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Celebrate International Tabletop Gaming Day: Books, Movies, and More that will get you Gaming!

29 May

June 1st is International Tabletop Gaming Day. With our modern world where technology feels like it can isolate as well as connect us, now seems the perfect time to gather round and spend time bonding with family and friends while gaming.

Role Playing Games: Dungeons and Dragons
Dungeons and Dragons Art
One of my favorite bonding activities as a kid was playing Dungeons and Dragons with my dad and my sister on the weekends. It was like getting to take part in some of my favorite fantasy novels. I’ve been brushing up on the basics and look forward to playing the game with my son and husband. In the Elfish Gene: Dungeons and Dragons and Growing Up Strange, Mark Barrowcliff looks back at his own youth and his role playing experiences; you can borrow it from Hoopla.

If you are interested in playing D&D yourself, BCCLS libraries have you covered with  Guides and Monster Manuals. Plus you can borrow items looking back on D&D’s history such as Dungeons & Dragons Art & Arcana: A Visual History which looks at the evolving artwork associated with the game. You can also borrow the Dungeons and Dragons cartoon series (sweet Saturday Morning Nostalgia) on DVD. A few BCCLS Libraries also have the live action film adaptation, but like many critics and fans, I found the movie disappointing and not an accurate representation of the game.

Dungeons and Dragons and Philosophy: Raiding the Temple of Wisdom edited by Jon Cogburn and Mark Silcox contains essays on different philosophical concepts that can be understood through and about the game including topics like ethics, morality, and metaphysical questions on topics like the boundary between magic and science. The final section focuses on game theory. If you enjoy this pop culture take on philosophy you can checkout others in the series which uses everything Monty Python to Zelda to deepen our understanding of the things we love and the world around us.

If you’ve never played an RPG before you can get insight (and entertainment) from the many web series that are now online such as the extremely popular Critical Role featuring the high fantasy of Dungeon and Dragons.  Sirens of the Realm is a lot of fun; imagine if the Go-Go’s  or the Bangles were fantasy bards. My current personal favorite is the urban fantasy of Vampire The Masquerade: LA Nights; its third season starts streaming on Twitch on June 1, but you can watch previous episodes from season one and two on YouTube; watch the first episode now.

If you like D&D than you should love the book we are reading for our next Science Fiction/Fantasy Book Group here at the library, Nicholas Eames’s Kings of the Wyld!  Eames even drew some inspiration from the game.  Stop by the Reference Desk to pick up a copy or Hoboken Residents checkout an ebook version from eLibraryNJ; join us for the discussion on June 17 at 6 PM.  Before hand we will be watching episodes of a fun classic fantasy series starting at 4 PM.

Board Games: Clue and Monopoly
clue Monopoly
Lacking the competitive gene, unlike my younger sister a Monopoly fanatic, I wasn’t as much of a board game fan as a kid. There were a few exceptions though and my hands down favorite game was always Clue. I’ve always loved mysteries even at a young age and Clue for me was less about winning than getting to play detective and figure out which of the characters was guilty.  Now I enjoy playing board games with my son, many of which I’m pleased to see now are more about team work than winning.

My sister and I both loved the Clue movie adaptation which we watched probably about 50 times at least; you can borrow it on DVD from BCCLS Libraries. When it was shown in the theaters it had one of three different endings; you can view them all. You can also borrow a Clue comic book adaptation from Hoopla.

If you are more a Monopoly fan you can check out the Emmy Award winning documentary, Under the Boardwalk: The Monopoly Story on DVD or streaming from Kanopy.

During the Teen Department’s Games in the Garden event, our beautiful garden space is open to teens every Thursday from 4 PM-5 PM where they can play a variety of our board games.

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Head of Reference

Haunting NY City History Mysteries: Murder on Millionaires’ Row & Gin and Panic

13 Mar

I always enjoy a good mystery series, but I find historical mysteries have the added charm of an interesting setting.  Since Hoboken is right across the river from New York City these especially caught my fancy since they depicted familiar haunts as they might have been years ago. These two books also have added some added spookiness with possible ghosts.  I hope you’ll check them out and enjoy them as well!

Murder on Millionaires’ Row
by Erin Lindsey
Millionaires' Row
Set in the end of the 1880’s this new historical mystery series includes a dash of gaslight fantasy.  In Murder on Millionaires’ Row, Rose Gallagher is a housemaid of Irish descent who yearns for bigger things than the small tenement apartment she grew up in Five Point.  Then her boss – who she has a crush on – disappears. It’s in searching for him that she finds she might just have the adventure and life she always dreamed of.  With ghosts and other supernatural elements giving a gothic feel, this novel should appeal to fans of Leanna Renee Hieber’s Eterna Files series which I had written about in a previous blog post.  Some elements of romance and other plot points setup a way in for other books in the series, which I look forward to reading when they are published in the future.  Lindsey’s clear love of her adopted home shines through in the interesting historical details she sprinkles throughout the work.

Gin and Panic
by Maia Chance
GinandPanic
I enjoyed Gin and Panic so much that I immediately went back and checked out Come Hell or High Ball, the first in this flapper era Discreet Retrieval Agency Mystery series.  Lola Woodby is a former socialite who manages to scrape by in Prohibition Era NY with the help of her former Swedish Cook, and now PI partner.  In Gin and Panic Lola and Berta head to a Connecticut estate to try to retrieve a rhinoceros head hunting trophy to its “rightful” owner, but soon their services are being retained to solve a possible murder.  Lola isn’t sure if she is being menaced by someone living or dead when she is attacked in the course of her investigation.  The light hearted humor of the novel will have you at the very least smiling, if not laughing out loud. If you enjoy the period setting of the series and feisty female detectives make sure to check out my favorite Phryne Fisher series set in 1920’s Australia which had previously been written about.

Looking for more novels with historical settings check out my post about mysteries set in the 1930’s.  Have a favorite historical mystery of your own?  Share it with us in the comments!

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Head of Reference

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