Spotlight On: Ex Libris

September 20, 2021

School has started and summer is coming to a close. Pumpkin spice is making it's overwhelming presence felt and fall is upon us! One of the best things you can do during these autumn months is curl up with a good book, but we've got an even better plan for you! Ex Libris is a book lover's dream game, and can be played solo or with up to 4 players.

In Ex Libris you are a prolific book collector vying for the position of Grand Librarian. You'll have to distinguish yourself from the rest of the competition by curating and organizing your personal library for inspection and judgement, and you'll have trusty assistants to help you collect all the best tomes! 

To begin, you'll place the town board and Diviner's Hut location on the table. The rest of the locations are shuffled and set aside for later drawing. Each player is given 2 library tiles, and gets to keep one and discard the other. The library card that is kept shows which Special Assistant you'll have to help you, and everyone also gets two standard assistants. Next, category cards are placed on the town board and dealt out to each player. The category card received determines the player's focus for their collection! Categories include Corrupted Codices, Fantastical Fiction, Historic Volumes, Monster Manuals, Reference Texts and Spells and Potions. Next, deal six book cards to each player and set the rest aside in a draw pile.

Now you'll begin to assemble your library! Shelved books need to connect vertically or horizontally (no diagonal connections allowed), and can't exceed three shelves in height. Each turn is composed of four phases; the Location phase (location cards laid out according to number of players), Placement phase (assistants are placed on the location cards and their abilities are activated), Resolution phase (locations tiles are resolved by completing any effects, returning assistants to players and discarding the cards on it), and lastly the Cleanup phase (take the first numerical order location tile and make it a permanent location, which makes it available for use the rest of the game).

The game ends when the assembled book cards of one player reach a certain number, which is dictated by the number of players. After that, the tallying of points begins! Grading criteria includes variety, shelf stability, prominent works, banned books, alphabetical order, and your library focus. 

This game has gorgeous artwork that is warm and colorful, making you feel like you're actually building a magnificent collection. The playing time is about 45 minutes, and the age recommendation is ages 10+ so it makes a nice family game for a cozy afternoon or evening inside. There are lots of little nuances that you'll learn along the way when composing your shelves, and you'll want to play this one again and again to perfect your methods. Stop by and pick up, or place a special order for Ex Libris today! It will make a fantastic addition to any game collection.