Days of a Game Librarian

I work as the curator of a board game bar and café. This is just a place that I hope to put out some musings of what my job is, reflections on games, my average day to day and other things that I love about my job.
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Oct. 21st. MonsDRAWsity

Evan Welsh
United States
Tempe
Arizona
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This is my first ever post for something like this. So I guess I should set some precedents on who I am and what I do? My name is Evan and I am the curator of Snakes & Lattes Tempe. We are a board game cafe and bar in Arizona. My role in the business is all games all the time. From placing orders, prepping new games, overseeing our library, and most importantly I teach a lot of games. And I love that. I love the interaction that my job allows me to have with guests. I think that the role of being a game librarian allows me to open the world of board games and invite people in to share our world.

I was not a gamer before I really got into this job. I knew Catan, Betrayal at House on the Hill, Mysterium, Smallworld, and a good collection of party games but I was not getting out and being able to experience the crazy world. But I was a theatre kid. Performance was something that I put a lot of work into. And I thank my boss for giving me the confidence to go for it. Since then I have been with Snakes & Lattes as a game librarian for three years and I have had so many experiences that I want to share.

As a gamer, I like a lot of different types of games. I am well known for my love of dexterity games, such as Crokinole, Menara, Flying Goblins, Ice Cool, and Pitch Car. I love anything fast paced like Ghost Blitz, Monikers, and Word Slam. And for strategy games right now I am in love with games like Spirit Island, Root (although I’ve never won it) , Hadara, and Chinatown to name a few. I like to think that I give everything a decent chance but I will say I do like easier games more than heavy games in my job. While I have played Lost Ruins of Arnak and some games of that weight, I find that they are harder for me to enjoy with the longer teaching and play times.

Right now though, I have been in love with MonsDRAWsity. I find it just a really well designed game with how it all is wrapped together. I will admit bias with the fact that I like drawing games however this one does stand out of that crowd. With drawing games it sometimes feels very repeated. They have to do something different than other drawing games or else they’re just a cheap knock off and sometimes that feels silly. If you play Pictionary, Pictomania, Kontour, Cave Paintings, Telestrations, or Scrawl they all give you a word and they have you draw the word. I think that is a limitation for them. They have variance, don’t get me wrong. But at the end of the day, if I took cards from one game and put them in another game, for the most part the games would work. MonsDRAWsity does not do that, it gives you the image of a monster. You get to look at it for twenty seconds, and then you have to put it down and describe it while everyone else draws it. But you can’t look at the card while you are describing. And people can ask questions and seek clarifications. But it is that the concept you are trying to communicate is an image that sets it apart from other games in that genre.

I think what I really love about this game is the way that you sit around the table and reveal your drawings and they're bad, they’re all bad. Someone might have the right teeth, someone might have the right nose, or legs, or wings. Then you laugh and poke fun at each other's drawings. No one is perfect, they can’t be, you use dry erase markers and have two minutes to make this drawing. A lot of the tables I have given this game to have someone who likes to draw or is good at drawing, but it isn't a game where you do better than others because of your artistic skill thanks to the moron on the other end of the table who could not remember how many legs the guy had, or that he had buck teeth. And that also means that for those people who think they are bad at drawing, it is ok. You are not going to be alone with the creation of a monstrosity, everyone else will be right there besides you.

Thank you for reading,

I don’t know where this is going to go. I want to write more of this, I want to engage more with people. I don’t have a design plan as it is. I am just gonna write and we will see where it leads. I want to talk about shuffling, I want to talk about kickstarter games, I want to talk about missing pieces and trying to hold games together as they get played hundreds of times. Well, that's for another day.
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