The event was organised by Phil Minchin from Port Phillip Library, who I met at this year’s SPUN conference, where he presented “Stack of fun: games, community, libraries, technology — A Lifetime of Discovery 2011″ documenting his journey to the US with this year’s Civica LLD Travel Grant. (you can read more about his discoveries on games in libraries here)
He also hosted several games of Werewolf throughout the conference, which kept us all highly entertained.
At the State Library, the event was hosted by volunteers – some from game shops, others, like me, just people who like games and had a few to bring along.
Tables were set up, with signs on each one listing the name of the game, number of players, time per game and complexity, and coloured cardboard strips sticking from the top of the signs indicated how many players were being sought for a game.
News of the day had spread primarily by word of mouth and social media, and there were many people there on the dot at 10:00AM ready to play. Also, being set up in the Experimedia room meant there were a lot of people coming through with the intention to play the video games there, who were very eager to join in when they saw the array of board and card games set up and the number of people playing them.
There were a nice mix of games, from fun and casual board games (Monopoly, Blokus, Mastermind, etc), to interesting card games (Dominion, Fluxx, Chrononauts), to card-combat (Magic: The Gathering), to roleplaying (Dungeons & Dragons) and so much more!
Age ranges were similarly mixed, from primary school aged kids through to forty and fifty year olds, and it was a fairly even spread through the individual games too, which was great to see.
One thing I really enjoyed seeing throughout the day was the level of collaboration, sharing and inclusion going on between people who had never met before that day – I have attended the odd video game, tabletop RPG and similar meet-up, and one of the problems I’ve had with them is they can sometimes be a little exclusive, as well as a little socially awkward.
So to see so many people walking up to people sitting around in the gaming area, asking them if they’d like to play a game, to see someone walk up to a group of people obviously enjoying themselves, ask what they’re playing and be invited to join in, it was really nice.
I don’t think anyone left the day without having learned at least one or two new games they hadn’t played before, and I’m certain many people made new friends to be able to play with. The whole time I was there I didn’t see a single face without a big smile beaming across it.
Much fun was had by all.