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This pocket-sized set is like Game Pass for board games, giving you something new to play every week

One pocket, 100 components, a whole year of games.

Two cards from Gamelib Pocket's Kickstarter campaign
Image credit: Grammes Edition

Board game boxes have trended toward massive sizes in the last few years. Gloomhaven, Frosthaven and Descent exist on the ludicrous end of the bell curve, but many of the projects funding on Gamefound don’t fall too far from their measure. That’s why a project like Gamelib Pocket is so intriguing - it apparently packs enough components to play dozens of games into a rucksack-compatible cube.

Billed as a board game library, Gamelib Pocket is the brainchild of Léandre Proust and Grammes Edition, a French tabletop studio responsible for Clash of Decks and Acrylogic. Perhaps more astounding than the sell (more on that in a bit) is that Proust is funding the project on a pay-what-you-want sliding scale. The team suggests paying $13, and shipping will run backers roughly $4 more, but you can secure a copy for the cost of a cup of coffee, if the budget is tight.

“Concerned with our environment’s current status and the growing worries of board gamers about the compatibility of their favorite hobby with our planet’s safeguard, I wanted to design as polyvalent a kit as possible; capable of pleasurably playing an unmatched number of games, both traditional and brand new, with a minimal amount of components so it can still be easily carried,” Proust writes on the campaign page.

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The trick to Gamelib Pocket’s density of tabletop possibility comes down to the component design. Each box contains four six-sided dice in two colours (black and red), two wooden meeples and 40 wooden cubes with a similar colour split and a deck of 54 playing cards with some odd designs accompanying their numbers and suit. Designed by artist Hervine Galliou, the cards use a system of parallel lines on numbers, criss-crossed lines on face cards and a symbol on the aces that allow them to be used for several varying purposes within other games.

Speaking of, those who back the project will start receiving digital PDF game instructions in November of this year, one a week, for a full calendar year. Like a quaint tabletop version of Xbox’s Game Pass, GameLib Pocket’s roster of capabilities will be gradually expanded to include games from all over the world and across time (though not the Royal Game of Ur). The campaign includes every eventual addition, including Backgammon, Apit-sodok, Fox and the Hounds, Go, 9 Men’s Morris, La Dara, Mu Torere, Puluc, Seega, Senet, Tchuka Ruma and the humble Tic Tac Toe. Obviously, anything that only requires a standard deck of playing cards is automatically included in any exhaustive list.

All of the card art from Gamelib Pocket's deck, from its Kickstarter campaign
Image credit: Grammes Edition

“Traditional games are part of mankind’s History,” Proust wrote. “I discovered the unexpected depth of these games 10 years ago, while training as a game librarian. Preserving their legacy, and spreading them as widely as possible felt important to me. With Gamelib Pocket, we embark you on a journey back through time, to discover the games our ancestors used to play.”

The Kickstarter campaign for Gamelib Pocket will run through May 9th and has surpassed its initial goal to produce physical copies and the weekly game rules. Backers should receive their boxes in October of this year and their one-year subscription to Grammes Edition’s weekly updates one month later.

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