Women’s History Month Game Selections

Enjoy this awesome list of recommended games by women designers.

For a special treat, our first game is a recommendation from the Board Game Librarian herself, Jenn Bartlett. The game in question, Library Labyrinth is available now from Kickstarter until March 31st. If you are thinking of buying this game, now is the time!

Our TTRPG this month also has a time sensitive element. It is part of the Women In TTRPG Bundle at Itch.io!

Board Game on Kickstarter: Library Labyrinth

• Designers: Jessica Metheringham and Mill Goble
• Publisher: Dissent Games, currently on Kickstarter!
• 1-5 players
• 30-60 minutes
• Ages 10+

Literary terrors have broken free and are running rampant through the library, and it’s up to you and your fellow players to collectively put them back in their books! Library Labyrinth takes place on a grid of 25 octagonal tiles that flip, rotate, and trip players up with curses. As tiles are flipped, hallways and passageways are opened up for you to be able to fight these literary terrors. Each card has a unique historical or fictional female heroine and six skills. Library Labyrinth is a charming easy to play, easy to learn, cooperative board game that is family friendly, and very educational. All of the book cards feature unique female heroines and some facts about them. Library Labyrinth is also a created by a fully female design, illustration, graphic design, etc. team, and Dissent Games in general creates games that have something of note to say. I’d recommend this game for library fans, librarians, casual gamers, families, and library collections!

Board Game: Starsmith

• Designer: Catherine Croft, PhD
• Publisher: Catlilli Games
• 2-4 players
• 30 minutes
• Ages 8+

In this dice-rolling battle game you get to play a constellation! Duel over elements (and learn about astronomy) in the galaxy to build your stars. Catlilli games is all about making fun games that teach kids STEM topics, and this game is no exception. The game includes an interesting blend of dice-rolling and card drafting. Try different strategies to build your stars and complete the constellations. You can even perform fission, or fusion!

Card Game: Abandon All Artichokes

• Designer: Emma Larkins
• Publisher: Gamewright
• 2-4 players
• 20 minutes
• Ages 10+

This is a quick delightful ‘deck-wrecker’ where the objective is to draw a hand free of dreaded artichokes. Players will use the powers of vegetable cards to get rid of artichokes and toss them into the composting pile. They can also use their vegetable cards to swap or steal from opponents, in order to arrange optimal hands. While early games might be slow due to reading over the various veggies’ abilities, it doesn’t take too long for players to get familiar with all of the cards and dive into deeper strategies. Easy to learn and easy to teach, this game offers a whole heap of fun and is a fantastic addition to any library’s collection or game night.

Role-Playing Game: The Lighthouse at the End of the Universe.

• Designer: Ella Lim
• Publisher: Lost Ways Club
• 1+ players
• 15+ minutes
• Ages 13+
• Available: PDF through itch.io, & Print copy through Etsy.

This is a lovely contemplative solo journaling game where one plays as a lighthouse keeper maintaining a lighthouse where you record events and phenomena that occur during the night shift. The gameplay uses a coin, deck of cards, and six sided dice to generate evocative prompts. Reflecting on the players current joys and struggles, they’ll explore the world at the edge of the universe and their place within it. A nightly session can last as short as 15 minutes but can also be played as long as the player would like to live in and write about the world. Requiring only one player this game is an excellent option to give library patrons without a gaming group the opportunity to dive into the creative experience of roleplay. Elegantly laid out, easy to learn, and deeply engaging this is a charming title to add to any library’s RPG collection. 
*Note* For the month of March 2022 this game is a part of the Women In TTRPG Bundle! over on itch.io. You can purchase it along with 49 other games created by women designers all bundled together at 89% of their original total cost: https://itch.io/b/1315/women-in-ttrpg-bundle.

Video Game: Portal

• Designer: Kim Swift
• Publisher: Valve
• 1 player
• 1-5 hours
• Ages 13+
• Available: Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Android, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Nintendo Switch (later in 2022)

Available on Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Android, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Nintendo Switch (later in 2022)
In 2007, Valve released Portal as part of The Orange Box along with Half-Life 2 and Team Fortress 2. As great as those games are, to call Portal one of the most important video games ever is an understatement. Kim Swift designed one of the most unique and humorous gaming experiences ever made. It features adept worldbuilding and some of the most addictive (in a good way) gameplay mechanics, which could be described as “first-person puzzle shooter.” If you have never stepped into the “Aperture Science Laboratories Computer-Aided Enrichment Center” and encountered GLaDOS, you are doing yourself a disservice; there’s a reason it is one of the first games to be displayed at MoMA.

Additional resources: Game Designer Elizabeth Hargrave’s lists over 200 of the Women and Non-Binary designers in the United States. https://www.elizhargrave.com/women-nonbinary-designers/americas

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