Top Menu

Gaming

gaming-header

Welcome to Durham County Library’s Gaming page, your home for all things gaming in the library collection and event calendar. Explore the “Events” and “Collection” to see everything we have to offer. Enjoy!


Featured Event:

Dungeons & Dragons in the Library
Saturdays, Feb. 6 and Mar. 5, 2 p.m.; Tuesdays, Feb. 9 and Mar. 8, 6 p.m.
Main Library, 300 N. Roxboro St.

Delve deep into dark dungeons and face challenges to make the bravest hero quake with fear… all without leaving the library. Register up to four weeks in advance (Feb. 6; Feb. 9; Mar. 5; Mar. 8).

The waiting list for this program works a bit differently than most. In fact, without emailing jwdavis@dconc.gov, you won’t even know if you’re on the waiting list or not until the week of the program. This is to make it easier for new participants to get a seat at the table, and for players who haven’t played for a while (but who can’t be sitting at the computer Wednesday at noon clicking refresh) to play again. Again, email jwdavis@dconc.gov if you have questions.

Also, while you can register for more than one D&D program a month, you can only play-in/observe, and claim points for, one program per calendar month.


Featured Book:

Player of Games by Iain M. Banks
F BANKS
A distant-future space opera and sequel to Consider Phlebas, this book features an encounter with a society whose very structure depends on an immense game. From the publisher: “The Culture – a human/machine symbiotic society – has thrown up many great Game Players, and one of the greatest is Gurgeh. Jernau Morat Gurgeh. The Player of Games. Master of every board, computer and strategy. Bored with success, Gurgeh travels to the Empire of Azad, cruel and incredibly wealthy, to try their fabulous game…a game so complex, so like life itself, that the winner becomes emperor. Mocked, blackmailed, almost murdered, Gurgeh accepts the game, and with it the challenge of his life – and very possibly his death.”

All the upcoming gaming events for all age groups at the library — come and see us!




The library has many books and other materials about games and gaming, including instructions, fiction with games as a theme, and much more.  Here’s a selection of what we have to offer!

Durham County Library's RPG Collection

The Durham County Library’s role playing game collection is part of the general collection, and each game may be checked out like any other book.  Much of the collection was made possible by a grant from the Friends of the Durham Library.

Dungeons & Dragons by various
In a world of deadly monsters and forbidding dungeons, mighty heroes come forth in search of adventure and glory. Take on the role of a heroic character straight out of epic fantasy, plunge into the grim depths of ancient catacombs, battle monsters, and emerge triumphant with a king’s ransom in gold and jewels. Work with your friends to unravel ancient mysteries, outwit dangerous foes, and claim your place in legend. Adventure awaits!
Players: 2-7 players including game master (“Dungeon Master”)
Length: one evening of 3-4 hours, or longer/more sessions if desired
Dice needed: Set of polyhedral gaming dice (4-, 6-, 8-, 10-, 12- and 20-sided)
More: Character sheet PDFs available here.

Durance by Jason Morningstar
On a remote planet far from civilization, the worst criminal scum from a dozen star systems have been dumped, charged with building new lives under the watchful eye of Authority. Within a brutal hierarchy of savagery and servility, convicts and guards alike must make hard choices. Every colonist has their own code of conduct and their own aspirations—aspirations that invariably come at the expense of others. This dangerous new world is too small for everyone to succeed. In fact, it may well be too small for anyone to succeed. Only the shrewdest, the toughest and the luckiest will get a chance to find out. Will you be among them?
Players: 3-5 players with no game master
Length: one evening of 2-4 hours, or longer/more sessions if desired
Dice needed: one red, one blue, and one green 6-sided die (or three different colors)
More: Handout PDFs available here.

The End of the World: Wrath of the Gods by Fantasy Flight Games
With the scenarios included in this book, you can take up arms with heroes of yore and the Norse gods, or flee from the mind-bending terror of Cthulhu. You may hide from the Four Horsemen as the events of Revelation take place, speak to Quetzalcoatl as the Mayan apocalypse unfolds, or battle wild beasts as Earth itself turns on us. Wrath of the Gods brings you as close as you can (safely) come to supernatural powers ending civilization!
This roleplaying game offers you the chance to play as yourself during the tumult of the apocalypse, using an elegant, narrative ruleset. Wrath of the Gods contains five unique scenarios, each offering a different take on the end of humanity by divine wrath. Each scenario also contains an apocalypse and a post-apocalypse, allowing you to survive the initial panic and make your way in life after the world’s ending.
Players: 3-5 players including game master
Length: one evening of 3-4 hours, or longer/more sessions if desired
Dice needed: “a handful” of six-sided dice in two colors
More: Handout PDFs available here.

The End of the World: Zombie Apocalypse by Fantasy Flight Games
The dead rise and stalk the earth, hungry for the flesh of the living. All that stands between a zombie and your brain are your skills, wits, and talents. Life as you know it is about to end, and one way or another, you’ll experience the apocalypse and make your way through the aftermath… if you can survive that long! If you’ve ever wondered how you’d cope with an endless onslaught of flesh-hungry undead, you can find out in Zombie Apocalypse.
This roleplaying game offers you the chance to play as yourself during the tumult of the apocalypse, using an elegant, narrative ruleset. Zombie Apocalypse contains five unique scenarios, each offering a different take on the rise of the undead. Each scenario also contains an apocalypse and a post-apocalypse, allowing you to survive the initial panic and make your way in life after the world’s ending.
Players: 3-5 players including game master
Length: one evening of 3-4 hours, or longer/more sessions if desired
Dice needed: “a handful” of six-sided dice in two colors
More: Handout PDFs available here.

Fiasco by Jason Morningstar
Fiasco is inspired by cinematic tales of small time capers gone disastrously wrong – inspired by films like Blood Simple, Fargo, The Way of the Gun, Burn After Reading, and A Simple Plan. You’ll play ordinary people with powerful ambition and poor impulse control. There will be big dreams and flawed execution. It won’t go well for them, to put it mildly, and in the end it will probably all go south in a glorious heap of jealousy, murder, and recrimination. Lives and reputations will be lost, painful wisdom will be gained, and if you are really lucky, your guy just might end up back where he started.
Players: 3-5 players with no game master
Length: 2-3 hours, or longer/more sessions if desired
Dice needed: four six-sided dice (two in once color, two in another)
More: Cheat sheet, playmat and playset PDFs available here.

Grey Ranks by Jason Morningstar 
In Grey Ranks, you will assume the role of a young Polish partisan before, during, and after the disastrous 1944 Uprising against the Germans. Together with your friends, you’ll create the story of a group of teens who fight to free their city, one of countless Grey Ranks “crews” that take up arms. Your characters – child soldiers – will have all the faults and enthusiasms of youth. Across sixty days of armed rebellion, they will grow up fast – or die.
The story you create is informed by many things. Grey Ranks has a scene structure, and each scene corresponds to a specific date in 1944. A broadcast of the Polish underground radio station, Radio Lightning, prefaces each scene and provides some background. In addition to Radio Lightning, you’ll choose historical and dramatic elements that pique your interest to include in each scene. The game is collaborative, and together with your friends you’ll work to create challenging, exciting, and poignant scenes for your crew – some mission-oriented, and some strictly personal.
As the game progresses, success becomes increasingly difficult and you’ll be faced with difficult choices. Is achieving a goal worth destroying the Thing your character Holds Dear? How will Reputations change over time as youngsters have adulthood thrust upon them? The emotional state of your crew is tied to the Grid, which tracks their individual condition as they are drawn to the opposing extremes of love and hate, enthusiasm and exhaustion. Success or failure will pull them in unexpected directions, and where these strong currents intersect lie death and heartbreak.
Players: 3-5 players with no game master
Length: 2-3 hours, or longer/more sessions if desired
Dice needed: a few dozen dice ranging from four-sided to twelve-sided
More: Character sheet and other PDFs available here.

Kingdom by Ben Robbins 
Communities tie us together. When you play Kingdom, you’ll sit down and make a community together and the strive to make it live up to your ideals… or watch as it burns.
Your kingdom can be any group or organization that interests you. You could make a Wild West frontier town, a colony ship crawling to a distant star, or a sprawling empire holding conquered peoples beneath its thumb. As you play, you’ll confront your kingdom with crossroads, critical decisions that may change your kingdom forever.
What will your kingdom do? What will it become? Will it stay true to its ideals — our ideals — or will it become some twisted shadow of our dreams? The kingdom is in your hands. The question is: will you change the kingdom, or will the kingdom change you?
Players: 2-5 players with no game master
Dice needed: none
More: Character sheet and other PDFs available here (under “updates and downloads” at the right of the page)

Microscope by Ben Robbins
Humanity spreads to the stars and forges a galactic civilization… Fledgling nations arise from the ruins of the empire… An ancient line of dragon-kings dies out as magic fades from the realm…
These are all examples of Microscope games. Want to explore an epic history of your own creation, hundreds or thousands of years long, all in an afternoon? That’s Microscope.
You won’t play the game in chronological order. You can defy the limits of time and space, jumping backward or forward to explore the parts of the history that interest you. Want to leap a thousand years into the future and see how an institution shaped society? Want to jump back to the childhood of the king you just saw assassinated and find out what made him such a hated ruler? That’s normal in Microscope.
You have vast power to create… and to destroy. Build beautiful, tranquil jewels of civilization and then consume them with nuclear fire. Zoom out to watch the majestic tide of history wash across empires, then zoom in and explore the lives of the people who endured it. Mock chronological order. Defy time and space. Build worlds and destroy them.
Players: 2-5 players with no game master
Dice needed: none

Night Witches by Jason Morningstar 
There was a night bomber regiment in World War Two composed entirely of women. Natural-born Soviet airwomen.
These 200 women and girls, flying outdated biplanes from open fields near the front lines, attacked the invading German forces every night for 1,100 consecutive nights. When they ran out of bombs they dropped railroad ties.
To each other they were sisters, with bonds forged in blood and terror. To the Red Army Air Force they were an infuriating feminist sideshow. To the Germans they were simply Nachthexen—Night Witches.
Night Witches is a tabletop role-playing game about women at war. As a member of the 588th Night Bomber Regiment, you’ll answer the call of your Motherland in her darkest hour. Can you do your duty and strike blow after blow against the Fascists? Can you overcome discrimination and outright sabotage and rise above your sexist comrades? Are there limits to patriotism—or endurance?
Players: 3-5 players (rotating game master)
Length: one 2 hour session with option to expand into a campaign
Dice: two 6-sided dice per player
More: Handout PDFs available here.

Our Last Best Hope by Mark Diaz Truman 
Our Last Best Hope is a game about a crew of people on a mission to save Humanity from a terrible Crisis. During the game, you and your friends will play through a classic disaster movie, like Sunshine, Deep Impact, The Core, or Armageddon, where your characters are the stars. Each game is unique, as your group confronts a new Crisis with a new set of characters and a new plan to save the Earth. While playing Our Last Best Hope, you might:
…launch into space to stop a meteor from destroying all life on Earth.
…drill to the center of the Earth to restart its molten core.
…navigate zombie filled cities to stop a nuclear holocaust.
Regardless of the Crisis, you, and your crew, are our last best hope.
Players: 3-5 players, no game master
Length: one 2-3 hour session
Dice: ten 6-sided dice of a light color and ten 6-sided dice of a dark color (alternatively, you may roll one set of ten twice)
More: Character sheets and other PDFs available here.

The Play’s the Thing by Mark Truman 
The Play’s The Thing is a storytelling game about actors who want to rewrite the Shakespearean roles they’ve been given. You and your friends tell the story of an acting troupe that is scheduled to perform a new play, but has a lot of disagreements about how that play should go. While the Playwright might present you with a classic Shakespearean folio, you’ll use your imagination and wit to craft new events and excitement in old stories. Imagine:
If Ophelia never drowned…and killed Claudius herself.
If Romeo never met Juliet…but fell in love with Mercutio.

If Othello figured out that Iago was to blame…or secretly plotted to kill him first.
In The Play’s The Thing, one player takes on the role of the Playwright, the writer and director of the Play, and the rest of you portray Actors (Hams, Leads, Villains, and Ingenues) who are cast in roles. As you work your way through the Acts of the Play, you’ll suggest changes that the Playwright has to incorporate into the work, making The Bard’s stories even better.
Players: 3-6 players including game master (“Playwright”)
Length: one 2-3 hour session
Dice: more than ten 6-sided dice
More: Character sheets and other PDFs available here.

Other selected books and more for adults

The Elfish Gene by Mark Barrowcliffe
B BARROCLIFFE, M.
From Publisher’s Weekly: As a 12-year-old in England in 1976, Barrowcliffe made a fateful choice: he started playing Dungeons and Dragons. Role-playing games were just beginning their rise, and Barrowcliffe, along with 20 million other socially maladapted boys, spent his adolescence in dining rooms and basements as a druid, warrior or magician, throwing oddly shaped dice and slaying monsters. While D&D allowed Barrowcliffe to escape his mundane, much-bullied existence in an all-boys school, it also threw him into an equally cruel nerdiverse of Nazi wannabes, boys with nicknames like Rat and Chigger, and his polymath, Falstaffian best friend who once ate a still-frozen chicken pie on a bet. Barrowcliffe, whose own schoolboy nickname was Spaz, wonderfully captures the insensitivity, insecurity and selfishness of the adolescent male. His eye for the oddities of 1970s British life is equally astute… Barrowcliffe renders all the comedy and sorrow of early manhood, when boys flee the wretchedness of their real status for a taste of power in imaginary domains.

Empire of Imagination: Gary Gygax and the Birth of Dungeons & Dragons by Michael Witwer
B GYGAX, G.

From the publisher: The life story of Gary Gygax, godfather of all fantasy adventure games, has been told only in bits and pieces. Michael Witwer has written a dynamic, dramatized biography of Gygax from his childhood in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin to his untimely death in 2008… Gygax’s involvement in the industry lasted long after his dramatic and involuntary departure from D&D’s parent company, TSR, and his footprint can be seen in the genre he is largely responsible for creating. But as Witwer shows, perhaps the most compelling facet of his life and work was his unwavering commitment to the power of creativity in the face of myriad sources of adversity, whether cultural, economic, or personal. Through his creation of the role-playing genre, Gygax gave two generations of gamers the tools to invent characters and entire worlds in their minds. Told in narrative-driven and dramatic fashion, Witwer has written an engaging chronicle of the life and legacy of this emperor of the imagination.

Darkon
DVD 793.93 DARK
This documentary follows the real-life adventures of an unusual group of weekend ‘warrior knights,’ fantasy role-playing gamers whose live action battleground is modern-day Baltimore, Maryland, re-imagined as a make-believe medieval world named Darkon.

Player of Games by Iain M. Banks
F BANKS
A distant-future space opera and sequel to Consider Phlebas, this book features an encounter with a society whose very structure depends on an immense game. From the publisher: “The Culture – a human/machine symbiotic society – has thrown up many great Game Players, and one of the greatest is Gurgeh. Jernau Morat Gurgeh. The Player of Games. Master of every board, computer and strategy. Bored with success, Gurgeh travels to the Empire of Azad, cruel and incredibly wealthy, to try their fabulous game…a game so complex, so like life itself, that the winner becomes emperor. Mocked, blackmailed, almost murdered, Gurgeh accepts the game, and with it the challenge of his life – and very possibly his death.”

Scott Pilgrim series by Bryan Lee O’Malley
Graphic Novel F O’MALLEY, B.
This story about a slacker kid discovering love and (sort of) growing up would be completely normal if not for its heavy reliance on video game references, tropes, conventions and more. Very fun!

Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle
F DARNIELLE
From the publisher: “Isolated by a disfiguring injury since the age of seventeen, Sean Phillips crafts imaginary worlds for strangers to explore. As the creator of “Trace Italian”-a text-based role-playing game that’s played through the mail-Sean guides subscribers through his intricately imagined terrain, turn by turn, as they search out sanctuary in a ravaged, savage future America. But when Lance and Carrie, two teenaged seekers of the Trace, take their play outside the game, disaster strikes, and Sean is called on to account for it. In the process, he is pulled back through time, toward the beginning and the climax: the moment of his own self-inflicted departure from the world in which most people live.”

Selected books for teens

In Real Life by Corey Doctorow and Jen Wang
Graphic Novel YAF DOCTOROW
Immersing herself in an online role-playing game where she enjoys fantasy heroics, Anda confronts a difficult choice when she befriends a disadvantaged Chinese kid who works illegally to collect valuable objects and sell them to other players for real money. -NoveList

For the Win by Cory Doctorow
YAF DOCTOROW, C.
In a future where poor children and teenagers work for corrupt bosses as gold farmers, finding valuable items inside massively-multiplayer online games, a small group of teenagers work to unionize and escape this near-slavery. -NoveList

Invitation to the Game by Monica Hughes
YAF HUGHES, M
A chilling account of life in 2154, when most jobs are done by machines. Lisse and her friends are unemployable after graduation, but the government gives them an abandoned warehouse in a bleak neighborhood to live in. Anxious to escape their dreary lives, the friends embrace The Game, which takes them to paradise. But is this world real or only a computer simulation? -NoveList

iPhone Game Development for Teens by Clayton Crooks
YA 794.815 CROOKS
From the publisher: Learn how to create dynamic, published games for the iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch with iPhone Game Development for Teens. This project-based beginner’s game programming book guides new game developers through the complete process of developing a complete game. The book’s high-energy, step-by-step style presents proven consistent processes for creating exciting games and its highly readable style is perfect for teens or other beginners. The book begins by introducing critical gaming concepts before going into the details, sound effects, graphics, and more. While the book focuses on developing games specifically for the iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, readers can use the author’s solid development process and the book’s open source engine to create effective games for virtually any platform.

Selected books for children

Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg
JF VAN ALLSBURG, C
The game under the tree looked like a hundred others Peters and Judy had at home. But they were bored and restless and, looking for something interesting to do, thought they’d give Jumanji a try. Little did they know when they unfolded its ordinary-looking playing board that they were about to be plunged into the most exciting and bizzare adventure of their lives.

Choose Your Own Adventure Books
Various JF call numbers
You decide how these exciting adventures play out!

Minecraft handbooks
Various call numbers
Hone your Minecraft skills with a range of guides!

Coding Games in Scratch by Jon Woodcock
J 005.133 WOODCOCK
Coding computer programs is one of the most valuable skills for anyone to have. Written for children with little to no coding experience, Coding Games in Scratch guides children through building platform games, puzzles, racers, and 3-D action games.

My Life as a Gamer by Janet and Jake Tashjian
JF TASHJIAN, J.
Derek Fallon gets the chance of a lifetime when he is asked to test software for new video games, but he soon discovers that his dream job isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.