Easy Games to Teach and Learn

The GameRT Lists & Awards committee wrote up this list of library tested games for you to try out.

Card Game : Super Fight 

• Skybound Games • 3-20 players • 15 min • 8+

Following the party card game boom of the 2000s, Superfight could easily be dismissed as an Apples to Apples clone. But rather than try to out-gross or out-outrage your co-players/opponents in an attempt to be funny, Superfight is all about being imaginative and engage in silly discussions that really bring about joy and laughter. Rather than playing to a judge like in Apples to Apples, Superfight‘s ruleset has the table vote on a hypothetical one-on-one fight. Who would win: 101 wall-crawling, fire breathing Dalmatians or Willy Wonka armed with a catapult and unlimited livestock, but happens to be easily distracted by shiny things? These are the types of conundrums discussed, and answered, while playing this excellent, fast, and easy to understand game.

Other Recommended Games: L.L.A.M.A., Point Salad, and Love Letter

Board Game: Kingdomino

Blue Orange Games • 2-4 players • 15 min • 8+
• Also available on BoardGame Arena and 2 player Print & Play.

Each player drafts a domino with two different landscapes on the domino’s two sides. The players then place their domino onto their own little kingdom space in front of them. The kingdom can’t be bigger than 5×5 blocks on any side. Little crowns on some of the dominoes are victory points markers. The crowns multiply by the number of the matching field spaces attached to each crown. For example, if you have two crowns on a cave next to another cave you now have four victory points. If you add another cave to the first two, you have six victory points and so on. The game has a satisfying amount of player interaction in the drafting since you can take the tile another player wants. The game works well with all skill levels because every player can advise the others on the best move for each kingdom, and you have a satisfying tiny kingdom in front of you at the end of your game. 

Other Recommended Games: Splendor, Carcassonne, and Zooloretto

Party Game: Just One

Repos Production • 3-7 players • 20 min • 8+

Just One is a game of word association, and really fun with gamers and beginners alike. Like Codenames, you get a fascinating sense of how everyone thinks of words in different ways. The rules are really simple. The first player chooses a word and shows it to the other players without looking at the word they have chosen. All of the other players try to think of one word that will allow the first player to guess the secret word. If anyone chooses the same word as anyone else the duplicated words are out of the round and the first player never gets to see them. Based on the words that are left, the first player tries to guess the secret word. That is pretty much the whole game! It is super easy to pick up and really fun to play.

Other Recommended Games: Cross Clues, MonsDRAWsity, Fake Artist Goes to New York, and Monikers.

Tabletop Role Playing Game: The Ultimate Micro RPG Book

Adams Media • 1-3 hours • 8+
• Also available from
Simon & Schuster

The Ultimate Micro-RPG Book by James D’Amato is a great resource for anybody interested in programming featuring tabletop or roleplaying (TTRPG) games. This resource is perfect for novice gamers looking to implement games in their programs. The 40 games contained within encompass a variety of genres, styles, and mechanics so there’s plenty to suit diverse patron age levels and interests. Mini role-playing games also provide a nice place to start for folks unfamiliar to TTRPGs. Each micro-game fits within two pages and gameplay generally lasts from 1-3 hours. The brevity of both rules and play make micro-rpgs an easy entry point to TTRPGs for both librarians and patrons. 

The introduction clearly lays out what TTRPGs are as well as the basic rules for play, how best to use the book, The introduction clearly lays out the nature of TTRPGs as well as basic rules for play, how best to use the book, and safety tools. D’Amato provides a stats box for each micro-rpg with the number of required players, play time, game complexity, additional required materials such as dice or paper and pencils, , and the game’s objective. Additional information in the form of tags  for genre, tone, format, and content, give you and your patrons easily evaluate which game would be best to play. Overall, this book is an easy introduction to one of the most exciting and innovative game designers in the TTRPG field as well as a joy to explore and play through. 

Other Recommended Games: Mint and Minutaur, Halo n’ Horns, Lasers and Feelings.

Video Game: Tower Fall 

Matt Makes Games • 1-4 players, 6 on Switch • 10+
• Available on PlayStation 4/5, Xbox One/Series X & S, Switch, Windows, OS X, Linux, PlayStation Vita, and Ouya

TowerFall is the best and most addictive “easy to learn” couch multiplayer video game of the last decade. And you probably have never heard of it until now. Four players (or six on the Switch version) compete in an arena where players shoot arrows at and stomp opponents’ heads until a winner remains. Its core mechanics are not dissimilar from Pac-Man and the NES and SNES era Mario games. This independently made game, by Maddy Thorsen (she/they), is stunning in its simplicity. There are no unique moves or button combos, just move, shoot, jump, and dodge. The 16-bit aesthetic will mean it will age gracefully for decades to come. Its competitive balance allows for less fortunate players to catch up and challenge for a win. If you have any console made since 2014 at your library, there are no better games to purchase for $15-$20 for in-library programming.

Other Recommended Games: Mario Kart, Minecraft, Stardew Valley Multiplayer

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