Announcing Platinum Play Classics!

The Games and Gaming Round Table is very proud to announce our inaugural cohort of classic games that we recognize as Platinum Plays – evergreen titles well-suited to Library programs and collections.

These classic games, chosen for their antiquity, versatility and timeless nature, represent the first of a new awards category highlighting the best of gaming in library spaces.  Platy recipients should be considered standouts for Library collections or programming ideas across a wide swath of library types.  Going forward, games will be nominated by librarians and chosen by a select team on the Games and Gaming Round Table, with a cohort of new titles to join these classics annually.  

Congratulations, then, to the following games as true Platinum Play classics!

Board and Card Games

Backgammon

• 2 players

• 30 min

• Ages 8+

Backgammon is a classic abstract strategy game dating back thousands of years. Each player has a set of 15 checkers (or stones) that must be moved from their starting positions, around, and then off the board. Dice are thrown each turn, and each player must decide which of their checkers to move based on the outcome of the roll. Players can capture each other’s checkers, forcing the captured checkers to restart their journey around the board. The winner is the first player to get all 15 checkers off the board. A more recent addition to the game is the “doubling cube”, which allows players to up the stakes of the game. Although the game relies on dice to determine movement, there is a large degree of strategy in deciding how to make the most effective moves given each dice roll and measuring the risk in terms of possible rolls the opponent may get.

Catan

• 3-4 players

• 60-120 min

• Ages 10+

In CATAN (formerly The Settlers of Catan), players try to be the dominant force on the island of Catan by building settlements, cities, and roads. On each turn dice are rolled to determine what resources the island produces. Players build by spending resources (sheep, wheat, wood, brick and ore) that are depicted by these resource cards; each land type, with the exception of the unproductive desert, produces a specific resource: hills produce brick, forests produce wood, mountains produce ore, fields produce wheat, and pastures produce sheep.

Set-up includes randomly placing large hexagonal tiles (each showing a resource or the desert) in a honeycomb shape and surrounding them with water tiles, some of which contain ports of exchange. Number disks, which will correspond to die rolls (two 6-sided dice are used), are placed on each resource tile. Each player is given two settlements (think: houses) and roads (sticks) which are, in turn, placed on intersections and borders of the resource tiles. Players collect a hand of resource cards based on which hex tiles their last-placed house is adjacent to. A robber pawn is placed on the desert tile.

A turn consists of possibly playing a development card, rolling the dice, everyone (perhaps) collecting resource cards based on the roll and position of houses (or upgraded cities—think: hotels) unless a 7 is rolled, turning in resource cards (if possible and desired) for improvements, trading cards at a port, and trading resource cards with other players. If a 7 is rolled, the active player moves the robber to a new hex tile and steals resource cards from other players who have built structures adjacent to that tile.

Points are accumulated by building settlements and cities, having the longest road and the largest army (from some of the development cards), and gathering certain development cards that simply award victory points. When a player has gathered 10 points (some of which may be held in secret), he announces his total and claims the win.

Checkers

• 2 players

• 30 min

• Ages 6+

Abstract strategy game where players move disc-shaped pieces across an 8 by 8 cross-hatched (“checker”) board. Pieces only move diagonally, and only one space at a time. If a player can move one of his pieces so that it jumps over an adjacent piece of their opponent and into an empty space, that player captures the opponent’s disc. Jumping moves must be taken when possible, thereby creating a strategy game where players offer up jumps in exchange for setting up the board so that they jump even more pieces on their turn. A player wins by removing all of his opponent’s pieces from the board or by blocking the opponent so that he has no more moves.

Chess

• 2 players

• 30-60 min

• Ages 6+

Chess is a two-player, abstract strategy board game that represents medieval warfare on an 8×8 board with alternating light and dark squares. Opposing pieces, traditionally designated White and Black, are initially lined up on either side. Each type of piece has a unique form of movement and capturing occurs when a piece, via its movement, occupies the square of an opposing piece. Players take turns moving one of their pieces in an attempt to capture, attack, defend, or develop their positions. Chess games can end in checkmate, resignation, or one of several types of draws. Chess is one of the most popular games in the world, played by millions of people worldwide at home, in clubs, online, by correspondence, and in tournaments. Between two highly skilled players, chess can be a beautiful thing to watch, and a game can provide great entertainment even for novices. There is also a large literature of books and periodicals about chess, typically featuring games and commentary by chess masters.

Cribbage

• 2-6 players

• 30 min

• Ages 10+

Cribbage is a card game invented in the early 17th century, based on the earlier game Noddy. It is played with a deck of standard playing cards and a signature piece of equipment called the cribbage board. Cribbage is traditionally played as a 2 player game.

In the version usually played today, each player is dealt a hand of 6 cards, from which they discard 2 into a special pile called the Crib. One card is then cut from the draw pile and turned face up – it is considered part of each player’s hand and of the Crib. The players then play cards in turn, scoring points for hitting certain totals, or for making sets or sequences. Score is kept by moving pegs along tracks on the cribbage board. This is repeated until both players have exhausted their hand of cards.

Next, each player picks up their hand and determines all possible scoring combinations, pegging points again on the cribbage board. The dealer then picks up the Crib and scores it for all possible points. Then the cards are shuffled and the deal alternates. The winner is the first to reach 121 points.

Go

• 2 players

• 30-180 min

• Ages 8+

By all appearances, it’s just two players taking turns laying stones on a 19×19 (or smaller) grid of intersections. But once its basic rules are understood, Go shows its staggering depth. One can see why many people say it’s one of the most elegant brain-burning abstract games in history, with players trying to claim territory by walling off sections of the board and surrounding each other’s stones. The game doesn’t end until the board fills up, or, more often, when both players agree to end it, at which time whoever controls the most territory wins.

Mahjong

• 3-4 players

• 120 min

• Ages 8+

Mah-Jongg (Chinese 麻將/麻将 Májiàng [game of the] sparrow) is a traditional Chinese game using illustrated tiles, with game play similarities to rummy. It is a popular gambling game, but wagering real stakes is by no means necessary to have fun playing.

The tiles consist of three suits numbering 1-9 (Dots, Numbers or Characters, and Bamboo, the “Ace” of which almost always looks like a bird), three different dragons (Red, Green, and White [white is unusual in that it may look like a silvery dragon, or like a picture frame, or blank – think “White dragon in a snowstorm”), and the four winds (east, south, west, and north). There are four copies of each tile. This totals to 136 tiles. In addition, special Flower, Season, and Joker (American version) tiles may also be used.

Four players take turns drawing from a stock (the wall), or from the other players’ discards, in an attempt to form sets of numeric sequences (e.g., 5-6-7 of the same suit, which can only be drawn from the player at one’s left, by calling “Chow”), triplets and quadruplets (which can be drawn from the discards out-of-turn by calling “Pung”), pairs, and other patterns. “Pung” takes precedence over “Chow”, and “Mah Jongg” takes precedence over all (and is the only situation one may draw “Chow” out-of-turn.) What happens if a single discard would give two (or more!) players “Mah Jongg”? Precedence goes to the player who would play next in normal sequence.

Mancala

• 2 players

• 10 min

• Ages 5+

Mancala is played on a board of two rows, each consisting of six round pits. The rows have a large store at either end called the Kalah. A player owns the six pits closest to them and the Kalah on their right side.

The game is started with four (4) seeds in each pit. A player takes all the seeds from one of their pits, and then they are distributed one by one, counterclockwise, in the pits and the player’s own Kalah, but not into the opponent’s store (Kalah). If the last seed is dropped into an opponent’s pit or a non-empty pit of the player, the move ends without anything being captured. If the last seed falls into the player’s Kalah, they must move again. If the last seed is put into an empty pit owned by the player, they capture all contents of the opposite pit together with the capturing piece and puts them in their Kalah. If the opposite pit is empty, nothing is captured. A capture ends the move.

The game ends when one player no longer has any seeds in any of their holes. The remaining pieces are captured by their adversary. The player who has captured the most pieces is declared the winner.

Parchisi (Parcheesi)

• 2 – 4 players

• 30 min

• Ages 5+

Pachisi, the national game of India, dates back to 4 AD and remains popular today. Each player has a set of pawns that start in his or her corner of the board. The goal is to move the pawns around the board to the “home” section. Movement is controlled by dice. All players move around the same board, so they may capture each others pawns. Captured pawns are returned to their player’s corner and must start their journey over. The winner is the first player to move all pawns “home”.

Shogi

• 2 players

• 60 min

• Ages 8+

Of Japanese origins, Shogi is played on a 9 by 9 board, and the object is to capture the opponent’s king. There are two main differences with Western chess. First, not only pawns but almost every piece can promote if it reaches the opponents three last rows. Second and most distinctive characteristic is that captured pieces become property of the capturing player and during his turn he can “parachute” or “drop” them back to the board instead of performing a normal move. Because of this feature, similar to Bughouse, the game can last longer than a Chess game, the board generally stays fairly crowded and there is no simplification going into the endgame. However, the endgame is typically more rapid with many possibilities for attack and ways to achieve a checkmate, which also makes draws/ties very rare.

Snakes and Ladders (Chutes and Ladders)

• 2-6 players

• 30 min

• Ages 3+

Traditional game from ancient India was brought to the UK in 1892 and first commercially published in the USA by Milton Bradley in 1943 (as Chutes and Ladders). Players travel along the squares sometimes using ladders, which represent good acts, that allow the player to come closer to nirvana while the snakes are slides into evil.

Standard deck of cards

• 1 or more, depending on the game

• 5 min or more, depending on the game

• Ages 2+, depending on the game

The standard 52-card deck of French-suited playing cards is the most common pack of playing cards used today … A standard 52-card French-suited deck comprises 13 ranks in each of the four suits: clubs (♣), diamonds (♦), hearts (♥) and spades (♠). Each suit includes three court cards (face cards), King, Queen and Jack, with reversible (i.e. double headed) images. Each suit also includes ten numeral cards or pip cards, from one (Ace) to ten. The card with one pip is known as an Ace. Each pip card displays the number of pips (symbols of the suit) corresponding to its number, as well as the appropriate numeral (except “A” for the Ace) in at least two corners.

In addition, commercial decks often include from one to six Jokers; most commonly two or three since the mid-20th century. The Jokers are often distinguishable from one another, either in design or colour, as some card games require these extra cards.[2][3] The Jokers can also be used as replacements for lost or damaged cards. [from Wikipedia.org

Video Games

Tetris

• 2 players

• 30 min

• Ages 7+

“The ultimate test of advanced territorial strategy for all the family” is an attempt to transform a computer solitaire game into a two-player strategy board game. Players get random tetris pieces and have to build their territories the most compact they can. When a player fills one or more lines, depending on their numbers gets to move the central separator towards his opponent, limiting his space. Compacting space, without the time pressure of the original arcade, is pretty simple, and deciding if to wait to fill your own lines becomes the central point of the game.

Street Fighter II

• 2-4 players

• 30 min

• Ages 10+

Danger lurks around every corner as your Street Fighter struggles to save humanity from the dreaded villain, M. Bison. Choose your Street Fighter character pawn. Then race across the 3-D city gameboard in pursuit of enemy World Warriors. Challenge them by rolling special dice in the Battle Arena. Every winning battle gives you more strength for your final showdown with M. Bison. When you’re powerful enough, storm Bison’s fortress for the ultimate battle. Do you have the power and courage to destroy him and become the greatest Street Fighter of them all.

Minecraft

• 1-30 players

• Unlimited min

• Ages 8+

Minecraft is a sandbox game developed by Mojang Studios and originally released in 2009 … rld with virtually infinite terrain. Players can discover and extract raw materials, craft tools and items, and build structures, earthworks, and machines. Depending on their chosen game mode, players can fight hostile mobs, as well as cooperate with or compete against other players in the same world. Game modes include a survival mode (in which players must acquire resources to build in the world and maintain health), creative mode (in which players have unlimited resources and the ability to fly), spectator mode (in which players can fly, go through blocks, and enter the bodies of other players and entities), adventure mode (in which players have to survive without being able to build and place blocks) and hardcore mode (in which the difficulty is set to Hard and dying causes the player to lose their ability to play on that world). The game’s large community also offers a wide variety of user-generated content, such as modifications, servers, skins, texture packs, and custom maps, which add new game mechanics and possibilities. [from Wikipedia.org]

Bomberman

• 1-8 players (up to 64 players with online version)

• 5-15 min

• Ages 6+

The black spaceman kidnapped Bomberman’s beloved and brought her to his chambers in the castle, far beyond his reach, over the rivers, forest and mountains. Bomberman’s job is to save her, battling the sea of the enemies, with only bombs at his disposal.

The range of Bomberman’s bomb explosions can be upgraded with time, but if he dies, the range resets back to the minimum range and Bomberman loses his previous skills. Some updates can make Bomberman walk through the walls, increase his speed, and give him some other assets to aid him in his quest to save the woman he loves.

This top-down action-arcade game consists of nine levels per stage, each tougher than the other, and each final one consisting of the boss that will have to be dealt with. Bomberman can move horizontally and vertically and lay down bombs behind him, thus evaporating the enemies, but beware: Bomberman can block himself with his own bomb, and thus become a victim of his own bomb. [from mobygames.com]

Counter-Strike

• 1-10 players

• 30-60 min

• Ages 18+

Counter-Strike is an objective-based, multiplayer tactical first-person shooter. Two opposing teams—the Terrorists and the Counter Terrorists—compete in game modes to complete objectives, such as securing a location to plant or defuse a bomb and rescuing or guarding hostages. At the end of each round, players are rewarded based on their individual performance with in-game currency to spend on more powerful weapons in subsequent rounds. Winning rounds results in more money than losing and completing objectives such as killing enemy players gives cash bonuses. Uncooperative actions, such as killing teammates, results in a penalty. [from wikipedia.org]

Tabletop RPGs

Dungeons and Dragons

• 2 or more players

• Varies

• Ages 8+

In Dungeons & Dragons, the players form an adventuring party who explore fantasy worlds together as they embark on epic quests and level up in experience. The Dungeon Master (also known as the DM) is the game’s referee and storyteller. There’s no winning or losing in D&D—at least, not in the conventional way.

At its heart, D&D is a game that focuses on storytelling. The dice just help you along. Everything is your decision, from what you look like, to how you act, to what happens next.

The collective creativity in your D&D game builds stories that you’ll tell again and again—ranging from the stuff of legend to absurd incidents that’ll make you laugh years later. [from Wizards of the Coast]

Traveller

• 1-8 players

• 240 min

• Ages 12+

Traveller is a science-fiction role-playing game set in the distant future, when humanity has made the leap to the stars and interstellar travel is as common as international travel is today. This means that Traveller is set against a background drawn from adventure-oriented science fiction literature, and the scope and breadth of the game are limited only by the imagination and skill of the players and their referee. Players are no longer limited to wandering inside a single underground labyrinth, to exploring a single continent, or even a single world. In Traveller there is an entire universe to be explored. Almost any situation which occurs in any SF novel, movie, or short story can be recreated in Traveller with a little work on the part of the referee.

World of Darkness

• 2 or more players

• Varies

• Ages 14+

Incorporates Vampire: The Masquerade, Werewolf: The Apocalypse, Mage: The Ascension and Hunter: The Reckoning.

What if monsters were real? Not as abominations lurking in the shadows… but cunning predators hiding in plain sight? Influencing every aspect of our world in ways we would never dare to imagine? What if you became one of them?

In World of Darkness, vampires, werewolves, and monsters of many different kinds are all living among us: an entire supernatural world hidden in plain sight.

You are the monster, pretending to be human, fighting for survival and supremacy in a dark and mysterious world. Night after night you struggle to find your place in a baroque web of secrets, ancient conspiracies, and modern upheaval. In the quest for power, you leverage every asset, from arcane abilities to simple diplomacy, seduction, and street smarts. [From Paradox Interactive]

GURPS

• 2 or more players

• Varies

• Ages 14+

GURPS is the “Generic Universal RolePlaying System.” It starts with simple rules and builds up to as much optional detail as you like. It’s designed to accommodate any background: realistic or larger-than-life; past, present, or future. The possibilities are endless!

In GURPS, characters are built on points. You can create any hero you can imagine by selecting attributes, advantages, disadvantages, skills, and other traits. The GM chooses the power level by specifying the players’ point budget, and then GURPS delivers the goods – it supports everything from “ordinary folks” to “gods.” You can make character generation even simpler by using GURPS Character Assistant, the official character-creation program.

Almost everything else in the game – from swinging a sword to firing a laser rifle to negotiating a good price from a merchant – boils down to a 3d6 “success roll.” While there are lots of rules, they’re all variations on the same theme. GURPS is easy to learn! [From Steve Jackson Games]

2 comments

  1. I did work on cataloging several rare games, recently. Educational games and even regular games, are something amazing to be kept at the rare collections.

    Thanks

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