Board games provide a fun and generally calm way to wind down after a long day at work, and they can also be a good community-building outlet for many gamers.
Some area residents have organized a few monthly play sessions for anyone who wants to attend.
Valery Updike and Steven May, members of the Owensboro Area Board Gamers club, coordinate multi-hour gaming sessions for newcomers and regulars twice a month.
The club started five years ago, Updike said, but it generally “flew under the radar” until the onset of the pandemic when most people turned to board games during the lockdown.
“We had been playing regularly since around 2017, but decided to seek an online presence in 2018,” Updike said.
According to the club’s Facebook page, it has 175 members. But Updike said the club’s in-person gatherings are typically smaller, usually numbering around a dozen people, with COVID-19 making some people hesitant to attend.
“Before the pandemic, we had a bit bigger group, closer to 15 to 20,” she said.
Updike said the band didn’t play what people would consider “traditional board games.” The club focuses on games that involve more strategy and mental dexterity, like Settlers of Catan or Wingspan.
“It’s not your typical Monopoly or Checkers,” she said. “We call them heavy games.”
She said the club is not opposed to playing an icebreaker game to make newcomers feel more comfortable with the group.
For her, board games are not only a fun way to pass the time, but also a vital community-building event that helps bring people together.
“Once you sit around a table, especially with people you don’t know, and engage in competitive or fun play, you can learn a lot about people,” Updike said. “You may find that you have a lot more in common with each other than you thought you had.”
The club hosts game nights from 6-9 p.m. on the second Tuesday of the month and 1-4 p.m. on the fourth Sunday of the month at the Salvation Army Fellowship Hall.
Updike said play sessions are open to everyone at no cost.
For more information, contact the club’s Facebook page, Owensboro Area Board Gamers.