We are highlighting the work of women designers this month. This list include some of my favorite games ever! Also, check out this list of Games by Women & People of Marginalized Genders compiled by Elizabeth Hargrave over on BGG. And at the bottom of this page there is a longer description of the collection of TTRPGs for Trans Rights in Florida! available over on itch.io.
Board Game: Monopoly
• Designer : Elizabeth J. Magie, Charles Darrow
• Publisher: Hasbro
• 2-6 players
• 2 hours
• Ages: 8+
Get ready to pass “Go” and collect $200! Monopoly as we know it today was originally based on The Landlord’s Game, designed by Lizzie Magie in 1903. Magie, an anti-monopolist, hoped to demonstrate the danger of monopolies and educate people on the benefits of a public land tax system. In the contemporary version, players compete to own the most property and make the most profit, forcing opponents into bankruptcy to eliminate them from the game. With over 300 unique editions of Monopoly based on popular books, movies, shows, and even video games, you’re sure to find a version you’ll love.
Board Game: Verdant
• Designers: Molly Johnson, Robert Melvin, Aaron Mesburne, Kevin Russ, Shawn Stankewich
• Publisher: Flatout Games
• 1-5 players
• 30-45 min
• Ages: 10+
I love any game that includes the mechanic of creating satisfying patterns of stuff in front of you. In Verdant, you make a pretty grid of cards that works like an engine to grow points. Every card gives you at least something, by working with the features of the cards around them. Every time you add a card to your little tableaux you know that your move will get you at least something, which is very satisfying way of playing a game. Verdant is an absolutely visually beautiful game by the absolutely lovely artist Beth Sobel who painted the art for Wingspan, Cascadia and Calico. This game also might tickle the fancy of a patron who likes growing things, since each card includes information at the bottom about a house plant.
Board Game: Wingspan
• Designer: Elizabeth Hargraves
• Publisher: Stonemaier Games
• 1-5 players
• 40-70 min
• Ages: 10+
Designed by Elizabeth Hargrave, Wingspan took the gaming world by storm upon its debut in 2019. In Wingspan, players are bird enthusiasts who hope to draw as many birds to their habitats as possible. They do so through utilizing food options, laying eggs, and harnessing unique abilities that each new bird has to offer. While the base game focuses on the birds of North America, optional expansions for Oceania and Europe bring even more fascinating birds into your wildlife preserve. This beautiful game appeals to bird lovers, but Wingspan’s easy mechanics and quick playthrough make it popular with people of all stripes.
Card Game: Word Slam
• Designer : Inka Brand, Markus Brand
• Publisher: Thames & Kosmos
• 3-99 players
• 45 min
• Ages: 12+
Word slam is a high energy card game of head to head simultaneous play. Two teams select a player to convey a hidden word to them using a set of 105 cards. Each of these cards has one word on them ( a noun, verb, adjective, or preposition) and the clue giver can use as many or as little cards as they want to give clues to the hidden word. Teammates talk with each other to guess the hidden word but must be careful to give too much away to the other team because both teams are trying to guess the same word. The game’s player count of up to 99 is unique and makes it excellent for library programming. Particularly this game can be used as an opening icebreaker to get everyone comfortable before they split into smaller groups. Gameplay is great for patrons that want to build their vocabulary and communication skills. Also because play is asymmetric, collaborative, and competitive all at once this game has something to offer a variety of personalities and play styles. Highly recommended to add to any library collection or game night.
Tile Placement Game: Qwirkle
• Designer: Susan McKinley Ross
• Publisher: Mindware
• 2-4 players
• 45 min
• Ages: 6+
Qwirkle is a boardless game consisting of 108 wooden blocks that come in varying combinations of six different shapes and colors.Gameplay is quick and satisfying with each player clacking down one block per turn with the ultimate goal of scoring the most points through the lines of blocks that are built through play. No duplicates are allowed for each line and players will want to keep in mind all the patterns that are being created through play. The unwary could unintentionally help someone else complete a “Qwirkle”, a line containing all six shapes or colors that gives an extra set of bonus points.Since the game is abstract and lacks a traditional game board, every game is unique, offering higher replayability. Once learned, gameplay is also language-independent making it accessible to a wide range of patrons. Qwirkle highly recommended for any collection or game night. It’s a quick and satisfying game that’s easy to learn and has plenty of depth and strategy.
TTRPG: Were You Paying Attention?!
• Designer and Publisher : Beth Jackson
• Publisher: Beth and Angel Make Games
• 2+ players
• 10+ min
• PDF: https://beth-and-angel-make-games.itch.io/were-you-paying-attention
“Were You Paying Attention?!” centers its play on communication through deliberate miscommunication. During the game players take turns both telling and listening to overwhelmingly detail-rich rambling stories. Throughout the game whoever listens and remembers the details best will emerge the victor. Quick to teach and easy to learn, this is a fantastic way to introduce patrons to the world of storytelling games. The game goes swiftly with each turn of storytelling only lasting a minute, before switching to the next player. However, players can decide how many rounds of equal turns they’d like to play, giving each group the flexibility to have as long or short an experience as feels right for them. With minimal rules and lively engaging play this is a recommended addition into any library’s game night or collection.
Video Game: Animal Crossing: New Horizons
• Developer/Publisher: Nintendo
• 1-4 players
• around 70 hours
• Ages: ESRB E
• Available: https://www.animal-crossing.com/new-horizons/
The game that got everyone through COVID quarantine was created by a team led by a female director, Aya Kyogoku, a 20-year veteran of the industry with extensive experience on the series (as well as on the Legend of Zelda series, for which she won an award). Her leadership resulted in an inclusive, approachable and incredibly customizable experience which several libraries have incorporated into their programming, creating their own “virtual branches” for patrons to visit.
*Note* For the month of March 2023 Were you Paying Attention?! is a part of the TTRPGs for Trans Rights in Florida! over on itch.io. You can purchase it along with 505 other games for $5 and support both Zebra Youth and Transinclusive Group,“two charities that work directly with trans folx on the ground in Florida, to get the most direct aid to those who need it most.”