Ex-Libris Review

Seems that recently I have been fanboying over Renegade Games releases, with the love of Raider of the North Sea and now Ex Libris , designed by Adam P. McIver. I played this at a games night, everyone else had sat down at tables that were far more complex games and I just wasn’t up for that, so I was left with the Ex Libris crew, a group of rag tag ‘I don’t want to play Euros tonight’ gang. The thing about being ‘forced’ to a table is often the fun won’t be as intense, but that wasn’t the case with Ex Libris at all, I could easily find myself re-entering the library at any time, probably preferring it over other things now that I have given it a go.

What makes Ex Libris so lovable? Well, it could be the Meeples that are all shaped in the portrait of your player (Golem, Witch, Goblin etc), or it could be the puns on the spines of the book, or maybe it is just the fact that this is a great fun game that runs exceptionally smoothly after only a few rounds of play.

The goal of the game is to have the highest scoring library (or cards) at the end of the game. Scoring depends on the type of books, the structure of the bookshelf and whether you have used any banned books. Each player has a specific character that they play, which also has a special ability that can be activated once per round.

Essentially what you are aiming to do is build a library of cards in front of you that complies to several conditions:

  1. It has structure – that is is a contiguous grid of cards;
  2. It is alphabetical;
  3. It doesn’t contain too many banned books;
  4. It contains plenty of the books that you have been allocated as your ‘special’ books;

Although I was thoroughly beaten every time that I played, I found Ex Libris to be a super enjoyable game to get to the table. It is a relatively quick play (easily coming in under an hour for 4 players), the artwork is fantastic and it straddles that fine line between between too simple and too brain burning. Whilst you have plenty to think about – card placement, worker placement, alphabetical order – it never becomes overwhelming and I actually found the cognitive effort in the pleasant range, not having to think too hard, but also my mind wasn’t wandering either.

If you like worker placement, looking for a good family game for kids 10+ (or those who are a little more advanced in board games) or are looking for a game that appeals to the heavy and light gamers alike, I would highly recommend Ex-Libris.

You can buy Ex-Libris by Renegade Games here at Mighty Ape


Cameron B Author

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