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January 19, 2018

Get Your Game On At The Library

Get Your Game On At The Library

By: Joseph Wooley

If you have spent time around the Hamilton East Public Library in the past few months, you have no doubt noticed our growing board game collection. Whether you walk past the ever-expanding shelves of games in Noblesville or request them delivered to Fishers, our new collection is hard to miss. Believe me: the collection has been more popular than even we anticipated. We now have over 100 board games, mostly expansive, strategic, “Euro-style” games. Why are we so proud of our collection? This may seem obvious to anyone already entrenched in the board game community, but for those not as familiar with the collection, there is a variety of reasons why we find it important.

Picture this: a busy family—constantly going in different directions—might have one night a week where everyone is home together. People may be friends at school or work, but they still need a reason to get together outside of those settings. Board games do exactly this; they function to bring people closer together (and they get people away from the dreaded “screen time”). Game designers, Fireside Games, outline some ways playing games improves our social interactions. And it does not need to get competitive! Rather than hostility, cooperative games force the players to work as a team to solve a challenge laid out by the game.

Board games also encourage different ways to think about challenges. Depending on the skill level of the game, players may be required to keep several strategies in mind to follow at the right times. An article from the Guardian outlines lessons to learn at any age from the right games, including the importance of being able to set aside daily life for a bit and simply play. The level of creativity is variable as well. Because the structures of each games are clearly defined, you can play a game exactly as designed. Just as easily, however, you can adapt a game to what seems more fun to you. Like other art forms, a game is what you make of it.

If you are still not convinced that board games are useful, choose a game (or several) to try at home. Ask a reference librarian for some advice, if you have no idea where to begin. Personally, I have enjoyed some games so much that I needed to purchase my own copy! Hopefully, you will receive the enjoyment and benefits of one of our newest collections.