Moose Meeples

When we lived in Colorado, I had a small group of friends with whom I played board games. We’d get together every few weeks on a Friday or Saturday night to eat Cheetos and M&M’s while talking smack over a handful of games. It was a blast, and I really enjoyed the opportunity not only to learn and get better at games, but just hang out with good friends.

When we moved to Montana, I immediately started looking for a similar outlet. Many big cities have game shops and even groups who meet regularly, but in rural Montana that’s not so much a thing. I managed to stumble across a store up in Kalispell (45 minutes north) that had sort-of-regular game nights. I joined them on many occasions, but honestly it was kind of a drag to drive an hour and a half to play games for maybe two hours at most.

Then the ‘rona hit, and everyone was suddenly having video chats. I called my Colorado friends, and we started having remote game nights. We’d have a video call going while we played our favorite games on various web sites. It was a ton of fun. I talked to the Magnificent Seven (my high-school friends) and we ended up doing the same thing. Suddenly I could play the board games I’d been missing, and talk to the people I’d also been missing!

Over the past year, I’ve met some other people in the area who enjoy games, and we get together now and then. A favorite haunt is Rosa’s Pizza, which is sort of central to all of us and has the added benefit of great pizza. The Mahjongg Gang does the same thing.

A few weeks ago I met another new friend, and he happens to like games even more than I do. Actually, a lot more than I do. He has hundreds of board games in his collection, and has a dedicated gaming room in his house. We started getting together for game nights, usually with a few others, and I was thrilled to expand my circle of (1) friends and (2) gamers. A few days ago, he asked if I’d be interested in co-founding a gaming club with him. We’d have regular game nights in town (at the church, actually, which we can use for free) and invite anyone in the area who wants to play. Sure, why not?

Of course the first order of business was coming up with a great name. He did some brainstorming, and then asked what I thought. I told him we shouldn’t use terms like “Flathead” or “Glacier” or even “Big Sky”… all of those are really overused by local businesses. They feel like “Mile High” or “Flatiron” or “Rocky Mountain” did back in Colorado. His face fell, and then he showed me his list. Most of the names he’d come up with had those forbidden terms. We laughed a bit, and then continued thinking of names. In the end, we decided on Moose Meeples. Original, catchy, easy to remember. I even sketched a little meeple to use on flyers.

Next week is our inaugural game night. I’m hopeful we’ll get a good crowd, and enough people will enjoy it that it becomes a stable weekly event. Coupled with the Colorado group, the Magnificent Seven, and a few other local friends, I think I’ll be set for board games for a while!