Library of Shadows: a game design

This game design document describes a free online game designed to help players improve their search skills in library catalogs and other library discovery systems. It blends the characteristics of educational and board games with elements from the strategy and survival genres. The goal is to work as a team to traverse the Library while circumventing the monsters hiding in and impersonating shadows.

Library of Shadows was initially conceptualized as a modified version of the board game Checkers and named Silent Library (Kemp, 2021). The game’s name and theme are based on an episode of the BBC sci-fi series Doctor Who titled Silence in the Library. I selected this theme because of the episode’s setting and the diversity in the show’s cast and audience. The diversity of the cast creates a greater possibility that players will be able to identify with the characters. While the theme for the prototype is based on an episode of the Doctor Who series, the game can be adapted to other stories that involve shadows, danger, and escape. For example, scenes from books like The Lord of the Rings, Interview with a Vampire, or series like Star Wars, Star Trek, or The Twilight Zone could also be game settings. Players could also write stories and create images to upload to the game board as an overlay.

The game is designed for mobile access via web browser, Android, and IOS. While aspects of the appearance of Library of Shadows will be familiar to most players, the modified game mechanics combine the elements of chance, cooperation, levels, strategy, rewards, and conflict.

At the end of this game, learners will be able to use keywords, titles, authors, and other metadata to search an online library discovery system and be familiar with basic library cataloging.

You are welcome to adapt this design for your own non-commercial use.