Want to kill the monsters? Steal the treasure? Try playing the board game Munchkin Deluxe, now available to check out as part of Shrewsbury Public Library’s new tabletop game collection.
At a time when most games are played on a screen, librarian Walker Evans has acquired an array of 18 strategy, cooperative, and party games that use dice, cards, and intricate playing boards.
“I’ve always been a big fan of tabletop and pencil and paper games,” said Evans, who lives in Worcester. “I think that gaming like this has been thought of as a niche interest, but with the diversity of published tabletop games there really is something for everybody.”
The library already has several gaming initiatives in place, such as a series of drop-in gaming nights called “This Is How We Roll” and a video gaming program for young adults. The library also held an International Tabletop Day event, which, according to Evans, drew a hefty crowd.
“I feel like this is a good mesh with Shrewsbury,” said Evans. “Shrewsbury residents are definitely open to having this sort of collection through the library and are excited about it.”
Games in the new collection include “Settlers of Catan,” where players represent settlers establishing colonies, and “Forbidden Desert” whereby players must find and use resources to survive the desert.
Some games such as “Hamsterrolle” — which involves placing pieces on a rotating board in such a way that weight is continually redistributed — cannot be found at most US retailers and is purchased directly from the manufacturer in Germany.
“I think that it’s a really excited time. There is a lot of really unique stuff being published,” said Evans. “Hopefully we can introduce Shrewsbury residents to a new world of hobbies for them and hopefully expand some horizons, open some eyes.”
Tabletop games — especially modern designer board games — are becoming more popular because they offer critical thinking, problem solving, and imagination in a social environment, Evans explained.
“Tabletop games that are produced today are a lot more interactive and complex, when people think about older tabletop games like Monopoly,” said Evans. The new games “bring people together and [create] positive interactions in a real physical space. That is something that the library is about in Shrewsbury; we strive to be a community sector to bring people together.”
This tabletop collection is one that the Shrewsbury Public Library plans to cultivate and maintain throughout the years. Although the collection has just been released for the public to take to their homes, Evans said there are always new games being published, to be added to the library’s collection.
“Public libraries are always striving to find new ways to support needs of their communities,” Evans said. “Part of being a librarian is matching people with things that they would enjoy, whether it is matching people with a book they would enjoy or with a movie they would enjoy watching, or in this case with a more interactive experience of playing tabletop games.”