By Kristen Allen-Vogel
On Friday, June 28 at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel, the Games and Gaming Round Table and the Graphic Novels Members Interest Group hosted ALA Play. Attendees had the chance to mingle, try out a wide variety of games, and discuss what games they had enjoyed recently, all the while assisted with the game rules by members of the hosting groups.
Fans of Settlers of Catan gathered around Catan Junior, a simplified version of the game that would be ideal for a library program meant to target younger patrons while remaining enjoyable for those who are familiar with the original. Telestrations, a game which combines "telephone" and Pictionary, also proved popular. To play, each player passes a pad around the table, alternately drawing a picture of the word that he or she read and then guessing the word based on the picture drawn by the person next to him or her, until the pad gets back to the person who started and everybody sees how the word changed as it circled the table.
Attendees also had the chance to create their own dice games, directions for which they wrote on index cards and posted on one wall. People could then vote on their favorite games by adding gold stars to the corresponding index cards.
Although there were fewer opportunities for cosplay and less emphasis on the Lovecraft theme than I expected based on the event description, face-painting provided a fun addition to the evening. There were many game- and graphic novel-related door prizes and giveaways, and materials such as Mayfair Games catalogs provided useful information for librarians considering starting game events at their libraries for a wide range of ages. Additionally, the Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab brought a 3D printer which was available to try. All in all, ALA Play was a relaxed, fun, and entertainingly informative way to kick off the Annual Convention.
Kristen Allen-Vogel is a reference librarian at the Dayton Metro Library in Dayton, OH.