Playing games at Woodend

February 14th, 2021Playing games at Woodend

DAVID Haines, a Woodend resident, has been playing board games for about 20 years and wondered if there were other local board game players within the community.

He created the Woodend Board Game Gathering Facebook page mid-December to test the water.
At the first gathering on Sunday, January 24, at the Woodend Neighbourhood House, there were 70 plus Facebook members signed up, with 15 members turning up on the day and five apologies.
David said the response to the post was mostly through word of mouth.
“The monthly gathering’s aim is a mix of social and competitive playing of different board games,” he said.

“Once you start talking about board games you come across people who say ‘Oh, yeah, me and my friend or partner played but never with a large group’. There has been a renaissance in board game playing since the COVID lockdown.”
Melissa Rogerson, a lecturer at the School of Computing & Information Systems/Interaction Design Lab at the University of Melbourne is an academic authority on board gaming and a dyed in the wool enthusiast.
Ms Rogerson said there are four main reasons which explain the appeal for board games in an article she wrote for The Conversation.

Firstly, social interaction. You need at least one other person as an opponent. In most cases three or four players are usual.
“Even a mediocre game can be fun and memorable when you play it with the right group of people,” writes Ms Rogerson.
Secondly, playing board games is good for your brain. It delivers intellectual and strategic thinking.
Thirdly is physical interaction. The artwork on the board and the tokens each player moves provide a tactile pleasure.
Finally, there is a never-ending supply of board games offering variety for contestants.

David said he was delighted with the attendance at the gathering, with six different games played during the three-hour session.
The plan from now on is to hold a free-of-charge Woodend Board Game Gathering on the fourth Sunday of each month.
“There was only one person who had not played board games before,” he said.
“Some people were taught new games. Wingspan, a game about birds, was simple enough to teach the basics to a four-year-old.”
Board gaming includes American-style combat games and European games such as favourites Carcassonne and Catan, which are very complex, involving deep strategy.
Of course, the old favourites Monopoly and Scrabble are still around.
Joseph Bromley, one of the attendees, said he couldn’t get excited about playing digital games.
“Half the fun is the desire to caress the cardboard and fondle the little tic-tac energy cells,” Joseph said.
“The other half is hanging with nice people.”

Pictured, Woodend Neighbourhood Centre treasurer Anthony Montague is just one of those taking part in board games at Woodend

Words: Carol Saffer | Image: Kyle Barnes & Henry Maxwell

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