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lives in real-world games
meet regularly, find a kind of fun that computers screen out
Vorenberg, Columbian staff writer
Friday, June 3,
by books, staring down at odd-looking maps strewn across a large white
St. Vladimir realized he had a problem.
there any space/time portals around here?” he asked, looking hopefully
the way at Sean McGill, a silver-haired, wizard-like man who was
dressed as a librarian.
McGill answered, thumbing through some notes and a small stack of
& Dragons books at the Washougal Community Library, where the
is, oddly enough, a librarian.
Vladimir, who is the fantasy alter-ego of 15-year-old Brandon Brown,
disappointed, then slurped a deep straw-full of Mountain Dew before
his brother, Alexander Brown, 17, in an in-depth argument about
mystical method of seeing the unseen.
of about 10 people, ranging in age from 10 to 46, have been using their
creativity — rather than their computers — for the past two years to
through this imaginary realm, which was created by McGill using the
& Dragons system.
it might seem a bit analog, at least to the computer gaming crowd,
actually quite a range of similar noncomputer options out there for
folks in ClarkCounty who are tired
of looking at a
screen for entertainment.
across the county say they welcome newcomers who’d like to join them in
love of strategy, collectible card games and role-play.
open to anybody who wants to come and play,” said Andy Rice, a music
who runs First Friday Game Night at FirstEvangelicalChurch. “We also
encourage people to bring
games that they want to play, so they can teach us.”
group, which meets on the first Friday of each month, tends to play a
strategy games similar to Risk, although some members play role-playing
started out with a few friends meeting on the occasional Friday for a
called Axis and Allies, but as the group expanded over the past 10
years to 30
regular players, members taught each other about a wide variety of
types and styles, Rice said.
like Risk, Risk 2210, they’re called Ameritrash,” Rice said, adding
term is somewhat affectionate. “Other games are called Euro Games (by
game snobs). But we play all kinds.”
board games that the group enjoys include: Power Grid, Twilight
Bootleggers, A Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings, he said.
Friday group inspired Roy Starkweather, owner of Dice Age Games, to
complimentary group at his store called Game Night 2.0, which plays a
array of games on the third Friday of each month.
Washougal library group, which plays on Fridays from , might be a
bit harder to join than
the two Game Night groups, because its adventure has spanned two years,
people want to come out they’re welcome,” McGill said. “It’s been going
while, so it’s a little hard to break in, but we’d be happy to teach
members said they like role-playing because it teaches them to think
working collaboratively and finding a variety of strategies to fight
bargain with the world’s creator,” Alexander Brown said. “You can’t do
with a computer. You can actually argue the physics.”
said the Washougal gatherings also have the unintended, but welcome,
consequence of getting teenagers to participate in efforts to support
had events where we’ve needed volunteers, and this has gotten a lot of
younger people involved in helping out,” McGill said. “We’ve had people
‘This is great.’ They’re glad that their teenagers are here.”
option for would-be analog gamers is the world of collectible card
Munyer, owner of CCG House, runs card game tournaments at his store
and he also said his group would be more than willing to teach
a lot of Magic the Gathering, which has been around since 1993,” Munyer
“It’s sort of a spin-off of Dungeons & Dragons in card form.
simplified in that it takes a lot of the ideas of (D&D), and
puts you in a
competition where you’re a sorcerer or wizard, and you have a deck of
that tells you specific things you can cast.”
are usually one on one, with players trying to beat each other through
of spell casts. Games last anywhere from two to 40 minutes, he said.
which can net crowds of 60-100 people on Friday nights, set players up
round-robin format that turns to elimination as the evening wears on.
that’s sort of a fantasy gaming type, if they don’t know about Magic
should, they’d love it,” Munyer said. “We’re always willing to teach
We’re very new-player friendly.”
option they choose, the people who play these noncomputer games say
appreciate the face-to-face interaction with others. It’s something
that can be
hard to find, especially with the dominance of digital gaming, Rice
come, tell people to come,” Rice said of his group. “We’re friendly,
love to see more new players.”