Anyone who's checked out a hobby store lately, or caught a whiff of Wil Wheaton's recent series, Tabletop, probably has some idea that tabletop gaming is no longer your grandmother's Monopoly. The popularity and undeniable fun of games that think outside the box is reason enough to try out some of the offerings available, but there are barriers to doing so (especially if you're a recluse like myself). Although some games have single player options, many do not, and in playing alone one often loses out on much of what makes these epics special. Cost and complicated rules are further impediments to tabletop gaming, since you often can't know if you'll enjoy something until you play, and you can't play until you splurge your paycheck on that $50.00 Arkham Horror reprint.
Enter MUN Tabletop Games Club, an open and enthusiastic group of individuals coming together on a weekly basis to share games, knowledge and fun times. Even if you've never played Munchkin in your life or don't know Settlers of Catan from Magic: The Gathering, the group is an inviting space created in order to promote community within St. John's gaming culture and make some new friends and hobbies.
Currently a small group of around twenty active members, MUNTGC holds a weekly meeting every Wednesday in MUN's Chemistry/Physics building from 5pm to 10pm in room 2026. Commonly played games include Magic: The Gathering, Arkham Horror, Galaxy Trucker, Settlers of Catan, Betrayal at the House on the Hill, Race for the Galaxy, Dominion, and many many others. If you have a game you'd like to play and already own, the group encourages you to bring it along and it is very likely they'll play it at one of their meetings.
Beyond boardgames, MUNTGC is always trying to branch out and become more inclusive of other tabletop communities, and includes in its plan a roleplaying game night, to be held once a semester. The RPG night takes the form of a meet 'n' greet to help facilitate like-minded roleplayers meeting up and finding the GM and players suitable for their roleplaying tastes. The hope is that meet-ups like this one will make it easier for fellow geeks to find each other, and for solid RPG groups to form and develop on their own!
Likewise, MUNTGC is interested in expanding their events to include a women's only boardgame night (one should note that this does not in any way mean that women are disallowed from attending the weekly Wednesday meets!). It's an unfortunate truth that geek culture can be less than inviting for women at times, and that certainly has been the case for the MTGC. By providing a space only for women, the hope is that people will be more willing to try boardgaming who would otherwise be intimidated or be made to feel uncomfortable by the normal club meetings, which have a disproportionate ratio of men to women. If you think you'd be interested in helping run such an event, MUNTGC is still looking for a woman willing to host this event. Contact information for the club can be found at the end of this article.
The club also encourages members to create their own games, and for other members to playtest them. Several members were already creating boardgames before the club existed, and have further developed their games as a result of the club. There have been games workshop events in the past, which were reasonably successful, but the format is currently being reconsidered. The games that have been created at, or development has been furthered by, the club includes some fan-games, such as the Megaman board game (Ron Keating's) and the Final Fantasy card game (also Ron's), but also some original creations, such as Metropolis (Result of a games workshop), Plan 9 (club-designed card game), and Chaos Dungeons (Peter Deal).
Other types of tabletop gaming, such as wargaming and competitive-level go, have been discussed by a couple of members in the past, but the membership wasn't interested enough to do anything for these. If people are interested in starting up any of these on campus, it is part of the MUNTGC's constitution to help provide them with space (through booking rooms), and whatever else they can do.
Much like NLGamer.ca, the club was started to provide a place for games' clubs to talk to each other, especially since there was no gaming club on campus. MUNTGC's main purpose is to provide spaces on campus for gamers to meet and play with each other. The group is constantly trying to branch out and reach other tabletop gamers, as with roleplayers and female gaming groups. If you're interested in trying out tabletop gaming, or if you already love games and would like somewhere to share your geekery with others, MUNTGC invites you to any and all of their weekly 5pm meetings.
MUNTGC can be contacted at MUNboardgames@gmail.com