One of the surprise hits of GenCon was Ex Libris from Renegade Game Studios. Players take on the roles of gnomish bibliophiles seeking to win the title of Grand Librarian. In order to do this, you must impress the Town Council with a display bookcase that surpasses all others.
Each player starts with a library and assistants. Some libraries come with special assistants like the ghost from the haunted library. Each assistant is represented with a small wooden playing piece. Location cards are played and these are where your assistants can go to collect books for your display case.
Exactly what you get from a location depends on your assistants. Exactly what you want is dictated by random chance at the beginning of the game. Certain categories of books will be favored by the mayor, while the Town Council will have banned other categories.
As you collect shelves full of books, you’ll arrange them into a bookcase, attempting to achieve a solid balance in structural stability, variety, and alphabetization. There’s a lot going on in this game; give it a play-through or two to get a good handle on how all the different bits interact. Once you do, however, you’ll be enjoying a game with lots of tactical flexibility that rewards both careful and clever play.
After all the bookcases have been assembled, the players will total up their points based on size, organization, and the presence of both preferred and banned categories. The highest score wins.
Ex Libris is a game for up to 4 players and does support solo play. Games typically last between a half-hour and a full hour. Ask your friendly Dragon’s Lair Comics and Fantasy® pros about securing a copy for your game library.