I arrived at the Southport Public Library around 1:30 pm, unsure of exactly what to expect in my efforts to aid in the running of Family Game Day. I sought out the librarian in charge of the festivities, and it turned out to be Erin Elyse Moehring, one our most recent Facebook likes. She was very helpful in explaining the basic outline of the event and even helped me to bring in some of the games that I had brought with me. Moreover, right from the beginning I could sense her enthusiasm for Family Game Day and gaming in general!
I began to get set up in the community room, with the intention of putting out a few of my games and teaching them to any interested parties. As I was unaware of what age groups to expect, I proceeded to prepare Ticket to Ride, Forbidden Island, as well as Wits and Wagers. Those three games can be taught quickly and appeal to a wide swathe of gamers including many age groups and levels of experience. Shortly thereafter the host of the event, Andrea Callahan, arrived with her husband Sean and their two young sons Tomas and David. It was nice to finally meet her in person, and she quickly gave me the down low on the proceedings. I informed her of the good news, that our mutual friends at the Greeks Pizzeria, located on the corner of Stop 11 Rd. and Emerson, had given me 18 free pizza, participation awards for handing out to the players. Right on her heels were two more volunteers, the wonderful Jenny and Rosie. For a couple older ladies, Jenny and Rosie’s youthful energy as well as their love for games was immediately apparent. They sat down with Sean and David for a game of Ticket to Ride, and after some brief instruction everyone seemed to be having a good time!
I was told that the normal attendance level has been in the neighborhood of 2 or 3 players, but before long a number kids ranging from the age of 5-12 began to pour in to the room. David lost interest in Ticket to Ride and I believe he joined Andrea in playing a game of Forbidden Island with a mother and her two young sons. I sat in for David in the game of Ticket to Ride and handed out pizza coupons to all comers. Jenny took her leave from the game so that she could teach some of the other children games from the library’s supply. From that point forward Sean, Rosie, and I continued to play rather haphazardly as we all aided in the instruction of other games and Rosie put on her Jacks show for all present. Rosie’s passion is the game of Jacks, and she spreads the love of the game by doing demonstrations and handing out free copies of the game to all who perform a few of the basic moves that she teaches them. For a woman in her 70’s, Rosie still has remarkable hand and eye coordination likely honed over decades of playing Jacks. Stay tuned for more on Rosie and her Jacks, as she gave me a copy of an article she wrote a few years ago and I will be posting it in the next few days. For the next hour or so things were somewhat chaotic, but it was a good kind of chaos as there were smiles in all directions. Just before the end of the event David rejoined the game of Ticket to Ride, taking back over from me, and although they were unable to finish the game, he had the highest score when play concluded much to his great pleasure.
As we wrapped things up, I had more time to talk with Andrea, Sean, and Erin about the day and future events. The general consensus was that things had been a huge success, and as a result February’s Family Game Day has been expanded to four hours! By expanding the time slot, our ability to introduce more people to the joys of gaming will only be increased. It was a great day spent with some wonderful people who I look forward to getting to know better. If you are reading this and are located in the central Indiana area, I highly recommend coming out to see us February 2nd for the next Family Game Day. I can guarantee that you will be greeted with smiling faces and great enthusiasm for games of all types and all for low low price of free! That sounds like a win for everyone involved!