Libraria by XVgames – Review

Theme and What is it?

These dusty halls and the half empty shelves have become your life. A grand library of the knowledge of man sits here staring back at you as you roam the vast corridors of books. Books about science. Books about politics. Books about philosophy. All of them ready to have their spines bent and their musty smell engulf a new reader. There is only one issue with a library of this size. The rats! The bane of the printed word. Some may call that fire, but you know the enemy of the paper page…rats. Filthy, evil vermin. 

Libraria is a two-player puzzle game where players seek to control the most book shelves.

Gameplay Mechanics

The game is set up by randomly placing the shelf tiles in a 5 x 5 grid. Players select which color gem they want to use and just as simple as that the game is ready to play. The first player starts by setting one of their gems on the corner of one of the bookshelves. Second player plays two gems and then after that each player only plays a single gem on their turn. Play continues until all gems have been played. Control of a shelf happens when a player has more gems on the corners than the opposite player. If a player controls all four corners, then they get an extra point. Points are awarded based on the number of books in the shelf. Players lose points if they control a shelf that has been destroyed by mice. If a player has total control over a mouse damaged shelf, they get negative two points. Once all gems have been played, check the shelves and award the points and the player with the most points wins.

Initial Impressions

Libraria can be taught in under two minutes. This game is beyond easy to learn to play. Setting up for the first game may have taken longer than reading the little piece of paper that had the instructions on it. But do not be fooled by the ease of entry into the game. There can be some very strong strategy involved with Libraria. I played it with Ally and the next day I played it with my six-year-old son. I enjoyed both games and found it to be a two-player game that allows you to play again and again because it is quick and the game board is changing from game to game.

Game Build Quality

There is very little involved with the components, but they are done very well. The jewel pieces are very nice. The box looks like a little hardback book. I thought that was a nice touch to compliment the theme.

Artistic Direction

The artwork pulls the game together into a cohesive theme and makes you feel like you are a Librarian in an old forgotten library. Like I said above, the box looks like an old book and that adds great flavor. The tiles feature dusty old shelves with ancient texts and meddlesome mice.

Fun Factor

The game provides great entertainment value as a quick fix. If you are looking for deep strategy and variable mechanics this is not what you are looking for. Libraria reminds me of the dot game we played as kids where you draw a grid of dots and start connecting dots with straight lines. Once you have completed a box you put your initial in it. Whoever controls the most boxes wins. We used to always play it while sitting through church sermons as kids. Remember it? Well, Libraria reminds me of that. A great way to kill some time with someone you like being around.

Age Range & Weight

Libraria has a recommended age of 7+. I have played this with my six-year-old and he picked it right up and didn’t do too bad. Sometimes he didn’t pay attention to some of his moves, but he is six. I would say that as long as a kid can figure out the basics of the game, they should have fun with it. It will help build some strategic planning skills. The game is very light and can be a great gateway game too. With it being only two player, it won’t be intimidating to newbies.

Conclusions

Libraria is a quick, easy game that can be shared with anyone. It is the type of game that you can turn around and play right after you finish a game. The easy of the game makes it very welcoming to new players. This game will make a great addition to any collection and serves many purposes from time filler to gateway game. Make sure it comes off the shelf often, you wouldn’t want those miserable mice chewing the box all up!