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PLCMC Teen Forum

YAttitudes, Vol. 6, No. 1, Fall 2006
Monday, November 20, 2006

For those of you who are not members of the YALSA (yet!), below is Kelly’s article about gaming from YALSA’a online newsletter YAttitudes. It’s about National Gaming Week, which Kelly mentioned at the retreat and it features snippets from an interview Kelly did with PLCMC’s own James Stubbs at SUG!

Game On!

National Games Week

By Kelly Czarnecki

How is your library going to celebrate National Games Week, which runs from November 19–26? Library student Jami Schwarzwalder encourages librarians on the Game On blog to recognize this week by “hosting a collectable card game (CCG) tournament, having a family gaming night, or simply setting out a board game for the after school teens.”

Many libraries already offer board games as a service or a program, either in conjunction with a video game event or as a stand-alone experience, such as an intense power Monopoly tournament (download a tournament kit), a Dungeons and Dragons Adventure Afternoon, or even a design-your-own board game program.

What about trying out some board games that are a bit off the beaten path, but will still create a following of teens who are up for the challenge or just a relaxing afternoon to figure out something new? I had the fortunate opportunity to interview James Stubbs, who has been at the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County in North Carolina for eight years and is frequently consulted for his knowledge related to board games. The following are excerpts from our conversation:

YAttitudes: What do you think are the benefits for libraries for offering board games as a program?

JS: Unlike most board games of the past, the newer breed of games mainly encourages cooperative play rather than the brutal “eliminate everyone else to be the winner” type of play. Games also are an ideal opportunity for parents or older adults to be able to have a common ground with teens and can provide open communication and socialization.

YAttitudes: How do board games encourage or involve literacy?

JS: Many games have themes to them. War games are especially good in this regard, as many people like to study the tactics used in famous battles or wars and try to either recreate them or play what-if scenarios based on historical fact. Empire and civilization building games are similar in this sense too: What would happen if the Roman Empire had been more diplomatic with the people it conquered? Can the player copy the conquests of Alexander the Great?

YAttitudes: Why do you think it’s important for libraries to try different board games (aside from the usual Uno, Monopoly, Clue, and so on) as a service?

JS: Because those old games are just that—OLD. These are the games their parents played! The odds are good that any teens interested in board gaming have played those games to death. They want something new, different, and flashy. The new generation of board games offers new strategies, new challenges, and a different play styles than those old games, which have not fundamentally changed in the decades since they’ve been out.

YAttitudes: Give three examples of board games you would recommend for a library to purchase for a teen program, and why you chose those.

JS: Ticket to Ride, a railroad building game where the objective is to build as many rail connections as possible between major United States cities (also Ticket to Ride Europe). Cost: $26–$30.

Carcassonne: Hunters & Gatherers. Set in prehistoric France, where players guide the development of a tribe of people by carefully selecting good hunting grounds and fertile lands while competing against neighboring groups (the other players). There are endless varieties of Carcassonne with increasing complexity. Cost: $15.

Blokus is an abstract strategy game similar to Tetris. Spatial positioning, foresight, and contingency planning are skills learned in the game. Cost: $20–$25.

I picked these games because they can be played in an hour or less, they don’t eliminate players, the factor of luck is minimized, and they have appeal to both male and female players.

YAttitudes: What are some resources you would recommend for librarians to search for further information on bringing new and different board games into the library?

JS: BoardGame Geek: www.boardgamegeek.com
The first and premiere stop for all things board gaming. The discussion forums are very helpful.

Boardgame News: www.boardgamenews.com
This is the spot to keep track of the industry and to be aware of new and upcoming releases.

The Dice Tower podcast: www.thedicetower.com

Board Games with Scott vidcast: www.boardgameswithscott.com

Gaming Zone blog post: http://thegamingzone.blogspot.com/2006/09/board-games-coming.html
A list of games purchased from an LSTA grant for PLCMC.

James can be contacted by e-mail for questions or more information on board games at jstubbs@plcmc.lib.nc.us.

Kelly Czarnecki is a Teen Librarian for ImaginOn, the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County in Charlotte, N.C. She is co-chair of the YALSA Gaming Teen Interest Group and actively promotes gaming at her library. Her Game On! column is a new recurring feature for YAttitudes.

posted by PLCMC Teen Forum @ 7:30 PM,


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