Games at Jervis Library

Playing Games While Social Distancing

During this time when social distancing is necessary to defeat the coronavirus and the spread of COVID-19, we can still maintain contact and play games with our gaming friends and groups. There are a plethora of online gaming sites where many of your favorite board games are simulated and playable. Here is a list of a few sites where some of the Unplug & Play regulars have been meeting to play.

Our favorite online game sites

  • https://yucata.de says, "Free online games with human players. No costs, no ads, pure fun!" Dozens of game titles of all types. The selection includes many European- or German-style games. One caveat: Games must be played to completion. There is no way to quit a game or concede.

  • https://boardgamearena.com has dozens of games, many of them free to play for Basic members. Premium members pay a small monthly fee to get access to the full catalog of titles and can host games for any basic or premium member. Supports real-time and turn-based play.

  • https://tabletopia.com is an "online sandbox arena for playing board games just like in real life." All components are modeled: You will move pieces, play cards, and roll dice just like you were playing the actual board game. Many of the over 800 games are free to play, either as a guest or with a free membership. Paid members can play the full catalog. Another similar platform is Tabletop Simulator, which is available for purchase on the Steam platform.

  • For more locations to play board games online, check out this page at BoardGameGeek.com.

  • Want to know if a version of a favorite game is available to play online? Check out this list from BoardGameGeek that lists the games by title. To see a game's online availability, click its entry number (not the game title).


Upcoming Events

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic means in-person library programs like Unplug & Play are temporarily suspended. However, the library continues to hold virtual "Plug & Play" game sessions at which participants meet to play on the online game sites listed at left.

  • Plug & Play Virtual Tabletop Gaming

    • Held on the third Tuesday evening of each month from 5:45-8:15pm. Look for announcements on the library's Facebook page and on the Facebook group page of the CNY Tabletop Games Society.

    • Also held one Saturday a month from September to June. (Saturday sessions vary and are subject to staff availability.)

Stay connected with what's going on with the library on the library's Facebook page and on our website, jervislibrary.org, or subscribe to the library's monthly Gamer's Newsletter email.

Spotlight Game

Backgammon

Game Designer: Unknown

Publisher/Year: [many publishers], c. 3000 BCE

Number of Players: 2

For ages: 8 and up

Duration: 30 mins

Backgammon

(game description from boardgamegeek.com)

Backgammon is a classic abstract strategy game dating back thousands of years. Each player has a set of 15 "men" that must be moved from their starting positions, around, and then off the board. Dice are thrown each turn, and each player must decide which of his men to move based on the outcome of the roll. Players can capture each other's men, forcing the captured men to restart their journey around the board. The winner is the first player to get all 15 men off the board. A more recent addition to the game is the "doubling cube", which allows players to up the stakes of the game, as it is often played for money. Although the game relies on dice to determine movement, there is a large degree of strategy in deciding how to make the most effective moves given each dice roll as well as measuring the risk in terms of possible rolls the opponent may get.

Backgammon may be the first game to be mentioned in written history, going back 5,000 years to the Sumerians of ancient Mesopotamia. During the 1920's, archaeologists unearthed five boards from a cemetery in the ancient town of Ur. At another location, pieces and dice were also found along with the board. Boards from ancient Egypt have also been recovered from the tomb of Tutankhamun, including a mechanical dice box, no doubt intended to stop cheaters.

The names of the game were many. In Persia, Takhteh Nard which means "Battle on Wood". In Egypt, Tau, which may be the ancestor of Senat. In Rome, Ludus Duodecim Scriptorum ("game of twelve marks"), later, Tabula ("table"), and by the sixth century, Alea ("dice"). In ancient China, T-shu-p-u and later in Japan, Sugoroko. The English name may derive from "Bac gamen" meaning "Back Game", referring to re-entry of taken stones back to the board.

It was often enjoyed by the upper classes and is sometimes called "The Aristocratic Game." The Roman Emperor Claudius was known to be such a fan that he had a set built into his coach so he could play as he traveled (the world's first travel edition?).

The rules in English were standardized in 1743 by Edmond Hoyle. These remained popular until the American innovations of the 1930's.


Backgammon is part of the Circulating Game Collection and will be available for check out later in December.

Spotlight Games are displayed in the Unplug & Play display case next to the elevator. Look for a new game every month!

Get more information about this and other games at BoardGameGeek.com.

This page last edited 11/25/20 by PAC