RHIANNA MC KENZIE
Before the advent of smart phones and online gaming, playing indoors with your friends meant a night around a table playing cards, monopoly or scrabble. Just when I thought board games were a thing of the past, I was pleasantly surprised to find that there are more board games available today than ever before, and children are playing!
International Tabletop Day, celebrated this year on June 1, was pioneered by the popular commercial Youtube channel Geek and Sundry, and engages their international audience in a day of casual and competitive board game fun.
TT Board Gamers started off as a small group of friends coming together to lime around a game table, and now host gaming events across the country. Now, they are bringing the nostalgia of the 90s to the younger generation. They have been sharing their passion of gaming with the children of the Arima community, together with the support of the Nalis library, for the past three years to participate in International Tabletop Day, and the event has been a surprising hit with children of the new technological age.
The library boasts the largest board game collection in the country, including Santimanitay – a local Carnival-themed game – and the children could not get enough at the event earlier this month. According to the co-founders of TT Board Gamers, Ryan Rodriguez and Anthony De Castro, board games are great for children because it encourages socialising in a playful way. “We like to stir imagination here,” he said. They both agree that as adults, it’s a great way to teach children valuable life lessons like patience, strategy, self expression, confidence and losing gracefully. Board games allow children to socialise without the distraction of electronics, bouncing ideas and strategies off of one another; strategies that help them to think and grow. While social media has its benefits, nothing can beat that face to face gaming experience.
During one of the games, titled Fire in the Library, I watched as their instructor, Mr Rodriguez engaged the children by guiding them through the rules of the game. The children, 12 and under, began bouncing strategies off of each other, helping each other through difficult turns to accomplish their tasks, even if it did not benefit them. The objective was to save the library as a team and the camaraderie was inspiring to behold. “This is fun,” said one of the players at the table, enthusiastically.
The tabletop event is one of many events hosted at the Nalis library in Arima for children to enjoy. The walls are plastered with arts and crafts projects from past events. There is also Forest of Folklore, a Halloween-themed costume event, and Baby Lap Sit for mothers and their babies. The library is a hub for community activities, especially for children. Playing board games is the new way to learn at the library.