The Library Game is made for all-ages (some reading required)
The Library Game is great for any age who can read a bit on their own or who has some help from a grown up or older kid when it comes to reading. All content and challenges are appropriate for young kids or can be adjusted based on the books that The Archivist (the game leader) sets for the event.
The main purposes of The Library Game, in addition to having fun, are to learn about library organization and storytelling, so, if your players aren’t sure about how to use the library catalog system before playing… that’s OK! This game, with some help from The Archivist, will teach them how books and other media are categorized and ordered before building skills for turning info from their searches into a story.
The Library Game is set in a fantastic library… that’s in danger!
The Library Game is actually set right in your library but with a magical twist. Players (aka Researchers) are told that an unknown trouble is about to occur! Who knows what it could be, so we need to prepare by collecting magical words, facts, and more from the powerful resources scattered through this wonderful place. The library suddenly becomes a magical location, holding the tools required for overcoming this fast approaching challenge!
Your character in The Library Game
In The Library Game players are either set to work individually or as a team of Researchers and will choose one archetype to represent their character… and determine what kind of materials they’ll be seeking.
The archetype chosen will have an impact on the resource types and suggested words/clues/facts needed to resolve the conflict, and it will also have an impact on the story that players create when their character faces the library’s challenge.
Archetypes could include a detective who is tasked with looking up mysteries and digging up facts about forensic science, a poet who is looking for beautiful words that they can use for talking their way out of a situation, or a zoologist who focuses on books about animal facts and summons helpful critters to their cause!
There are 24 archetypes to choose from in the game’s Appendix, so there are lots of options for players to pick, and there is plenty of replay value as players receive different tasks with each archetype.
Mechanics in The Library Game
Learning about how to use the library through play!
The first phase of the game, after picking your character, is to complete a task log, related to the chosen archetype, that will set the player or team up with the special words and information that they’ll need to face the library’s obstacles.
Players are given a list of research tasks that can range from finding a specific word on a certain page of a particular book, finding the answer to a question by looking up a resource that they chose, discovering the title of a resource based on a call number, and so much more.
The goal is to have The Researchers exploring the library and practicing using different methods for looking up materials within your particular library’s system.
They’ll be using search catalogs, walking the shelves to find where different types of books are stored, and getting familiar with the layout and tools available at your location.
This collaborative word and information collection is the primary mechanic for building a base for the storytelling section for the game, and it’s a great LARP-style way of making research practice fun!
Getting players to write their own stories!
Once The Researchers have their list of words and The Archivist checks it over, everyone moves to the next phase. A random challenge is selected from a set of problem cards (or is made up by The Archivist), and now the players must create a story, using their words and facts from their task log, to tell how their character saves the library from this challenge!
Events can range from a mysterious noise complaint to a dragon attack and will have the player or group working to find a solution AND write about it.
The story, once completed, is scored based on the title, beginning, middle, end, and overall composition, in addition to the use of task log information to see how The Researchers have fared in their test of knowledge and creativity.
This part taps into the creative elements of TTRPGs and gives a great prompt for making a fun adventure and imagining a new story after they’ve just seen a whole bunch of other stories from during their research time. It’s a great method for connecting interests and knowledge into practical applications and fostering a healthy imagination.
Overall thoughts on The Library Game
I love the idea of turning research and skill building into a game, and The Library Game does such a good job with this. It’s active, it’s exciting, and it puts a lot of control in the hands of the players.
In addition to what’s covered above, the game itself looks amazing and feels like a magical library document based on the art and layout. It also includes details for creating your own archetypes and challenges, so there’s flexibility to allow even more creativity. It has extra rules and tips for what to do if a library resource is missing or misshelved so The Archivist isn’t in a bind mid-game. It has 1-pager summaries and free play guides, it has options for adjusting task log difficulty and challenges, and it has so much more to make sure that the game leader is also set up with everything they need as well.
I would highly recommend this game for librarians, teachers, or even as a fun activity at home with your own book collection to help get kids more used to reading, researching, and writing while also having a great game to play.
Find a copy of The Library Game
You can find a copy of The Library Game on the Open Story Games itchio page!
If you liked this post, make sure to subscribe to the TTRPGkids monthly newsletter to stay up to date on the latest reviews, tips and tricks, game and podcast list updates, and more! Thank you for playing tabletop RPGs with your kids and sharing this awesome hobby with the next generation!