Last month, I shared how game days work with my game group. Each month I will be posting our game day themes and games menu along with my thoughts on the games we played. Our January Saturday Game Day was all about “The Written Word.” The menu included games about books, games based on books, and games about letters and words. What are YOUR favorite games in this category?
Ex Libris
Ex Libris

Designer: Adam P. McIver
Artist: Jacqui DavisAdam P. McIverAnita Osburn
Publisher: Lavka GamesRenegade Game Studios
I looooove Ex Libris. It was on my Top Nine New-to-me Games of 2017 list. I love books, work at a library, and am currently pursing my Master of Science in Library and Information Science (first classes today, woo!), so this game wins BIG with me on theme. Sending out assistants to gather up rare tomes so I can curate the best library collection? Sign me up! Ex Libris is a wonderful worker placement puzzle-y game that I could play all day.
I only have two issues with the game, though none of them really effect my desire to play. First, there is a “banned book” category that you are supposed to avoid collecting for your library in the game, which really goes against how I actually feel about what libraries are supposed to be.
Upgraded Ex Libris First Player Token
Second, the first player token (a smooth, plain white plastic gem) is BORING compared to the rest of the game art, which is glorious. We do not use the token that game with the game and instead we use this fantastic “Alice in Wonderland” resin chair figure. The chair fits in with the art and is a lot more fun to steal when you take first player! I got the chair at a little shop while visiting friends in Iowa, but you can find it online here.

Beyond Baker Street
Beyond Baker Street
Designer: Robin LeesSteve Mackenzie
Artist: Marie-Elaine BérubéAtha Kanaani
Publisher: Filosofia ÉditionsZ-Man Games
Beyond Baker Street was quick and fun, but we only played a beginner game. I am looking forward to playing a regular game with the character cards to get some added depth. So far I like it as a filler game, though. It is a great take on Hanabi (it actually surpasses Hanabi on my list). The Sherlock theme is superb and works very well. The art is great. I love all the little details on the suspect, motive, and opportunity cards — we had fun reading through them after we played. The game would work well as a writing prompt because you could write short mystery stories based on the outcome of each game!

Designer: Tim Fowers
Artist: Ryan Goldsberry
Publisher: Fowers Games
Paperback is like Dominion with words… and better! I have never been a huge Dominion fan, so when Paperback was described to me as “similar to Dominion,” I was less than excited. It is so much fun, though! I feel like the things I am doing in Paperback are more productive than in Dominion. I enjoy the puzzle of trying to create a word with the cards in your hand. The attack cards add fun twists when they come out, as well as moments of panic when you have just created the PERFECT word and then someone plays an attack that forbids you from using the common letter and… your word… is ruined. SO! You have to be quick on your brain and come up with something else! Fun, quick, puzzle-y and definitely worth a play. Fowers Games has Hardback out this year, which I am really looking forward to playing once I can get my hands on a copy.

Code Names


Designer: Vlaada Chvátil
Artist: Stéphane GantiezTomáš Kučerovský
Publisher: Czech Games Edition
We played Codenames for a quick, in-between games, let’s-get-everyone-together game. Codenames is a party game with elements of Taboo and Minesweeper. It is played Team vs. Team with one player from each team giving one-word clues to get their team to guess all the correct words before the other team or before the “bomb word” is guessed. It is not a go-to game for me, but it is something I will play if everyone else is in for it. For clue-giving puzzlers, I am much more inclined to play Mysterium, which grabs my attention with its theme, art, and game play.

What are your favorite games that feature books and/or word themes?

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