Boards, Buttons and Buffalo Chicken Pizza: A Night With the Midcoast Gaming Club

By Dan Elliott

What’s the best way to spend a gloomy, dreary night inside? With games, of course!

Students of the Brunswick campus gathered together last Thursday to do just that, as the Midcoast Gaming Club held its weekly meeting. With the sun setting and the weather turning wet and drizzly, students enjoyed lively rounds of board and video games in Orion Hall’s multipurpose room. This blend of mediums is just the sort of thing that gives the club its signature flair, and poses such allure to students looking for a platform to unwind from a week of classes. “Any and all games are welcome during the meetup” says John Penney, club president and fellow gaming enthusiast. Throughout the meetup, it was not uncommon to see groups of students breakup and reform around many different activities—club members were not opposed to going solo in their time during the meeting, producing such consoles as the Nintendo Switch, DS, and even doing a little gaming on smartphones.

First up for the Gaming Club was a round of Cards Against Humanity, a party game in which each player tries to out-do the others in being the most offensive and politically incorrect. Students did their best to fill in such zany blanks as “Today on Maury: Help! My son is ___”, “Hey Guys, I know this was my idea, but I’m having serious doubts about ___” and the always oh-so exploitable “What’s that sound?”. Many laughs were had as players sneaked showings of possible cards to one another, and the sounds of music intermixed in the background. While the game unfolded, another member began a new game in Spyro Reignited Trilogy from a television borrowed from the Captain’s Closet.

As members settled in for a round of Trouble, a phone order for pizza was placed by Mark LaBranche. LaBranche was elected by members of the club as the new Vice President that very night, and made the prudent decision to make sure his fellow gamers were properly nourished as alliances were formed and shattered over the course of successive dice rolls. After failing to resolve an issue arising from creating a Borderlands 3 cooperative playthrough (all three players were in control of a single playable character), the club chose to take a break from gaming to watch an episode of Futurama while enjoying the recently-acquired pie. The episode, of course, was centered around video games.

Overshadowing the fine cuisine and humor was a sense of inclusion often not seen in typical online gaming communities. If a student didn’t know the rules to a certain game, they were encouraged to jump in anyways, and other students were happy to help catch them up. “JUST ROAST ‘EM” called a Trouble player to the student currently engaged in Spyro, as another student began a round in Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 on a recently-procured second television. Despite a variety of activities occurring all simultaneously, a collective feeling of belonging emitted from the group.

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The Gaming Club hopes to hold a few events in the coming future, informs Penney. Of the possible ideas being considered for the upcoming holiday are a Halloween-themed Escape Room activity and perhaps even a haunted hayride. The group plans to migrate to the Academic Building’s auditorium for a Mortal Kombat tournament scheduled soon which, given the venue, will be sure to offer students a unique gaming experience. Because the Club’s activities are so engaging, and perhaps because the members genuinely enjoy being together, the departure time is a little relaxed, with students hanging out until as late as eleven at night. It is not uncommon to see students coming in for a few games and depart, giving the club a more casual and fluid atmosphere. Students are encouraged to bring in any game—boards, dice, controllers, etc. to share with the group. Because really; games are the best when they bring us together, aren’t they?

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