3M bookshelf game series

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The 3M bookshelf game series was a series of board games produced by 3M from 1962 to 1975. These games were marketed towards adults and were designed to fit onto a standard bookshelf. Each game fit into a slip cover that was made to resemble the spine of a hardcover book. 3M's catalog described them as follows: "bookcase games, packaged in attractive leather-like slipcases, make a handsome set of volumes for any bookshelf."

The line consisted both of republished classics such as Go, Chess and Backgammon as well as original games designed by freelancers, such as Acquire and Ploy.


3M relied exclusively on freelance designers for the bookshelf game series. Between 400-600 submissions were received every year by the company. These were screened to find unique and interesting games that were connected to any recent trends or fads. Designers like Alex Randolph and Sid Sackson were largely responsible for shaping the direction of the line towards abstract strategy and economic games.

In 1976, 3M was looking to get out of the board game business and sold their entire line to Avalon Hill, which produced a competing line of bookcase games. Avalon Hill continued to publish the line until 1998, when it was dissolved by its parent company. The Avalon Hill name and properties were subsequently purchased by Hasbro. Some of the bookshelf games, such as Acquire, were obtained by Hasbro in the deal. While Acquire was republished by Hasbro/Avalon Hill in a new format, the company has indicated that they have no plans to publish any of the 3M or Avalon Hill bookshelf games.

Some of the games that were not acquired by Hasbro, such as Facts in Five and Executive Decision have since been published by University Games in a bookshelf format. Like the 3M series, they are designed to mimic the appearance of a large hardcover book, but instead of a slip-case, the games use a magnetic closing flap.

List of games[edit]

The bookshelf games series included the following games,[1] as well as an unpublished chess variant called Mad Mate:[2]



  1. ^ Matheson, Dennis. "3M Games". The Game Pile. Retrieved July 7, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "3M Bookshelf Series". Board Game Geek. Retrieved July 7, 2013. 

Babinsack, Joe (May 2007), "By the Book", Knucklebones 2 (3): 22–26