Even after a good four years enshrouded in the wonderful world of modern tabletop gaming – taking a passion to utter obsession and then some – I’m still caught off guard from time to time; bowled over and left in utter awe at the ingenuity of certain games.
On Christmas Day, Santa was ever so kind enough to bring me a little game I had caught wind of, but never paid much attention to. While it clearly falls into the “fill-in-the-blank” party game genre, it is a wholly different and blindingly original idea that requires you to Bring Your Own Book.
Originally a successful Kickstarter from first time designer Matthew Moore, raising over $55,000 from 1883 backers, it was later picked up for a retail release in 2016 by publisher Gamewright. Bring Your Own Book is a game for 3-8 players that comes in a little book-like box. However, the most important component of the game is not included – the said book of yours that you must bring to play.
The game is similar to Cards Against Humanities or Apples to Apples as players are collectively posed a question by the designated judge player for the round and they must reply with the most amusing and quick-witted response they can muster. In this case, the source of said funny line must be taken from a book. Said book can literally be anything you decide to bring to the table.
Now the possibilities on offer here are literally (love a pun!) limitless, where one player can be frantically searching through The Da Vinci Code while another could be referencing How To Use Your Sewing Machine: A Complete Guide for Absolute Beginners looking for the perfect retort to “something overheard at the zoo!”
The sheer delight in this little card game is not only in the choice of book by each player, but the ability to quickly scan, digest and select a worthy phrase. The chaotic flipping through pages is most certainly something new and most entertaining.
Players take it in turns to be the “picker” who selects a card and chooses one of the two prompts to pose to the rest of the player posse, who then must frantically search their chosen book for a perfect word, phrase or sentence to satisfy the prompt. The first to find their word(s) of choice shouts “I’ve got it” and turns over the one minute timer while all other players continue to search, bringing in an element of pressure that is tougher than you can imagine. The picker now becomes the judge and each player reads out their chosen text, with anyone who fails to find a phrase having to open the book at a random page and read a random sentence, and ultimately picking which phrase they like best – be it the funniest, cleverest, truest, wittiest or maybe even most poignant – awarding the card as a scoring mechanism.
While the first player to score four cards wins, as an added twist, when a player gets to three cards scored everyone passes their books to the left. The end result is utterly charming and feels invigorating compared to the repetitiveness that plagues many fill-in-the-blank games. Suitable for all ages and all types of gamer, its flow and themes are dictated by the players and, of course, the books they choose, with the more obscure and random titles the better. It will work well with all types of book, comic, magazine or newspaper.
And the fact this game requires players to bring their own choice of text – whether it be a chart-topping thriller, an educational book or even something absurd you buy just because you own this game – is incredibly inventive. It brings a fantastic new purpose to your personal library in a wonderfully engaging, fun and enjoyable party game that inspires quick thinking and imagination.
It is further testament to the sheer strength of creativity in the board game industry right now and it is yet another little game that left a big, bold, beautiful, book-loving impression on me.
And with a RRP of around £13.99, it is excellent value.
Just remember, no books are included.
NEXT WEEK: I will discuss a Kickstarter campaign that recently fulfilled their orders, serving up a race for survival in a zombie apocalypse!