Two years ago, Providence residents Phill Trotter and Tom Nimmo were each hosting regular board game nights, enjoying titles like Settlers of Catan, Dominion and Pandemic. Phill was running out of space to store and play games, and the two noticed that their gaming circles overlapped, so they decided to join forces using a vacant room at Phill’s business in Wayland Square: the Board Room was born.
A year later, attendance had grown and the group’s windowless room was overheating, so they started looking for an expansion. In June, they found their new home at gaming and collectibles store Mana Core in Olneyville Square.
Membership is $20 a month for unlimited access to roughly 500 games, with Wednesday nights free and open to the public; 25-30 people typically attend for primarily strategy games as well as faster-paced popular party titles like Codenames and Telestrations.
Mondays are slower-paced with more complex and time-consuming games like Scythe. The oldest is an 1860’s wooden Crokinole, which hangs on the wall – a Canadian favorite.
Gaming clubs offer the obvious benefit of trying before you buy – games can be pricey. Another benefit? Making new friends.
“Online gaming is still very widespread,” says Phill, “but more and more, people are looking for that face-to-face interaction.”
“There’s a stereotype of the average gamer as not the most social being,” Tom continues, “but that’s simply not the case.” The Board Room prides itself on being fully inclusive and a safe, welcoming space for all, boasting roughly 30% female membership.
They have also partnered with local businesses, hosting events at Pizza J, Nolan’s Pub and New Harvest Coffee, as well as a gallery show with local artists (with the only theme being to “keep it kinda nerdy”), and plan to partner with the Olneyville Library post-flood renovations. 679 Broadway. 753-4263.
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