Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Building a Game Club in your Community

By Margaret Duncan, Ed.D.

Do you like history? Do you like playing tabletop games? If yes, why not combine the two!  The Histocrats have always supported the idea of incorporating games into the classroom.  However, as an extension we also hope that students would want to play games outside the school walls.  Like many schools, the high school I teach at does have a game club for students.  Each week members play games after school for fun.  Taking this idea one step further, we helped launch a local game club in our community.  The goal is simple—play games and have fun.  As part of our game club’s mission we invite all ages and gaming abilities to participate.

In its basic element, a game club is an organization of individuals devoted to bringing game players together.  We simply asked a local restaurant if we could use their additional room, and they said yes.  With this simple answer, we were off and running.  It became a win-win proposition.  We are provided a free space to play and the restaurant owner is happy because we increase foot traffic and everyone eats throughout the night. 

The group we support is the South Metro Atlanta United Gamers (SMAUG) and we meet every first and third Friday of the month.  There is a large variety of games available and our “History Game of the Week” selections usually come out of one of the play sessions.  Games range from generic board games, German-style board games, dice games, card games and collectible card games. They also range from quick and easy to all night complex games.  Usually, a few of the members bring the bulk of the games but anyone is welcome to bring any game they and others may want to play.

While we try and play game just for fun rather than competition, we do acknowledge the winner of a game.  We admit to stealing Wil Wheaton’s TableTop concept of a Trophy of Awesome.  Anyone who wins a game gets to hold and have their name put on the trophy.  It is just a fun thing to do. 

As we have grown, we continue to have a fun mix of people and games.  The atmosphere of the club is relaxed and newcomers are welcomed.  Most participants are motivated by the love of gaming, however, some come to enjoy the camaraderie of the group.  We often have a friend of a friend come and declare that they are not a gamer, they are just there for the friend.  However, after a few quick games they are enjoying themselves and will usually attend without being prodded.  The club has been fun.  We continue to grow and introduce more and more history themed games into the mix.  The club has been a fun endeavor.  It is a great family activity and cool to combine two passions—gaming and history. 

For anyone interested in starting their own game club, I would simply say go for it.  If your community does not have a local game shop to host the club, then ask a local restaurant.  It is okay to start small with a few friends and games.  Use media resources like Facebook, MeetUp or BoardGameGeek to publicize your group.  No matter what, just have fun, play more games and in time your club will grow. 

For more information:!/pages/South-Metro-Atlanta-United-Gamers/253677608130145!/histocrats


  1. I really enjoy and highly recommend the games Citadels, Puerto Rico, and Munchkins--which is a play on words and sayings. All I feel are worthy of the "Game of the Week title." Also with out a doubt at some point you should have an entire blog on Twilight Struggle as a lesson on the Cold War!

  2. I have never played Citadels but love Puerto Rico and Munchkin. Also, I have considered Twilight Struggle in the classroom but had not thought of a specific Cold War blog. Considering there are several good games for the time period, it could definitely make for an interesting blog. Thanks for the suggestions!