This summer, a group of MCB community members gathered for a new BioLabs tradition–board game night! On Friday evenings, board game enthusiasts from around the department can be found in BioLabs 1058 trying their hands at both familiar and unfamiliar board games.
The meetups will continue into the fall semester with board game nights on every first and third Friday, starting at 5:30 PM just down the hall from TGIF. The next event will be tonight. Game nights are open to everyone in the Harvard community.
“Gaming has been a great way to meet new people and socialize within the department,” says Bellono Lab manager Brittany Walsh, who is one of the game night organizers. “I have enjoyed being a member of the gaming community for over a decade playing RPGs [role-playing games], strategy games, video games, etc. and I have always felt it to be a welcoming and kind space for all.”
The summer game nights have typically drawn between 10 to 12 attendees, and the game night organizers are hoping to recruit even more new gamers in the fall. Attendees don’t need any prior board games experience to join, and game night organizers explain the games as needed.
“It is not one of those hyper-specific or competitive groups, we all just want to play a few games and nerd out,” says MCO graduate student and game night organizer Adriana Aguilar-Maldonado of the Extavour Lab. “I’d also add that there are all skill levels and that everyone is chill and eager to teach you how to play a game!”
The games played at BioLabs game nights have ranged from straightforward party games and word-guessing games, like So Clover!, Werewords, and Just One, to more complex games, like Wingspan and The Quest for El Dorado. The BioLabs game night organizers bring games from their personal collections and are enthusiastic about introducing MCB community members to new genres of tabletop game, such as hidden role games, cooperative strategy games, and negotiation games.
“Tabletop gaming today is a fantastic hobby,” says staff scientist Tom Jones of the Eddy Lab. Jones is also one of the BioLabs game night organizers and a longtime tabletop game hobbyist with well over 1,000 games in his collection.
“Several decades ago in the US, you’d get the nerd-alert side-eye for playing board games or RPGs, unless you were a kid,” Jones says. “Games are different today, featuring a sort of game design hybrid vigor from the influences of various cultures, including those where ‘family games’ [like Scrabble and Clue] are part of the social fabric. There are games of all imaginable types, with different play times, player counts, level of complexity, competitive, cooperative, team-based. Really, the choices are overwhelming, and we are here to act as guides. Hopefully we can introduce new people to the hobby, and to help guide enthusiasts to find new games they might enjoy.”
Board Game Nights @BioLabs will continue to be held on first and third Fridays at 5:30 PM in Room 1058. Join us for games & camaraderie!