Valdosta Daily Times

March 31, 2013

Fans of tabletop gaming explore library’s collection

Quinten Plummer
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — South Georgia gaming enthusiasts celebrated the first annual International Tabletop Day at Valdosta State University’s Odum library Saturday as they explored mountains of Odum’s growing tabletop game library and conquered games brought in from private collections.

A product of the library’s newly formed Odum Tabletop Game Committee, reference librarian and assistant professor Jeff Gallant said the idea to host the event emerged from growing interest in Odum’s new collection of games.

“We’re looking to enhance our tabletop collection as we go and host more events like this, where we bring people from the community and VSU together,” said Gallant. “Also, it’s a good way to get all of the gaming enthusiasts in South Georgia in one place for a while. That way, we’ll make a lot more friends. And we’ll probably be playing more games together on our own time too.”

While bearing an impressive assortment of games, Gallant said the Tabletop Committee reached out to gaming organizations around town to ensure the event’s success. The South Georgia Geek Society and Black Sunshine Gaming were both on hand to lend the gathering some of their gaming firepower, and Gallant said a group from Kool Comics was on its way to the event when he spoke with The Times.

The event wasn’t created with a focus on competition in mind, according to Gallant, who said the day was more about getting together and cooperation.

The day, unburdened by an itinerary, felt much like a convention as participants switched between guiding others through their favorite games and demonstrating new ones.

A few tables back from a seemingly tranquil game of Magic: The Gathering, Justin R. Timberlake of Black Sunshine Games guided new players’ matches of Kaijudo. He joined the rest of the board game company’s staff at the event to draw more interest to one of his favorite trading card games.

“I play a lot of other types of strategy games, but I have the bad habit of playing against people who’ve worked out exactly what they’re going to do and when,” said Timberlake. “It almost isn’t fair. With trading card games, I get the element of luck. It helps quite a bit. When things are done just right, you can beat even the best player which is how a lot of things in life work in general. And plus, the cards are pretty.”

The day-long event also gave exposure to South Georgia Geek Society, a public network that has swelled past 70 online members in under a year since its launch.

“We do a lot of gaming,” said Fisher. “But we also get together for things like movie premieres and  television shows. We go out and play trivia and sometimes we just hang out. It’s really a good group to meet new people and form that into a community.”

The event drew Christian Poss two hours down the interstate from Perry, because it afforded him an invaluable opportunity to network with other game enthusiasts, he stated.

“A bunch of my friends are in the Geek Society, and so they invited me to come down, play some games and hang out a bit,” said Poss. “Plus, it’s international tabletop day and we spend a lot of time watching the Tabletop show on YouTube with Will Wheaton. He picks a bunch of table top games and plays them with his friends. You wouldn’t think watching a half to a full hour long show of someone playing a game would be fun.  But it’s pretty interesting and that’s why we came down.”

To find out more about the South Georgia Geek Society, visit the group’s Facebook page at Facebook.com/Group/SoGaGeeks or visit their website at Thegeeksociety.org

To learn more about Black Sunshine Games, visit the organization’s Facebook page at Facebook.com/BlackSunshineGames.

For more information on VSU’s Odum Library and its program, visit the website at Valdosta.edu/Library.