Calling all Board Gamers!
Let’s face it, we love board games. We bring them to conferences and small groups, we play them during NSO and have long game nights with friends.
So let’s talk ministry using board games! This Saturday, April 29th, is International Tabletop Day. Yes, this is an actual celebration! This day is designed to encourage people to get out and play board games! It is an all-day event celebrated by local businesses, celebrities, livestreaming, board game developers and it invites the whole world to join in!
Spring semester is nearly over or beginning to draw to a close, so now is a great time to do one last fun event! A board game night can be a much needed break from studying for students. A place for fun, community and encouragement before the semester is over. It can also be a place to do some more recruiting for a summer camp; bring your laptop and they can sign up there!
Putting on an event doesn’t have to be complicated. If your campus has a board game club, or if you have a board game store in your town, chances are they are doing something already so you don’t have to create something yourself. Check out official events here: https://www.tabletopday.com/
Here are some tips to have an awesome and meaningful Tabletop Day:
- Host in a large space. If possible, have many tables so students can show up whenever and see what games are being played.
- Invite widely. Get student leaders to bring their small groups. Invite freshmen to bring their dorm floor.
- Snacks. Hospitality 101. What is an event without good snacks?
- Play games that aren’t too long. Students are in study mode, they are more willing to take a break if they’re not signing up for a marathon game of Risk.
- Be a good sport and teach. Pick games that are easy to teach and involve a lot of people. If the game involves elimination (ie. Bang or Mafia) have short, backup games for players.
- Provide a variety of games. Cooperative games are smaller but less competitive, bigger and complex games take longer to explain, and faster party-style games can host a lot of people. A variety will appeal to different people and different groups.
- Practice meaningful conversations. Board games can be like a Proxe Station, a chance for deeper, even spiritual conversations with students. It’s also a great space to invite and coach leaders to build relationships with other students.
- Create a safe space. A lot of students who enjoy board games are self-conscious about “nerdy” interests and a game night can be a space for them to feel comfortable expressing themselves. However, one insensitive comment can destroy that safety.
Thank you to my friends who helped me compile this list! Board games gather people, they build community and they’re a lot of fun! Of course, these tips aren’t exclusive to Tabletop Day, they are true for any board game event!