Across the Board looks at gaming in public spaces around the world. In countries all over the globe people gather to play games in pubs, community centers, cafes, churches, and all manner of other meeting places. This series will describe some of those places and the people who gather to play games there in an attempt to encourage others to emulate them.
Article by Piet Notebaert.
In June 1992, a local Cultural Center in Brugge asked me, Piet Notebaert, to present a guided exposition of boardgames. That day I brought 200 games to the Center. The many visitors learned about all the different kinds of boardgames available in Vlaanderen (the Flemish part of Belgium). Some of them asked me to start a club.
In September 1992, we organized the first meeting in one of the rooms of the Cultural Center. The Spelgroep Hof van Watervliet, or Boardgame Club, was born. There were only 6 players present at the first meeting. But the Center had access to the media so soon there were about 20 to 25 players.
We meet on the 2nd and 4th Fridays of each month (also the 5th, if there is one, because it would take too long to wait for the next 2nd Friday). As of January 1996 the club has 150 regular members and 40-45 players gather on an average evening.
Through the years we have played many games, mainly from Germany. That means that some players are translating those games into Dutch. Some gamers had to drive many kilometers to attend an evening. That's why they started their own club. Now, the towns of Mortsel and Eeklo have their own groups that are linked to our club.
Every first Sunday of September our club in Eeklo organizes a convention named "Spelbreker" (Spoilsport). It's the biggest gaming event in Belgium. Our club always releases a new edition of Gids Gezelschapsspellen, The Dutch Guide to Boardgames, at that convention.
Apart from playing games on Friday evenings, our club also organizes some other activities:
Our main purpose is to give players the opportunity to play interesting games together with other gamers. Some players prefer the big strategic games (those that can take 3 to 4 hours), others prefer games that are just a lot of fun. That's why we have 2 rooms in the Cultural Center: one on the 2nd flour for the thinkers and one in a typical Medieval Cellar for the laughers.
Piet Notebaert (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Game Cabinet - email@example.com - Ken Tidwell