On Saturday, Green Mountain Gamers presented Winter Weirdness, their third seasonal game day and the first to take place in the city of Barre. Hosted in the undercroft of the Church of the Good Shepherd, game-players came from all over Vermont and points beyond — including Quebec and New Hampshire — to share in good company and good games.
The highlight of the day was a Ticket to Ride tournament sponsored by The Book Garden of Montpelier. The top rail-rider out of twenty participants won a $50 gift certificate generously donated by the book store.
Other players struggled against hidden traitors to bring the fleet to Kobol safely in Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game. Some explored a spooky haunted house in Betrayal at House on the Hill. Yet more shuffled cards and built up their own private kingdoms in the deck-building game Dominion. In short, if there were enough hobby games and people to play them to satisfy any game enthusiast.
You can read more about Winter Weirdness and see their gallery of pictures at the Green Mountain Gamers website.
This Saturday, January 8th, the Church of the Good Shepherd in Barre will host a tabletop game day presented by the Green Mountain Gamers. The third in an ongoing series of seasonal game days, Winter Weirdness as it’s called is an opportunity for dyed-in-the-wool game enthusiasts and newcomers to the tabletop hobby to enjoy a full day of trying new games and sharing their favorites.
In addition to casual play, there will be a Ticket to Ride tournament open to comers of all skill levels, with a $50 gift certificate donated by The Book Garden of Montpelier going to the first place winner.
Winter Weirdness runs from 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM on January 8th in Barre. There is a suggested donation of $5 to participate, half the proceeds of which will be donated to the Church of the Good Shepherd’s charity of choice. Visit the Green Mountain Gamers’ website for more information about this and future game days around Vermont.
In a northern state like Vermont, the locals turn to any number of indoor activities during the wintry months, including tabletop gaming. So it’s convenient that National Gaming Day happens to fall in November, traditionally a time of year in Vermont when the weather is dreary, the sunlight running short and the snow has yet to fall in sufficient quantity for skiing, snowmobiling and all that.
Almost a dozen Vermont libraries participated in National Gaming Day 2010. I myself visited the Fletcher Free Library in Burlington, where eight people gathered to play some of their favorite tabletop games. Newport’s Goodrich Memorial Library hosted the Border Board Games group, who had an excellent turnout.
Sharing in the spirit of playing board games was the second annual Gathering of the Gamers: The Maze of Games at Ilsley Library in Middlebury. Coincidentally taking place on the same date as National Gaming Day, Gathering of the Gamers ran the gamut of tabletop activities, from mainstream games like Mouse Trap — very eagerly assembled and triggered by a group of young children again and again — to traditional hobby games like Talisman and a character generation session for a Dungeons & Dragons campaign.
The Gathering’s organizer, Eric Bussiere, did a lot to engage both the local and game communities, receiving sponsorship from game manufacturers, local restaurants and other businesses. In addition to everyone winning a door prize, there were pizza and other snacks donated for game day attendees.
Gaming and Vermont in November go together beautifully. The previous weekend was the tabletop game convention Carnage; this weekend was National Gaming Day and the Gathering of the Gamers. Next weekend is the monthly get-together of Border Board Games in Derby Line. It’s a good month to play games in Vermont, particularly since the freak bout of sunshine appears to have ended.
This past weekend was the thirteenth annual Carnage, a convention dedicated to the playing of tabletop games: miniatures war games, board games and every other kind of game that doesn’t require a computer or console to play.
The thing about hobby games like Magic: The Gathering or Warhammer 40,000 is that it can often be difficult to find fellow players, if one’s community lacks a natural hub such as the friendly local game store. In a rural state with low population density like Vermont, the chance to play one’s favorite game becomes even rarer. So a weekend when the gamer per square foot ratio skyrockets is a natural chance not only to trot out one’s army, deck, adventure or beloved board game, but also to make connections. There’s nothing like discovering that someone in the next town over from you is a huge Advanced Squad Leader fan, too.
A convention like Carnage has two aspects: playing games and socializing. The two often blend in unexpected ways, too. Yes, people chat in the bar during the Diplomacy tournament. But that’s not all. This year, a game of Munchkin culminated in a marriage proposal. Rumors the ceremony will be at Carnage 2011 are debatable.
All in all, it was a tremendous weekend for tabletop gamers in Vermont, as well as those who came from wider New England. Lots of games were played, monsters slain and new friendships made.
Carnage is an annual tabletop game convention that takes place the first weekend of November. For three days, gamers gather to play their favorites and try the newest titles in the hobby. All types of tabletop games are played: miniature war games, European-style board games, collectible card games like Magic: The Gathering and pencil and paper role-playing games.
A convention is a great way to try out new games, or sample the hobby as whole if you’ve never had the chance to explore tabletop games beyond the toy aisle of the local department store. Games are run by volunteers GMs, or game master or moderator, so they’re motivated to teach a game to newcomers, as the more people who know how to play it, the more they get to play it.
Carnage the 13th runs from November 5th through the 7th at the Lake Morey Resort in Fairlee, Vermont. Tickets are available at the door for the day or whole weekend.