blue concrete flying sauce sculpture outside, in front of a red brick building

The Library with the Flying Saucer

Guest post by International Games Month sponsor, Looney Labs

Greetings, Humans! I’m Andy Looney, co-founder and staff game designer at Looney Labs, the company that publishes the many flavors of Fluxx and numerous other tabletop games including Loonacy, Just Desserts, Get the MacGuffin, Pyramid Arcade, and Chrononauts. We’ve got some exciting plans I wanted to tell you about!

When I was a kid, two of my favorite things were going to the library and watching Star Trek. These two passions have come together in our contribution of 200 decks of my game Chrono-Trek to the libraries participating in ALA’s International Games Month, this November 2023. I’m extremely proud of this game, which takes a rather scholarly approach to the entire Star Trek universe. (Well, as of a few years ago — so much new stuff has been coming out lately! It’s an amazing time to be a Trekkie!) Star Trek: Chrono-Trek is a time travel card game (based on my earlier hit Chrononauts) which focuses on all of the time travel stories seen in the different shows and movies. And yet, it’s an easy game anyone can play and enjoy, even if they aren’t experts on Star Trek history.

Sign up to participate in IGM now to receive a FREE COPY of Chrono-Trek by November. This game provides a great basis for an event: the shows are very popular, and particularly fun for a group of cosplayers. Any era of Trek costumes will fit in since the game encompasses all of Trek-dom! And be sure to let us know, too, so we can help you promote your event! #SignalBoosting

But I also wanted to tell you about something else that comes to mind for me when I think about Star Trek and libraries. When I was growing up, my primary library was the Hyattsville branch of Maryland’s Prince George’s County. It was built in 1964 and sported an incredible ornamental entrance feature: a huge “flying saucer” made of concrete and glass. This structure always reminded me of the front part of the starship Enterprise and was basically the coolest building in our neighborhood.

This library was a state-of-the-art facility when I was a kid (I was born 2 months before it was dedicated), but a few years ago our local government decided to tear it down and build a new one. That sounds great, except — WHAT ABOUT THE FLYING SAUCER? Everyone in our community was concerned about maintaining this local landmark, and I’m happy to say it was preserved.

Here’s a photo of the Flying Saucer in its new location a short distance from where it used to be. The saucer now stands proudly alongside our fantastic new state-of-the-art library building, now with a lovely array of planets and cosmic imagery underneath.

As a kid, I went to numerous events at the flying saucer library, including some geek culture events, but I don’t recall any of them actually being Star Trek-themed. However, I distinctly remember attending at least one geeky cosplay event back then, celebrating the Lord of the Rings, but that wasn’t at this library, it was at the next closest one: the New Carrollton branch.

The Tolkien event I’m thinking of took place about 40 years ago, in the very same room where, just a few weeks ago, our company participated in a day of tabletop gaming. While that building has been extensively remodeled since then, it’s the same building, and I recognized the distinctive corners of that event space. It was fun going back there for a change, but my favorite library will always be the one with a flying saucer out front.

Don’t forget to sign up for your free Chrono-Trek game and let us know what kind of fun you have planned for International Games Month in November!

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