Board games experiencing a resurgence Playing board games has become a popular way to socialize with friends

The time of board games is here. No longer forgotten and gathering dust on a shelf, board games have become a popular way for people to socialize.

At the Carrot Community Art Coffeehouse, the last Tuesday of every month is Board Games Night. According to Mary Ann Aquino, the Carrot’s operations manager, there’s always a good turnout.

“A lot of the same people come. They wait until that day to come to the Carrot.”

Avenue Church started Board Games Night last year. It’s open to everyone and people can either use the Carrot’s board games or bring their own games.

Aquino said she thinks board games have surged in popularity because we live in such a digital world. She added, “It’s fun, it’s interactive, and it’s the best way to network. You get to know people better that way.”

It’s also becoming more inclusive. When Catrin Berghoff started seriously playing board games several years ago, she said it was a “mostly very white, very male hobby.”

Berghoff is one of the organizers of GOBFest, a convention of games for gamers. Now in its fourth year, GOBFest has been drawing more people every year at the April 9-10 event.

“The focus is on getting people in a room together and just playing games,” said Berghoff. She explained that playing board games is a great way to socialize. “You don’t have to talk all the time. It’s a really relaxing, low-stress way to spend time with each other.”

At GOBFest, people can play a determined number of rounds in tournaments or play as many games as they wish in hosted games. If people want to play casually, open gaming is available with 500 games from which to choose. Volunteers are on hand to help where needed.

Besides the games, a flea market will be set up for people buying and selling used games and a game design workshop will feature an Edmonton-based game designer.

Participants can also enjoy life-sized gaming with Dutch Blitz, a Mennonite game played with three feet by three feet cardboard cards. The game will be played in the gym and “is a little less sit on your butt for two hours.”

Berghoff stressed the importance of GOBFest being a welcoming environment. “We’re very aware of building an inclusive environment for everyone, regardless of gender or age.”

Last year, children as young as 10 years old attended. According to the GOBFest website, “We can’t give you an exact suitable age range for attending GOBfest because every kid is different and we have a variety of complexity levels in our offerings, but 12 is almost definitely old enough and under 8 is almost definitely too young to have a good time.” Berghoff added, “it depends on the child. Bring your child if they can play the game without much help. You won’t be able to help them in a tournament.”   

Attend GOBFest for either the entire weekend or just one of the days. Register online at gobfest.ca or pay with cash at the door.

Board Games Night @ The Carrot Community Arts Coffeehouse
9351 – 118 Ave
Last Tuesday of every month from 7-9 p.m.

Board Games Night @ Highlands Library
6710 – 118 Avenue
April 13, May 11, and June 15 at 6:30 p.m.

GOBFest Board Game Convention
April 9-10
Alberta Avenue Hall
9210 – 118 Ave
Register at gobfest.ca or pay cash at door
$25 for Saturday; $20 for Sunday; $40 for weekend

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