‘Board meetings’

Beat the cold, connect with friends over a board game

Dan Bayens, left, and Bill Steavens play a game at The Jester’s Court, 1000 N. Fifth St.



The Montrose Boardgamers meet at 6:45 p.m. on the first and third Tuesdays of each month at the Trinity Reformed Presbyterian Church, 2705 Sunnyside Road. Visit its Facebook wall at “Montrose Boardgamers.”

A similar group meets one Saturday a month in Grand Junction. Those interesting in joining can email Cade Uecker at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Information on either group is at boardgamemeetup.com.

And if you want to learn more about a game before purchasing, get online and check out these sites.

■ Go to boardgamegeek.com.

■ Watch Will Wheaton’s game demos on his TableTop You Tube channel.

■ Listen or read Tom Vasel’s podcasts and rankings at dicetower.com.


Each Monday from 6:30–9:30 p.m. checkered boards and game pieces fill the tables at the Starbucks inside Safeway, 2901 F Road. It’s a Grand Junction Chess Club meeting.

While grocery shoppers hurry in and out, the chess club members play and talk strategy.

The club is one of several opportunities for chess players in western Colorado.

The Delta Chess Club meets 6:30-9:30 p.m., on Tuesdays at Bill Heddles Recreation Center, 530 Gunnison River Dr.

Information on either club can be found at westerncoloradochess.com.

And for younger chess players seeking a challenge, there’s Chess Express’ first Western Slope Tournament on Saturday, Nov. 9, at Clarion Inn, 755 Horizon Drive.

Chess Express is Colorado-based company specializing in providing opportunities for school-age children to play chess.

Children interested in playing in the tournament can register in advance at chessexpress.biz or at 8 a.m. on the day of the tournament. A players’ meeting will be at 8:30 a.m. The tournament will end at 4:30 p.m.

Cost to compete in the tournament is $20 per player or $15 if registering for more than one tournament.

Children can’t just be dropped off or left unsupervised.

This is the first of four Chess Express tournaments scheduled locally in the next few months. The others are scheduled for Jan. 14, Feb. 22, and March 22.

The November and January tournaments will have divisions based on grade. After the first two tournaments, the divisions will be based on ability. Trophies will be awarded.

Kevin McConnell founded Chess Express because of his son, Griffin, who started playing chess when he was 4 and fell in love with it.

In May, Griffin, who was born in Grand Junction, had the left half of his brain removed because of persistent seizures. Now 9 years old, Griffin resumed playing chess at Children’s Hospital even before he regained the ability to walk or talk, McConnell said.

Griffin plans to compete in the Western Slope Tournament.

“His recovery has been nothing short of remarkable,” McConnell said. The benefits chess had for Griffin are why McConnell “decided to do this series of tournaments,” which also are offered on the Front Range.


FamilyFun magazine, part of the Parents magazine group, published its Top 10 Board Games of 2013 in May. Here is what they picked:

■ Thinking Game — “WordARound”

■ Memory Game — “What’s That Racket?”

■ Game of Luck — “Race Through Space”

■ Tricky Game — “Swivel”

■ Active Game — “Never Land Challenge Game”

■ Strategy Game — “Indigo”

■ Cooperative Game — “What’s It?”

■ Balancing Game — “Topsy Towers”

■ Math Game — “Robbin’ Eggs”

■ Cooperative Game — “Race to the Treasure!”

■ View the list: parents.com/fun/games/family/top-ten-board-games.

Taylor Nakamoto admitted he has “a board game buying problem.”

Instead of run from it, however, Nakamoto started the Montrose Boardgamers group to justify his habit, giving him and other avid gamers an outlet to play and interact over their mutual love of board games.

“We have a pretty good core group,” Nakamoto said.

The Montrose group meets at 6:45 p.m. on the first and third Tuesdays of each month at the Trinity Reformed Presbyterian Church, 2705 Sunnyside Road, where Nakamoto brings between five and 10 games from his collection of “probably 90” for players to choose from.

The Montrose Boardgamers has anywhere from five people to a dozen at its “board meetings,” but Nakamoto is open to expand.

Pulling out old board games, investing in new ones or joining a board game group may be the perfect entertainment option as temperatures drop and darkness sets in earlier, potentially forcing people indoors.

The sheer number of board games available today provides people of all ages opportunities to find something to match their situation.

■ Baby-sitting young children? Grab “Candy Land,” a classic, with its peppermint forest, ice cream sea and simple rules.

■ Hosting a party with people who may, or may not, know each other? Consider “Apples to Apples” or “The World Needs a Jetpack Unicorn,” which has few game pieces and hilarious outcomes.

■ Have a group of friends or family who are fans of strategy? Go for “Ticket To Ride” or “The Settlers of Catan,” both famous for their replay value and designs.

Trudi Wagner, owner of The Jester’s Court, 1000 N. Fifth St., specializes in the sale and knowledge of lesser-known, higher-quality Euro-style games such as “The Settlers of Catan” and “Ticket To Ride.”

“I think the tabletop board games are a way to reconnect with people,” Wagner said. “Anybody can pick up a board game. It’s one way to interact with other people without being in front of a computer screen.”

Although “Ticket To Ride” or “The Settlers of Catan” have crossed into the mainstream, many Euro-style board games remain under the radar for those who don’t stay up on gaming trends or get scared off by higher retail prices of such games.

Euro-style games often retail for more than $40 because of their higher quality. “Takenoko” is one such game, and Wagner pulled it out to show off its intricate wooden and elaborate board pieces.

“Every time you play it, you are going to get something different,” Wagner said of Euro-style games. “Monopoly never really changes. You go around and collect money.”

The Jester’s Court hosts a game night from 5–8 p.m. each Wednesday showcasing some lesser-known games.

Of course, there’s still demand for classic board games such as “Sorry,” “Monopoly” or “Clue,” which are all in the top 30 board games sold at Amazon. It’s just about personal preference.

“Board games provide that face-to-face interaction,” Nakamoto said. “You are competing with someone across the table from you. It’s rewarding.”

Are you in a board game group looking for more members? Email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), so she can share your information on your group and how people can join.


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