Our novel new game Bring Your Own Book has been climbing up our proverbial best-sellers list, so we thought it was time you meet its clever inventor, Matthew Moore! Check out what he had to say about his game.
Can you tell me more about the origin of the game? What inspired you?
From early on, it was my intention to turn books into objects of play and encourage players to look at all kinds of texts in a different light. Because many players bring books they’re familiar with, Bring Your Own Book encourages them both to share those works with others and toy around with phrases that served a different purpose when they were read before. The game is both a celebration of the written word as a container packed with a multitude of meanings and the process by which players have fun doing the unpacking.
I would love to know a funny anecdote or detail about the process of creating Bring Your Own Book.
The game was originally based on a social media meme I saw on Facebook. There were these posts that would say, “Grab the nearest book and turn to page 36. The first full sentence describes your love life.” I thought the act of re-contextualizing was fun but the limitation of having the sentence chosen for you was not. Early on, the working title for the game was “The Nearest Book” before becoming “Borrowed Phrases” and then finally Bring Your Own Book.
By incorporating the players own belongings (books) it opens the game to almost endless possibilities as everyone’s personal library is so varied. Can you tell me more about the unique game mechanics of Bring Your Own Book?
Mechanically, I wanted to make a prompt game that eases the tension of on-the-spot creativity while alleviating excessive repetition. Some prompt games require players to create their submissions from scratch, which can be fun but also a lot of pressure. Other games give players a handful of cards as submissions, which lightens the responsibility for off-the-cuff wit but constrains their responses to only those things the game authors wrote. With Bring Your Own Book, players get to be creative with their text source, the passages they choose, and their delivery. So, instead of giving essay or multiple-choice answers, players go on a quotation treasure hunt and then put on a short performance.
What do you want people to take away from playing Bring Your Own Book?
The thing I hope people take away is how much they control their own experience. I made Bring Your Own Book to encourage people to play with their books, and I gave them a starting point, but I hope they don’t stop there. I’ve already heard about players doing theme rounds and making house rules allowing pronoun replacements and toying with timer lengths. In the end, I don’t care if people are following the rules as I wrote them, just that they’re having fun. That’s why I became a game designer in the first place.