Holidays are made for gaming

The Library shouldn’t just be about work. Some of our special collections are also here to help you enjoy your time in Geneva – especially when you’re staying for the holidays. Let’s talk about games with Guillaume Pasquier, since that’s one thing he is responsible for.

Who do we have to thank for this?

I would love to say “me” since I am the resident board game expert geek, but the real reason why there’s a collection of games is Kathryn Davis. This generous alumna gave her name (and her husband’s) to the Library, as you have certainly noticed through the huge “Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Library” sign in the entrance.

When offering a grant for the construction of the new Library, Mrs Davis requested that it offer a place for students to chill out, with games and other entertaining media. This is why the Davis lounge features a series of art books, graphic novels, and a selection of classic board games (chess, go, mah-jong, checkers and cards) along with a short biographical note about Kathryn Davis.

There’s more to games than the classics

Since we moved into the Maison de la paix, we have tried to assemble a diverse collection of modern board games: some easier, some more complex, some cooperative, others competitive or even very adversarial.

We have of course tried to cover subjects of interest to the Institute: international conflicts, elections, slavery, energy, and the environment – and then, some titles which students just really wanted. Hopefully, everyone can find something for their taste. A full list of our collection is available at the loan desk and on our BoardGameGeek profile.

Our board games can be borrowed for 7 days and loans can be renewed 3 times. They are only available to the Graduate Institute community (students & staff).

New titles

Oh, by the way: we’ve just added two references to our collection.

  • Terraforming Mars was requested by a student. It was nominated for multiple prizes since its release in 2016 and won the 2018 “As d’Or: expert game of the year” in Cannes’ international games festival. Its theme is straightforward: players are competing for resources to render Mars inhabitable in the 25th century.
  • This war of mine was adapted from a critically-acclaimed video game. It is a cooperative survival board game in which players are playing civilians struggling through a war they don’t participate in.

We hope you will enjoy them – let us know!

Do you think some essential titles are missing from our collection? Just send an e-mail to and we’ll see if that can be corrected.

Picture: © 2018 Boris Palefroy / IHEID, all rights reserved.

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