National Gaming Day 2010 at the Fletcher Free Library

The eternal question of National Gaming Day: "What shall we play next?"

Saturday was National Gaming Day 2010. In observation of the day, the Fletcher Free Library here in Burlington hosted an afternoon of board games. I didn’t get to stay for the whole afternoon, having agreed to run demos as a Man in Black down at the Gathering of the Gamers in Middlebury, which just happened to fall on the same date as National Gaming Day this year.

Along with a pair of plastic bins full of board games, Brennan brought fresh baked bread still warm from the oven, which was a great snack paired with Cabot cheddar and/or raspberry preserves. So we had something to nibble on while we played Pirate’s Cove, one of a pair of a games I’d set up in anticipation of potential players arriving. As it happened, it was mostly the gang from Tuesday nights, plus one young newcomer, Max. Meanwhile, a second group formed to play Dominion with a healthy helping of Duration cards from Seaside.

Pirate’s Cove went okay. It’d been long enough since I last played that I had to keep reminding myself how the game went. Max turned out to fit the model of a young player, to be honest, which has led me to wonder if I’m courteous or excessively picky about other people’s behavior while playing a game. After Pirate’s Cove, we kept up the piratical theme with a round of Liar’s Dice. By then, I had to head south to Middlebury. From what I’ve heard, the rest of the afternoon was given over to Age of Empires III, Citadels and more Dominion.

Saturday was gloriously sunny, abnormal for mid-November in Vermont. I’m thinking that had something to do with the turnout for National Gaming Day — it was good in terms of spending time with friends, but as a way to get more people playing board games, it was pretty weak. While we’ve gotten good at spreading the word within the existing social circle of Burlington gamers, I think we still need to work on reaching people who aren’t necessarily connected via social networking or other means. That and the Fletcher Free’s involvement came relatively late in the ramp-up to National Gaming Day. Hopefully, next year they’ll get on board sooner and take a more active role in promoting it to interested patrons.

Meanwhile, over in the Northeast Kingdom, Border Board Games hosted the gaming at the Goodrich Memorial Library. They had a pretty excellent turnout, with lots of new faces. Kudos to Bethany and Richard for being such great game hosts!

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National Gaming Day 2010 is Tomorrow

Tomorrow, November 13th, is National Gaming Day 2010. Over 1800 libraries are participating this year, celebrating the twin goals of playing more games and visiting your local library with both board and video gaming, including tournaments and prizes donated by game publishers.

In Vermont, there are about a dozen libraries participating in National Gaming Day. Of two of them, I can tell you more. Richard and Bethany, they of Border Board Games in Derby Line, will be sharing some of their favorite board games at the Goodrich Library in Newport, Vermont. Their favorites and whatever else they can fit into the Big Frakkin’ Bag — which, frankly, needs to be documented to be believed; it’s just that big.

Meanwhile in Burlington, I and some friends will be at the Fletcher Free Library playing games and hopefully meeting some new folks. Until I need to cut out to go demo games as a Man in Black at the Gathering of the Gamers in Middlebury. It’s going to be a busy Saturday for board games!

If you’re not sure what’s going on in your area for National Gaming Day, you should check out this Batchgeo map that shows all the currently registered participating libraries — Burlington isn’t on there yet, but they’re definitely on board.

Get out and play some games tomorrow!

National Gaming Day 2010

National Gaming Day logo

Image by ALA staff via Flickr

This afternoon I met up with Will, the teen literacy coordinator at the Fletcher Free Library here in Burlington. After missing the chance last year to attach our own Saturday board gaming to the National Gaming Day participation roster, Brennan got on the stick early, which led to my meeting Will today.

I think we’re on track for something fun this November 13th. Will’s excited to have people interested in bringing board games to Fletcher Free Library programming — or ramping it back up, since Saturday board gaming went into summertime hibernation — and we staunch hobbyists will be happy to get the slightly higher profile for a day.

Video games seems to be the emphasized element at National Gaming Day, judging by photos and comments from the previous years’ participants. I hope that a more board game — and dare I hope role-playing? — centric game day at the Fletcher is in the offing. Not because I have anything against video games; they’re just not my thing. If someone rolled up to the Fletcher with an armful of consoles and monitors on November 13th, they’d fit right in. I can even think of one or two people I with the ability to do so. But I do think this is going to be more of a non-electrified game experience.

I’m really looking forward to it. It’s the Saturday after Carnage, which is a shame in some ways, because there are people who will still be too fried to make the trek. The scheduling could work out in other ways, though. There are always people who can’t or don’t go to Carnage. A library game day might be the right thing for them.

Roleplaying in Your Local Public Library

With National Gaming Day approaching, it seems like a good time to write about games at your local library, A while back I ran across a post at RPG Diehard about roleplaying in a library setting that reminded me of an article by Gordon Dritschilo published at, “Night of the dragonslayers.” It’s an oldie, but a goodie about Ilsley Public Library in Middlebury, VT hosting overnight Dungeons & Dragons sessions. The piece kicks off like this:

In a top floor lounge area of Ilsley Public Library in Middlebury, a group of teens is poring over colorful tomes with even more colorful titles like “The Draconomicon,” “The Book of Nine Swords” and “Magic of Incarnum.”

A floor below them, a band of young adventurers has just reached the entrance of a hostile fortress.

Another floor down, a different group of adventurers examines the dusty contents of an alchemist’s worktable.

It is late in the evening of March 14, the library’s first all-night Dungeons & Dragons marathon. Volunteers have been running weekly sessions of the role-playing game at the library for two years as part of an after-school program. The game is so popular in Middlebury that the library had to turn people away from the all-night event.

It only gets better from there. Checking Ilsley Library’s calendar, I see they still host Dungeons & Dragons Tuesday afternoons. I’m glad to see that, because not only do roleplaying games encourage players to build strong reading comprehension and reasoning skills, but it gets the hobby out in the public, helping to demystify it and make joining in more accessible. However, Liz Danforth’s post on tabletop roleplaying in a library notes some drawbacks as well as benefits to the trend. From the GM’s side of the library gaming experience, you can read Gnombient’s thoughts on his own library game.

On a side note, Montpelier’s Kellogg-Hubbard Library hosted a four-session D&D campaign that recently drew to a close, as well. They also put on the Ace of Games program this past winter, to great success from what I heard. It’s great to see libraries in Vermont are encouraging the tabletop gaming hobby. With National Gaming Day approaching, a friend of mine is making inroads at the Fletcher Free to get some space for tabletop games in addition to the video games they’re hosting.

National Gaming Day

<div><a rel="cc:attributionURL" href=Over at The Escapist, W.J. Walton’s been pushing National Gaming Day @ Your Library, a day to play games of all kinds at your local public library. This is the second annual National Gaming Day. The ALA’s built up a very helpful collection of materials to help promote the day, like the poster to the right. Check out their press kit for more resources to help convince your local library to participate and then promote the shindig.

Here in Burlington, a friend and I are talking with the Fletcher Free Library about getting some tabletop content into their current National Gaming Day programming. Getting board games on the table will be easy. My own hope is to have at least one session of a roleplaying game, so I’m beating the bushes for someone who wants to run a quickie dungeon crawl; Pathfinder, Dungeons & DragonsSwords & Wizardry, I don’t really care. There just needs to be some RPG representation. There’s a d20 on that poster, after all.

I’d run something myself, but I don’t feel comfortable cramming on a system I don’t even know. Maybe I could kitbash a free adventure from one of the retro-clone games for something I feel okay running, like GURPS or Cinematic Unisystem. The key to a situation like this, I think, is to run something easy to grasp and run through, like a dungeon bash.

More news about National Gaming in Burlington as it comes.