IGD Anecdotes: Program ideas!

Getting excited for International Games Day? Yay!

This year, IGD will be running Minecraft Hunger Games, an exciting new program which will be played district by district across the country, and hopefully the world. All your library needs in order to participate is one computer with Internet access. The Global Gossip Game will return this year.  If you are not familiar, it is a game of Telephone in which a phrase is passed from player to player within a library, and then from library to library all over the planet. As we draw closer to this exciting event, more details will be provided about these games.

Getting antsy about what you’d like to try this year? Let’s get the brain juices going with some program ideas libraries have run in past IGD events. For those in warmer climates, consider a few outdoor games by clicking here. These are also a good way to get the blood flowing after a long, stationary board game.

Many libraries have multiple branches which each may have their own space and time limitations. One library in Michigan didn’t let this stop the fun. In the month leading up to the IGD, each branch participated in a puzzle contest. This helped to promote and spread excitement for the day itself, and also allowed the branches which could not participate on the game day to be involved. If you’re in a library setting with multiple units or branches, this could be an engaging way to get others involved without too large a commitment for the day of IGD. A mini Gossip Game between branches could be another great way to connect all the libraries in a system and get more patrons involved.

[Ed: as the organizer of the Global Gossip Game, I fully support this idea. What’s more, I’ll say right now that if one of your library branches gets a spot in the official game, and you use that as the basis for your own local game, I will include it as its own branch in the final report. Even if you don’t get a spot in the Global game, I’m still happy for you to use the materials from the GGG as the basis for your game, and would love to hear from you how it all went!]

Feel like controlling what games your patrons engage with on IGD? Want to keep some of your visitors from start to finish? Throw a competitive component into the mix. A library in Ohio set up a competition throughout the day where points were accumulated for playing the most games. At the end of the day, one Games Master was kindly awarded for his activities.

A local video game tournament is always fun. Using a fighting game such as Injustice, a bracket could be set up with the winner of each bout moving on. Having different levels of the competition with beginners in one bracket and experience players in another might be a good way to keep one person from dominating too much.

Tabletop wargaming which uses miniature figurines to fight battles, such as Warhammer 40K, is also a popular type of gaming. There are somewhat more pieces required for this type of gaming, such as terrain and the miniatures themselves, but it could be worth poking around to see if anyone in your area would be interested in organizing some wargames for IGD. Another fun activity could be a miniatures painting workshop where experienced wargamers could give tips and tricks to new gamers for painting the miniatures – there is some real art in this aspect of the hobby!

An exciting program some libraries have organized is to have a game designer visit the library in person or over Skype. This can be a great way to learn more about what goes into designing a game and to ask questions of the designers themselves. It is the same idea as an author visit, but with games instead of books. This could also be a great opportunity to have students or patrons try designing their own games. Check out the Tabletop Deathmatch show hosted by Cards Against Humanity to see some of the great things independent amateur designers are coming up with. This could include your patrons!

So have fun, try new things, and play games!

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