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Take-Home Table Top Games

Join us to explore games featuring Tails and Tales this summer! Your next game night will be the cat’s pajamas with the help of our collection of take-home games and goodies. Sign up for your kit and we’ll set one aside for pickup at a branch of your choice. Become top dog when playing games with your own flock, or go hog wild against other eager beavers at our online Take-Home Table Top events. All ages are welcome.

Events in this series:

Take-Home Table Top Games (Event 1 of 2)
Monday, June 21, 2021 (6:00 PM – 8:00 PM)

Take-Home Table Top Games (Event 2 of 2)
Saturday, July 17, 2021 (2:00 PM – 4:00 PM)

The events will be hosted using the meeting software Zoom. A Johnson County Library staff member will contact you via the email you registered with to determine your kit pickup location and provide instructions on how to access the Zoom meetings. You do not need to download any software or create an account.

Note: Kit supplies are limited. Registering for our events will reserve you a kit to take home. Event registrants will receive a kit whether they choose to attend one, both, or neither of the online events. 

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Our Librarian Josh's Favorite Table Top Games

During this pandemic, board games have been a valuable pastime for many people, whether it's breaking some out with the family and friends or learning how to play games on new online platforms. At Johnson County Library, our Table Top Games Committee has been trying to think of ways that we can share our passion with our patrons even if we can’t meet in person. Join us each month for a virtual Table Top Games event!

Our Librarian Josh's Table Top Games Journey

Hi! I'm Josh. Like Katy, I remember playing games with my family starting at a young age: Sorry, Trouble, Monopoly, Clue, and more. My brother and I almost came to blows when our dad taught us how to play Risk. (To be fair, I did make an alliance with him, only to attack one of his countries a few turns later. But even now that we're adults, I'm not going to invite him to play Munchkin with me.) I was also an imaginative kid, playing Make Believe and Let's Pretend on my own or with friends, making up stories with Star Wars action figures or pretending to be superheroes on the playground during recess. That primed me for getting into tabletop role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons at the same time I was getting bored with traditional board games. It was through the online RPG community that I learned of "Euro-style" tabletop games. I bought Ticket to Ride out of curiosity and LOVED it. Soon after, Wil Wheaton launched his YouTube series TableTop, showing the diversity of new games and, as Katy said, that there was a growing community of players of these new games. So when she asked me if I wanted to help running a monthly tabletop program, I gave her an enthusiastic "YES!" (This earned both of us high fives from Wil when we talked with him at Planet Comicon one year. #humblebrag) I can't wait for this pandemic to be over so I can go back to playing games with people in person. And no, I haven't played the game Pandemic at all this year.

Josh's favorite games: Ticket to Ride, Pirate's Cove, Munchkin, Smash Up, Betrayal at House on the Hill, Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition, Fate, 7th Sea, Mage: The Ascension, Trinity Continuum.

Read our other Table Top Games Committee members' stories and favorite games »

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Our Librarian Ian's Favorite Table Top Games

During this pandemic, board games have been a valuable pastime for many people, whether it's breaking some out with the family and friends or learning how to play games on new online platforms. At Johnson County Library, our Table Top Games Committee has been trying to think of ways that we can share our passion with our patrons even if we can’t meet in person. Join us each month for a virtual Table Top Games event!

Ian's Table Top Games Story

I have always been an avid video gamer, but my board game experience was limited to Trivial Pursuit until I started working as a teen services librarian at the Kansas City Public Library. I volunteered to participate in a tabletop gaming initiative a couple of the other intrepid teen services librarians were starting in our system. I was aware that these fancy and complicated European tabletop games existed, but they seemed too complicated for me to seek out on my own. I quickly learned that the difficulty curve of modern board games was mostly something I had invented in my head. I founded a weekly teen tabletop gaming program at my branch and it quickly became my favorite part of the workweek. When I came over to Johnson County Library and found that they had their own Table Top Games programming, I tried to keep my cool when my manager asked if I wanted to be involved with it. “Yeah, that would be cool,” I said, doing backflips and fist pumps in my head.

One of my favorite things about tabletop gaming is that they covertly promote useful life skills. In my tabletop gaming incubator we would play games and then discuss which 21st Century skills they reinforced. These included things like literacy, leadership, teamwork, and flexibility. My favorite games are those that have a low barrier of entry but have tons of replayability.

Some of my favorite games:

Splendour - Who knew a game about Renaissance jewel merchants could be so THRILLING. Granted, a lot of this games appeal is its excellent gameplay mechanics (and wonderfully tactile poker chip “jewel” tokens). It’s a game where every single playthrough teaches you a new, better way to play. It’s almost plain unfair that there is an app version of this (which I had to delete from my phone to, you know, be a productive member of society).

Carcassone - Another example of “who knew a game about constructing a medieval fortified town in France could be so much dang fun!” The Germans really know what they are doing when it comes to elegant game design. This is another one of those games that takes minutes to learn, and a lifetime to master.

Takenoko - If this game is available at one of our game nights, I’m usually going to try to make people play it with me. While this game growing bamboo for a voracious panda is pretty cutesy on the surface, the gameplay is phenomenal and so much fun.

Betrayal at House on the Hill - I’m not a big horror movie guy, but this game about a group of people exploring a haunted house is one of my favorites. It’s all the fun of a D&D-esque role playing game without having to learn any lore or math. Best of all is when the game switches up halfway through and one of your party members starts working with the monsters (vampires, werewolves, giant amorphous blobs, there are dozens of crazy horror movie scenarios!) trying to destroy you.

Ticket to Ride - This is my favorite game to introduce folks to the wild and wonderful world of board games beyond Monopoly. It’s hard to think of a more perfect gateway game.

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Our Librarian Tami's Favorite Table Top Games

During this pandemic, board games have been a valuable pastime for many people, whether it's breaking some out with the family and friends or learning how to play games on new online platforms. At Johnson County Library, our Table Top Games Committee has been trying to think of ways that we can share our passion with our patrons even if we can’t meet in person. Join us each month for a virtual Table Top Games event!

Tami's Board Game Journey

I have always been a huge board game fan, starting with the classics like Monopoly, The Game of Life, and Clue. But, it wasn’t until a road trip in 2014 that tabletop gaming became a family obsession.

We were heading to Hutchinson, KS for our first visit to the Cosmosphere and Strataca Salt Mines, and ended up staying in nearby McPherson, KS. An internet search for things to do in McPherson led us to discover The Village Geek, a store that sells comics, video games, and board games. That sounded right up our geeky alley! So, we checked it out, and decided a board game might be a fun way to pass the evening at the hotel.

Board games had changed a lot from my childhood, so we began chatting with an employee for advice. He suggested a few favorites, including Forbidden Island. If you’re not familiar, Forbidden Island is a cooperative game, where everyone plays together against the game to reach a common goal. We’d never played a co-op game before, but it sounded like a great way to keep the peace in a small hotel room.

I don’t even remember if we won or lost that first game. But, we had a great time working together to gather the artifacts and escape before the island sank away. We were hooked! So of course, when the Table Top Games Committee was looking to expand, I jumped on the chance to bring Table Top Games to the Blue Valley branch. I work at a different branch now, serving as a backup host and helping out behind the scenes.

My Favorites (right now, anyway):

Hogwarts Battle, Raiders of the North Sea, 7 Wonders, Bunny Kingdom, Epic Monster Tea Party, Dixit

Read our other Table Top Games Committee members' stories and favorite games »

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Our Librarian Courtney's Favorite Games

During this pandemic, board games have been a valuable pastime for many people, whether it's breaking some out with the family and friends or learning how to play games on new online platforms. At Johnson County Library, our Table Top Games Committee has been trying to think of ways that we can share our passion with our patrons even if we can’t meet in person. We are looking forward to online gaming events starting next year, so if you are interested in playing games, please stay tuned for our first program starting January 6th!

Courtney shares her favorite games throughout her life

Hey there! I’m Courtney and I work and host Tabletop Games at the Antioch branch. I got involved with board gaming at the library just as the program began expanding from being hosted at just one location, to eventually five locations, which gave me the opportunity to join this awesome team. My favorite thing about Tabletop Games at the library is the community of people it brings together and the connections we make while playing games with each other.

I have enjoyed board games for as long as I can remember enjoying anything. So, it’d be hard to tell you how I got into board gaming, but what I can tell you is what some of my favorite games have been, starting from the beginning.

Cooties: This is the first game I can remember. As a small kiddo, being able to build a cute little critter while playing a game was super exciting to me. Fun stuff!

Guess Who: I played this a lot as an elementary-aged kid. At the time, I liked that I could be all smug about figuring out JUST the right question to ask to knock down as many possible people as I could manage. As an adult, I appreciate the introduction to deductive reasoning that I got while doing it.

Clue: My affection for games seems to have grown hand-in-hand with my affection for mysteries. I loved it when I got to figure out who did it!

Scattergories: This is the first game I played with my whole family that everyone seemed to be interested in (in contrast to the kids’ games that I knew weren’t being played for the benefit of the adults). I learned how neat party games can be with the right group!

Trivial Pursuit: I played this frequently with my high school friends. It was our default plan when we were looking for free things to do with our time indoors. My friend group was a bit nerdy, so this was right up our alley.

Settlers of Catan: This is the first “Eurogame” I ever played. I was introduced to it while I was visiting, in college, one of my nerdy friends from high school. I remember being excited the idea that there were all these other board games out there like this that I had never even heard of.

Stone Age: Still my favorite worker-placement game! I feel like the mechanic for gaining resources, with its mix of strategy and randomness, is both creative and very appropriate to the theme.

Race for the Galaxy: My favorite thing about this is how everyone is always engaged in playing; there’s very little waiting for other people to finish their turn. Also, space is really neat!

Love Letter: This is a current go-to standby for my gaming friends. The rules are super easy, it can be played really quickly, and you can put as much strategic thinking as you want to into your playing. Also, it’s a good game for having fun while being a bit of a jerk.

Camel Up: It’s about betting on racing camels, which is as absurd as it sounds and makes for lots of boisterous interactions. This is currently my favorite game for large groups with players of varying ages. It’s got crazy camel fun for everybody!

Azul: A quiet, strategic game with beautiful art that has been nice to play during such a chaotic year. The pieces are really lovely and it’s a nice experience even when you lose, which is definitely something I can appreciate, especially right now.

Read our other Table Top Games Committee members' stories and favorite games »

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Our Librarian Katy and Table Top Games

During this pandemic, board games have been a valuable pastime for many people, whether it's breaking some out with the family and friends or learning how to play games on new online platforms. At Johnson County Library, our Table Top Games Committee has been trying to think of ways that we can share our passion with our patrons even if we can’t meet in person. We are looking forward to online gaming events starting next year, so if you are interested in playing games, please stay tuned for our first program starting January 6th!

Katy talks about the beginning of Table Top Games at the Library

Since I was young, I remember playing games with my family, and that it was a special time that I always enjoyed. I remember taking great pride in beating my parents at Memory, and when I was older I enjoyed playing Sorry, Sequence, and a host of other games. Around high school I started noticing that big box stores didn’t really change their games out that much. They would just tweak Clue or Monopoly and put a different theme or cover on it, and I was getting tired of playing the same thing over and over again. Then when I reached college, I was introduced to Settlers of Catan, and I remember loving getting to play something new and unique, and I started looking for more games like it. After college, I realized there was a whole world of games that I had never heard of or seen before that were just waiting for me if I knew where to look. 

With my growing passion for playing games and my blossoming collection, I started seeking them out at local game stores like 31st Century Games and Table Top Game & Hobby. Around this time, Wil Wheaton started his YouTube show, Table Top, and I realized that this new hobby that I was falling in love with was starting to have a major following. I started to dream about how I could bring Table Top games into my job at the Library. I approached one of my co-workers, Josh, about starting a Table Top program, and we got the approval to start a program at the Lackman Library in 2013. It turns out other people in our community enjoyed playing games as well, because we have run the program continuously until this March, when Covid-19 made meeting in person impossible. However, we look forward to the day when we can host more gaming programs again at the library and share our love of gaming with you!

Katy’s Favorite Games:

Sagrada, Ticket to Ride, Splendor, Ganz Schon Clever! (That’s Pretty Clever!), Wingspan, Camel Up!, Horrified, Dragon’s Breath (to play with my children), Kingdomino

Read our other Table Top Games Committee members' stories and favorite games »

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Table Top Games

Learn the Game of Go or join us for one of our regularly scheduled Table Top Games events!

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Teen Events

We've got plenty to keep you entertained and having fun.

Young Adult Literary Council - earn volunteer hours, grab a snack, and meet new people

Table Top Games - bring your favorite game to share or learn a new one at the event

Teen Bullet Journal Club - organize, decorate, and share ideas for your bullet journal

Teen Creative Writing Workshop - join us to hone your writing skills

MakerSpace events - Beginners Night, Clothing Repair Workshop, and more

And there's more! Check our full schedule of teen events »

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Gaming @ the Library

Board games have brought family and friends together for years, and we are now in a golden age of game choices! Join us for enjoyable games, meet new friends and have new adventures. All ages welcome.

  • Antioch Library, first Wednesdays, 6 pm »
  • Blue Valley Library, second Wednesdays, 6 pm »
  • Central Resource Library, third Mondays, 6 pm »
  • Monticello Library, third Thursdays, 6 pm »
  • Gardner Library, fourth Saturdays, 12 pm »

This Fall you also have three chances to learn The Game of Go, an ancient Chinese strategy game.

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Subscribe to the Did you hear? podcast to keep up on what our Librarians recommend and what’s happening at Johnson County Library! Subscribing is free and ensures the newest episode will be delivered to you the way you want:

Or search for “Did you hear?” on Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts!

Elementia, Book Burnout, Table Top Games, and Award Winners

We dedicated this episode of Did you hear? to Award Winners (12:36). From Bram Stoker to William Allen White award winners, you’ll find it all at jocolibrary.org/explore

Today we recommend cures to book burnout (13:04), discuss table top game nights (24:23) and offer board game suggestions as well. 

But first, Kate McNair brings teen writers and artists to talk with Dave Carson about elementia! (:28)