Saturday, November 19, 2016

International Games Day 2016

Stop by your library to share in the gaming fun, meet new people, and maybe learn a thing about yourself. Participating branches may have game times organized by age, life-sized gaming, or simply open free time with games available.

Thanks to the American Library Association!
Support your local library. Join in the fun. Celebrate International Games Day.

Last year I made some suggestions for those of you new to the gaming world. This year, I thought I'd introduce you to some unsung illustrators, those who create the art for board games and cards. Along the way, you might find a new game worth trying.

Dixit, by Asmodee Games
Don't tell me you haven't played yet! Great for all ages, Dixit is a party game, sort of like Apples to Apples or Balderdash with pictures.

And what pictures!

Each of the cards has a bizarre, surreal illustration, so half the fun is staring at the artwork. Even better, there are a dozen expansion packs with, you guessed it, more cards. For more info, there's a good description on Thirsty Meeples.

My favorite artist may be Xavier Collette, but I love Maria Cardouat's original cards too. Other illustrators include Franck Dion, Pierô, Carine Hinder, and Jérôme Pélissier.

A sample of Dixit card art.

DragonMaster, by E. S. Lowe
OK. It's not fair for me to show you this game, because it's pretty rare, but we love Dragonmaster for its adaptability and its art.

Basically a standard pitch-type trick-taking game, this fantasy version offers four new suits (Nomads, Warriors, Dragonlords, and Druids), new characters (from the fool through the king), and plastic gems to keep score. (Just like the ones used in Lazer Attack. Remember that one?)

Our kooky family has invented almost a dozen variations of this game at last count. You can find them explained on Whatsits Galore.
I'm convinced this game's appeal comes from the fabulous artwork by Bob Pepper, Mid-Century psychedelic paperback book cover legend.

A sampling of Dragonmaster cards
Courtesy 2 Warps to Neptune

And a random sampling of other greats

Guillotine action cards illustrated by Quinton Hoover

Escape From the Aliens in Outer Space,Art by Giulia Ghigini

Tokaido, art by Xavier Durin AKA Naiiade

Mission Red Planet, 1st ed.
art by Christophe Madura

Mission Red Planet, 2nd ed.
Art by Andrew Bosley

Game cafes are popping up all over the country. You can stop by to play  or sample anything in their vast collections, usually for an hourly fee. These are great places to meet and relax, eat and laugh. Experiment to find your favorite games, then buy them at your local games store.
My current favorite is The Games Keep [561 E Gay St, West Chester, PA 19380, Phone:(484) 905-5533]
Local game stores, like local book stores need your support.
Can't find one? Try the Steve Jackson Games store finder or this one from Fireside Games, or Rio Grande's locator for a retailer near you. Online, I like Funagain Games. What are you waiting for?

Happy International Games Day!

Please leave your family's favorite past time in the comments. 
We love to try new games.


  1. Our family loves Balderdash, and Dixit looks amazing. Also, you're right about the art on Dragonmaster: now I want that game! I'm guessing it's an old game that's not available anymore?

    1. Yep. Sorry. It was produced in the 70's, I think. I sometimes find copies at yard sales or on ebay. You could try there. But definitely try Dixit. (Available online, through game stores, or even at Target.) Especially since you are a creative. I think you'll have a great time. Thanks.


Thank-you for taking time to share your thoughts!