In case you are not aware, being quiet in the library is a thing in the past. And don’t get me (or librarians) started on common librarian tropes. Replacing the absolute quietness is a wide array of services: makerspaces, audio/video recording equipment, and much more.
In addition to all of that is the circulation of non-standard library items, including board games; though they are often “in-library” only items. But, that’s ok by me. If you want to see the types of games being incorporated into library collections, you can check out our post on the topic.
What I’m interested in here, though, are those board games dedicated to the most library of items: books.
So, come along with me as we investigate the stacks.
Games About Books
Ah, yes. An ode to books comprised of a board and various game pieces.
And of course I start this off with a game that is not about books. But books are just containers for stories. And stories are what Story Cubes are all about.
I love this game. I love the creativity the dice inspire. I love the fact that you can make the game competitive or collaborative. And I love the fact that people of all ages can participate (ok, there is probably a minimum age required to really participate).
The game really can be as simple as: 1) roll dice, and 2) start telling a story. There are directions you can follow, but my playgroups usually just do our own thing.
Start with the classic, and add expansions as desired later. Or, take my word for it and pick up something extras now. You won’t be disappointed.
Bring Your Own Book
So, this is like book club. But way more exciting (no offense to book clubs, I promise).
Everyone brings their favorite book. Or their longest book. Or the book they have memorized. Or, really any book.
Bring Your Own Book uses similar game mechanics to Cards Against Humanity in that there is one person designated as the Picker who chooses the prompt for the round, as well as chooses the round’s winner.
The twist, and why everyone brings a book, is that the answers can be any sequential text from your book. So, just which phrase from Game of Thrones will you select as the answer to “advice for graduating seniors”?
Gather up your literary and non-literary friends alike, and have a page-turning good time.
But, you can often find one at a more reasonable price on Ebay.
It Was a Dark and Stormy Night
A trivia game based on the first line from literary texts. Sure, sign me up!
Hint: While the title of the game uses a much-maligned cliche opening, it is actually the first line of a popular book.
I’ve included this one for completeness, but I would not necessarily consider seeking it out. As you may have already guessed, it used a Monopoly-based gameplay. Players seek to collect property (which have book and author facts printed on them) and ultimately build bookstores (houses) or libraries (hotels) on the properties.
Games Related to a Specific Book or Author
Ah, yes. For those literary fans who like to game as well. This list is a mix of classics and modern popular fiction. Everything from Pride and Prejudice to Harry Potter has been turned into a board game.
Speaking of he-who-shall-have-a-lightning-bolt-scar, I’ve already compiled a list of some of the better Harry Potter games available, so I’m not going to repeat them here. I will save you the click, and suggest that you check out Hogwarts Battle if you enjoy both Harry Potter and cooperative card games. Or, you can read more about the game on this site.
221B Baker Street Master Detective
I am a really fast reader. Skimmer is actually the more accurate term. So, I end up missing some details but then I re-read books that I enjoy in order to pick up on anything I missed. Compare that to my wife who meticulously reads each page and can recall basically the entire book. Details included.
The only exception for me is detective stories. I love a good puzzle, and detective stories are intricate textual puzzles. I will pore over pages, making sure I have not missed anything before turning to the next page.
221B Baker Street Master Detective brings the thrill of solving a mystery to board games. And you get to compete with your friends to see who can figure out first. Think Clue, mixed with a healthy dose of Sherlock Holmes.
Marrying Mr. Darcy
Marrying Mr. Darcy has players assume the role of a character from Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. I will admit, this premise does make me want to rush out and pick up a copy.
That said, it is an interesting game: it utilizes roleplaying elements as players strive to become desirable by available suitors.
The game was popular enough to warrant the publication of a sequel: Emma.
Pride and Prejudice Board Game
Pride and Prejudice fans are in luck: both the prior game and this one seek to immerse you in P&P culture.
Unfortunately, I feel safe saying that Marrying Mr. Darcy is the better game. This one is a basic movement game that is dependent on the luck of the roll.
But if you’re a Austen collector, you may want to seek out a copy and give it a
Bards Dispense Profanity
Shakespeare + Cards Against Humanity = A Shakespearean Throwdown!
Now, this game is not actually affiliated with Cards Against Humanity, but it borrows the same approach of requiring players to complete prompts using quotes taken straight from Shakespeare’s play.
You and up to 19 of your friends use Shakespeare quotations to respond to mock-serious questions. With 100 prompt cards and 375 answers cards, you won’t need to a Globe Theater expansion (not real) anytime soon.
And if the bard does not do it for you, you can always look at a different party game (What Do You Meme?) reviewed on this site.
The game is based on Frank Herbert’s classic book (and series). Dune (the game) was originally released around 40 years ago, and it received a much needed update this year.
This asymmetrically designed game is a heavy game. Much, much heavier than any other game listed here. For the full experience, you will want to find 5 other friends who are willing to spend 5-6 hours playing a game.
Games Related to Libraries
Imagine you are one of several book collectors in your village. And that you are super competitive about which one of you is the most knowledgeable. And now, you finally have a chance to prove your self: the mayor will be appointing someone the Grand Librarian.
To do this, you need to search high and low for the best and rarest books.
The game uses common worker and tile placement mechanics, but its sure to show you that book collecting is serious gaming business.