The Librarians: Adventure Card Game
Designer: Brett Schofield
Publisher: Everything Epic Games
Year Published: 2021
No. of Players: 1-4
Playing Time: 60-120 min
Main mechanic / Theme: Cooperative Game, Deck Construction, Dice Rolling / The Librarians (Television Series)
We are The Library. It lives and breathes inside each and every one of us.
From the Publisher:
You have received an invitation to interview for a prestigious position at the Metropolitan Public Library. Answering that summons has thrust you into a world of magic and mystery: fairies, gargoyles, old myths, and legends are all very real. The Librarians are members of an ancient fellowship dedicated to the preservation of knowledge and the protection of the innocent from those who would misuse magic. Experts in history, languages, mathematics, and a dozen other disciplines, they lead lives of adventure - unraveling magical mysteries, battling ancient conspiracies, and saving the world every week. Twice before Friday.
The Librarians: Adventure Card Game based on the hit TV series and movies is a 1-4 player cooperative experience in which you and up to three friends each take the role of a Librarian or one of their allies.
Each character has strengths and weaknesses that lend themselves to a different playstyle and a deck of cards that represent the knowledge, skills, and capabilities you will need to survive. Between character selection and deck customization, the game lets you play your character your way.
The game is scenario-based. Each session will takes you on a new adventure, complete with unique challenges to overcome and goals to pursue. But your antagonists have their own agenda, which they pursue relentlessly pursue behind the scenes. You resolve actions by rolling unique dice that take into account your character’s skill and the difficulty of the action. Success requires that you make thoughtful choices: Draw cards or gain the resources needed to play them? Thwart your enemies or advance your own goals?
The choice is yours!
Although other characters will be included as playable heroes in future expansions, the following four heroes are included in this base set: Colonel Eve Baird (Guardian and Team Leader), Cassandra Cillian (Librarian, Doomed by Her Gift), Ezekiel Jones (Librarian, In it for the Challenge), and Jacob Stone (Librarian, Blue-Collar Art Historian). Become one of these epic heroes and save the world! (Twice before Friday!)
Gameplay and mechanics:
This review is of a Demo version of The Librarians: Adventure Card Game. As such, I received two characters and one scenario, not a full version of the game. Art and components may differ in the final version.
This game, for the most part, plays like a typical cooperative deck-construction game. You play through your scenario using the Mission and Disturbance decks and have to fight through the challenges presented by the Adventure deck. If you are familiar with this style of game, this will all be very easy to follow and the little nuances that make this different from other games will be easy to add to your play flow. This is a fun game that does a good job of telling its story. I did only have a demo copy so only one adventure was included in the box, but I felt like that adventure did a good job in making it feel like we were working our way through a challenge with a beginning and conclusion.
Theme, Artwork and Illustration, Graphic Design and Layout (optional)
Take any commentary that I have with a grain of salt, I have a demo version of this game so there may be significant changes from the version that I have and the final version. That being said, there are some decisions with the components of this game that I absolutely love! Art wise, this game uses photos from the series, so nothing too earthshattering here. I know that this is a sticking point for some people in Licensed games, but I am honestly fine with it and don’t feel that it detracts from the game at all. This game is based on a television series and, as such, I think that using photos from the series is absolutely acceptable. Tokens are nice and thick and easily discernable from one another. Where this game really shines is in the dice and the quality of the cards. The game comes with eight metal dice in two shades, black and grey, that are easily discernable from one another. These dice have great heft to them and the finish feels amazing in your hand. The cards are a linen finish that riffle shuffle better than any other card that I have played with and leave absolutely no bend when finished. Hopefully, these two items remain in the final product.
This is cooperative, deck construction. Either you like it or you don’t. Where The Librarians Adventure Card Game deviates from the script is in the dice rolling mechanic to perform attribute checks using the character and challenge dice which gives the game a decidedly more RPG feel than what I get from most deck construction games and that is a feel that I really like. One thing that I don’t like about these types of games (and the reason that I don’t play much of these) is that I don’t care for deck-construction. This game (at least the demo version) did come with pre-made decks for the two characters that were included in the demo and I greatly appreciated that. I thought that the decks were well put together and (at least for the first adventure) didn’t find myself wishing that I had more to add to them to make them better.
I’m not very familiar with the show (I watched one episode when I knew that the game was on its way to me) but I don’t feel that my lack of knowledge at all affected my enjoyment of the game. Fans of the show will likely feel a bit more draw and have some inside knowledge (and inside jokes) related to the show that others do not, but don’t let lack of show knowledge prevent you from giving the game a go. This is a fun game. I like the dice mechanic added into the typical play of a story-based deck construction game and I appreciated the pre-built decks that came with the two characters that I got in the demo. People who enjoy The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game and Arkham Horror: The Card Game will enjoy this game as it is a cooperative, deck construction along the same vein as those games.
Close the review with your final thoughts and overview. What type of games is this one similar to? Will people who like game X like this one? Did you think the game was fun? State the things within the game that could be improved upon or that might need a bit of help. What didn’t gel with you and your game group?
Stefan Yates is a professional in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at Kansas State University. Finding ways to work gaming into work, he serves on the university’s Alternate Reality Game Committee and is a co-Faculty Advisor for the Board Game Club. He is also a PhD student whose field of research is Gamification in Student Programming. He enjoys playing (and mostly losing) almost any type of game and likes to work in multiple game sessions per week whenever possible. An avid solo gamer with an additional interest in tabletop miniatures games, the stay-at-home orders of the pandemic were not particularly concerning as there was always painting to do and terrain to build. Stefan is also a book and movie collector and a huge football fan (go CHIEFS!)