Now that my kids are old enough to play “real” games — you know, the ones where I don’t have to let them win — I love finding new clever and fun options for when we all gather around the table to play. So I was really excited to learn about Bring Your Own Book, a truly unique activity for our family game night.
Created first by Matthew Moore and Luke Nalker, who launched it successfully via Kickstarter, it has been newly released by Gamewright, one of our favorite game companies, for people ages 12+. Since each game only lasts about 20 minutes, it’s perfect for families who might have other things on the agenda or for when your teens have friends over and are looking for something to do, even if it only captures their attention for a short time.
As the name suggests, each player brings their own book to the game table. Any book at all — a popular novel, an old cookbook, the travel guide from your latest family vacation.
Each round is played a bit like the popular game Apples to Apples with one person acting as “judge” who reads a prompt from the pile of cards in the center of the table. Prompts may include things like, “A line from a teenager’s diary,” “this is the the way the world ends,” or “lyrics from a punk rock song.” The players must quickly flip through their book to find the perfect line before the timer runs out. The judge picks their favorite answer, and the winner collects the card.
Judges change each round, and, to keep everyone on their toes, all the books are swapped between players as the gameplay continues. There are also lots of ideas for how to vary the game depending on the group you have and how cutthroat you want to be.
Since the game changes so much depending on the types of books each person brings to the table, I think Bring Your Own Book is one of those games your group will never get bored of playing.