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In your own backyard: A stimulating society

The Gamers Society offers chance to play games, interact with fellow students

 by Kristi Eaton  published on Thursday, April 21, 2005

Economics senior Chris Hartwig plays a board game with fellow club members.  Hartwig is the co-founder of The Gamers Society, a group that meets weekly to play a variety of board games./issues/arts/693012
Danielle Peterson / STATE PRESS MAGAZINE
Economics senior Chris Hartwig plays a board game with fellow club members. Hartwig is the co-founder of The Gamers Society, a group that meets weekly to play a variety of board games.
 

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It's a late afternoon in the Memorial Union, and while most students are scarfing down lunch, one group of students sits hovered around a single table, cards in hand.

They are members of one of the least talked about, but most organized and devoted clubs on campus, The Gamers Society.

"We play all kinds of games," says Tiffany Branum, president of the society. "We started with video games and have slowly moved to card games, board games, even pen and pencil games."

Branum, a justice studies junior, founded the club in July with her boyfriend and economics senior Chris Hartwig. Hartwig and Branum set up an informational booth at the beginning of the school year and recruited members.

"Word of mouth is also a huge part of our club," Branum says.

The club meets at 5 p.m. Fridays on the Memorial Union stage, although impromptu meetings often take place in between classes in front of the Chik-Fil-A.

At the impromptu meetings, card games are often the game of choice. Lunch money and Munchkin are two of the most popular games.

During regularly scheduled meetings, members play about 10 games.

"We've also been able to get some people to play other games that they might not otherwise play," Branum says. "The people that only played the video games are now more willing to play board games or card games and vice versa."

Photography sophomore Amanda Barber has been a gamer for as long as she can remember and thought the club was perfect for her. She joined after attending only one meeting.

"It's an opportunity to play many different types of games, and a chance to socialize, and some of us really need that," Barber says.

Barber holds one of the coveted Guild titles as the "promotions lackey." Her duties consist of mostly running errands and getting the word out about the club. Other positions on the Guild are the gamemaster, the scribe, keeper of Coins and technomancer.

Part of the reason for the Guild is to be able to keep the society organized and running after Branum and Hartwig have graduate.

"We take the business aspect of the club very seriously," Hartwig says. "It's laid back, but we also want to maintain organization."

Besides The Guild, the society also has a constitution, by-laws, a budget, a newsletter and a Web site. But don't think the members take themselves too seriously. Article III of the Constitution is titled "Officers of the Organization, aka Who to Blame" followed by Article IV, "Duties of the Guild, aka What to Blame Them For."

For some of the members, the society is more than a club; it's a sanctuary.

"It's a really big part of some peoples' lives," Branum says as she shuffles cards. "It's our niche, I guess you could say."

Anthropology freshman Wyatt Lacy is thankful to be a part of The Gamers Society.

"I'm not scared anymore," he says. "Nobody's a real jerk. Everyone is very friendly, and the older people really influence the younger ones."

Wyatt joined the club after seeing them promoting at the mall. Already a role-playing enthusiast, he went to a meeting and saw what a great time everyone was having and decided to join. Since then, Branum has taken him under her wing,

"He's like my little brother," she says smiling.

The society does do other things besides games, though. They often end up spending Friday nights after the meetings together.

"We usually either go eat at IHOP or go watch a movie," Hartwig says.

The group also has attended the Renaissance Festival and has barbecues and picnics.

"It's all about social interaction," Hartwig says.

Reach the reporter at kristi.eaton@asu.edu.



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