Greenbelt Plays Strategy Games
Every Tuesday, competitors, young and old, gather at the Greenbelt Youth Center to play strategy games amidst the hum of sporty banter.
Six worthy opponents faced off in the Greenbelt Youth Center on Tuesday night, serious about conquering train routes and building medieval landscapes.
"We're going to have a humongous city," said Karen Haseley, the Recreation Department's therapeutic recreation coordinator.
"Kingdom... Forget city," Amanda Porter fired, evoking memories of Star Wars' Yoda, and his unforgettable "Do, or do not. There is no try."
"You're going to do ugly things over there, Karen, I can feel it," Porter went on.
"Not necessarily," Haseley replied with equivocation, as she contemplated her next move in the European game, Carcassonne.
The banter appeared part of the fun for strategy games club. On the other side of the table, the games were different, the verbal sparring the same.
"That was way too close. You and I were fighting over Denver," Paul Sabol told Lisa Billingsley. Both needed the train route from Phoenix to Denver, but Sabol got there first, so Billingsley had to find another way—leaving Sabol the ultimate victor in Ticket to Ride.
Sabol didn't get much time to bask in glory, before the other contestants, including Billingsley, Rosalie Teutsch and Katie Wright, chimed in with ideas for their next adventure.
The games, the fun and the talk have been going on since around 2005, Haseley recalled. It all started because an Adelphi, MD couple created a game called Quinto.
John Goom, who Haseley said has inspired strategy games groups in Beltsville and Laurel, called her to inquire about starting one in Greenbelt. Once Haseley agreed, Goom arranged for Quinto's creators to visit Greenbelt and teach the fledgling strategists how to master their board game.
Now six boxes of games later, a regular group faces off on Tuesdays, from 7-9 p.m., fluctuating between two and 15 players, Haseley said.
They don't play the typical game fare but instead focus on European and German games, Haseley explained, saying they made you think and learn different ways of processing.
"It's the opportunity to compete, it's the opportunity to learn new games, it's very social," Haseley said.
Registration is open, everyone age 10 and up (or 10, accompanied by an adult) is invited. People can even register when they come to play, Haseley said.
It's the same bat time, same bat channel, every week, but the games can change.
After team Sabol, Teutsch, Billingsley and Wright finished conquering train routes, they grappled over what to take up next. The choices ricocheted between Bang, Pandemic and Vegas Showdown.
Vegas Showdown, according to Billingsley, is "a very strange game." Though the others may not be as unusual, none seemed common fare.