RPGs in school libraries?

The School Library Journal has a very good introductory article today on Tabletop Fantasy RPGs. The article presents, for the benefit of school librarians and educators, an overview of fantasy role-playing games. It goes on to suggest a small but comprehensive array of fantasy games along with age guidelines, prices, and short reviews.

Granted, only a limited number of games are discussed, but this is clearly to avoid information overload for newcomers. The range presented — Dungeons and Dragons 4th ed., Exalted 2nd ed., Faery’s Tale Deluxe, The Princes’ Kingdom, Reign, and The Zorcerer of Zo — cover a good diversity of audiences, mechanics, levels of complexity, and flavours.

I was delighted to see such an article in a mainstream publication with a nationwide readership. As a bonus, I learned how to articulate a new argument on why role-playing games are an excellent hobby for young people:

Genesee Valley BOCES Library System has produced a landmark document […] that relates board gaming to the American Association of School Librarians Standards for the 21st-Century Learner […] While these standards were established for board games, the document should be used as a model for making a case for tabletop RPGs. Each of the four standards can be directly addressed by playing RPGs. Players think critically and analyze information, make informed decisions and apply knowledge to new situations when interacting with the game’s setting and cultures, share knowledge and weigh moral consequences of their actions, and participate in creating stories that last beyond the end of the session. By addressing these standards and demonstrating the direct link between gaming and learning, RPGs can gain support from administrators and teachers.

Hey, I couldn’t have said it better! Here are updated links for the standards the article refers to:

I have had an interest for some years in sharing tabletop games, and especially role-playing games with a wider audience and particularly with kids. For more suggestions of RPGs suitable for kids, check out this list of 50 titles.

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