ~ action point allowance
Post Mortem What about the game was frustrating? Did you have fun with this game? Would you want to play similar games? Would you play a similar game if it were more difficult? Did you enjoy the interactions with other players? Would you play it again?
John Pappas Board Game Reviews: www.Trollitc.comwww.Trollitc.com Board in the Library Series: http://www.webjunction.org/news/web junction/board-in-the-library-part- one.html http://www.webjunction.org/news/web junction/board-in-the-library-part- one.html Blog: www.couldshouldabuddha.comwww.couldshouldabuddha.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org@gmail.com Shoot me an email if you are interested in a suggested list of gateway games for libraries and reliable board game publishers. Questions?