As 10-year-old Layden Burback watches intently as his older brother Shelton, 16, places a piece on the board game board Mastermind on Saturday, December 18, he is already planning his next move.
This is the brothers’ first time playing this game, and it’s thanks to the new Lied Scottsbluff Public Library Board Game Club.
“Mastermind is one of my new favorites,” Shelton said. “It’s like a strategy game. You have to think about your movements. It makes you smarter.
Trying out new games is just one of the club’s many perks, said library assistant Ethan Nelson, who started the club in September. He said he got the idea after library director Erin Aschenbrenner asked him to start curating a list of board games for the library to acquire and circulate in the community.
“We’ve been interested in finding different things to circulate in the community, like board games and puzzles and things like that,” he said. “…We ended up purchasing over 45 new games for the library’s board game collection, and are currently distributing them to patrons.”
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Nelson had been in board game groups before, including in college, and he thought with all the new games it would be a great addition to the library community.
“I was really excited about the potential a board game club could have here at the library,” he said. “…I think board games are a very important educational tool because they can develop skills in logic, communication, social interaction, math and counting, and pattern recognition. … Make the board game club here at the library aligns with the library’s goals of providing high quality public education to the community.
The club meets every third Saturday of the month from 12 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Nelson said there are no hard rules, guidelines or deadlines as to when or how to participate; it’s just meant to be a place where the community can partake in a classic pastime.
“It’s just kind of a casual thing. People can stop for as long as they want, whenever they want,” he said. “Some people stopped for a quick match, and some people stayed the full four hours playing games all afternoon.”
Nelson said he was happy with the turnout so far, with between 10 and 20 people stopping by for each event. Often it is families or a group of friends who come to try new games.
“We love the club,” Lynne Belford said at the December event as she and her daughter, Ily Belford, prepared for a game of Sushi Go. “It gives us a chance to try games and to know which ones to buy for the house.”
Nelson said the club is a great way to promote board and tabletop games, which sometimes get pushed aside in the age of digital and video games. However, board games provide one element that just isn’t quite the same online: social interaction.
“One of my favorite things about board games or tabletop games is the social element, which you can – it’s often missing like video games or phone games and stuff like that,” he said. he declares. “A lot of new board games aren’t strictly competitive; many of them are cooperative or can rely on social levies. And so there are a lot of different mechanisms, I guess, that board games use to develop that social interaction.
This is definitely one of the Burback brothers’ favorite parts about the club.
“It’s fun hanging out with my brother,” Layden said. “They create pleasant moments.”
As the board game club continues to grow, Nelson said he hopes to see the club become more of a way for different members of the community to interact with each other and not always necessarily stay in their own. family or their groups of friends.
“Hopefully as the club grows we can get people who don’t know each other to sit down and play games. I think that’s really what it’s all about. best in creating a board game club – it’s kind of helping people get to know each other and make new friends. …
“One of the coolest things I think about board games is you can have a table of people like maybe an 80 year old, a few 10 year old people, and basically a table of people who know nothing else about each other, and you pull out a board game, and immediately you have something that connects everyone.You can foster an atmosphere of teamwork and shared fun that is really hard to find elsewhere.
Star-Herald editor Brad Staman contributed reporting for this story.