Board games seeing a revival

Heather Latter

In such a technological age, it may seem strange that board games once again are gaining popularity.
But a local gaming group wants people to know that board games are back—and anyone can join in the fun.
“What’s really great about playing board games is the social interaction,” explained Tim Weaver of International Falls, who helped start up the Borderlakes Gaming Group about a year ago.
Through a website called Board Game Geek, he met another guy who had just moved to the area.
“We both wanted an outlet to play board games so we started getting together sporadically,” Weaver recalled.
Then they began meeting twice a month and others started to join in.
“Soon we came up with the name and we’ve been playing for about a year,” he noted.
But the group, that will see anywhere from four-20 players a night, wants people to know anyone can join in.
“It’s free and a great way to meet new people,” Weaver reasoned. “We’ve all played video games but what we really like is the face-to-face interaction.
“And it’s more fun with more people.”
Weaver said group members have built a collection of games they bring to play.
“Sometimes we’ll play games we know, but we also try new games all the time,” he remarked, noting that a lot of games share similar mechanics so once you learn the basics, it’s easy to pick up many games.
But these games are not the classic games ones like “Monopoly” or checkers.
“They are much more complex,” Weaver explained, though adding they sometimes play “silly” games, too.
For instance, during the group’s meeting on Sept. 19, they played “FlashPoint: Fire Rescue,” “Star Realms,” “Sushi Go!,” “Forbidden Desert,” “Tsuro,” and “Killer Bunnies and the Quest for the Magic Carrot.”
“Flash Point: Fire Rescue” is a co-operative game of fire rescue, where players try to rescue victims from a raging building fire.
“Star Realms,” meanwhile, is a fast-paced deck-building card game of outer space combat.
“Sushi Go!” is a super-fast sushi card game while the co-operative adventure game, “Forbidden Desert,” features an innovative set of mechanisms, such as an ever-shifting board, individual resource management, and a unique method for locating the flying machine parts.
“Tsuro” is an abstract strategy game with an Asian spiritual theme while “Killer Bunnies” is a funny and satirical non-collectible, expandable card game.
“We try to play a variety of games,” Weaver said, adding they like to try to get in at least three-four games a night per person.
“Depending on how many people are out, we will have two or three different tables of games going,” he noted.
And every few months, they even plan a family night, where spouses and kids come out for an evening of fun and games.
The Borderlakes Gaming Group typically meets the first and third Friday of each month at Berean Baptist Church over in International Falls.
“It’s a casual atmosphere,” Weaver stressed. “Whoever can come shows up and we decide what to play.
“Sometimes we play silly games, sometimes we play games that make you think, and sometimes we have a theme night, like maybe a medieval/castle theme,” he said.
“You get to know people pretty quickly,” Weaver added, citing board gaming is a growing hobby across the U.S. and around the world.
And Weaver stressed people from both sides of the border are encouraged to come out.
“We always wanted the group to have people from both sides and we do have some Canadians who come out regularly,” he remarked.
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