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!