Calvin’s Commentaries: Libraria

When it comes to abstract strategy games there is a lot to be said for simplicity.

The easier a game is to grasp in terms of rules, the better the chance of enticing someone not usually into abstract strategy games to give it a whirl.

Of course, the game must have some depth of play in spite of any simplicity in order to be more than a passing interest.

Games that are a tad overly simple in play become generally filler games, the kind you squeeze in at the end of a night of gaming, or over coffee with a bud.

Libraria, a game by Marcello Bertocchi from XV Games falls squarely into the simple filler category.

“The players take the role of Librarians who fight for the control of the bookshelves. They try to get as many books as possible while watching out for book-eating mice,” denotes the intro to the game in the rulebook.

As is often the case the library theme is pasted on to the game, having no true bearing on play, but it still works.

Setup is simple, as laid out in the rules, “Shuffle the bookshelf tiles and put them in random order on the table creating a 5X5 square board. This board is called “the bookshelf”. The bookshelf has 36 spots where a counter can be placed; the 36 intersections of the lines around each tile. Each player chooses a colour and takes all the counters of that colour. The player who most recently has been into a library is declared the starting player. Otherwise, determine the starting player randomly.”

It then is simply a case of placing stones on the corners of the tiles, the player with the majority at game’s end, (three corners), gets the tile.

Tiles with books count toward your score, based on the number of books pictured.

If you get a tile with a mouse, it’s a negative to your score.

That’s it folks, about as simple as a game gets.

They suggest 10-minutes play and that would be accurate.

The good thing, you can teach youngsters the game, the spouse not really into abstract strategy games, frankly anyone, so therein lies the greatest merit of Libraria. It is very much an

entry-level abstract strategy game that is still fun to pull out and play.

Check it out at

Thanks to fellow gamers Trevor Lyons and Adam Daniels for their help in running through this game for review.


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