It’s quite likely you grew up knowing how to play Uno, Scrabble and obviously the game that has divided households form decades, Monopoly. But did you know there’s a whole world of board games out there? Name a subject, profession or hobby and you’re likely to find a game that is themed by it these days.

Did you also know that there’s a gaming night right here in Beeston? Every Thursday evening, from 7pm at Yellow Wood Cafe, you can turn up and meet some lovely people who you can spend a few hours playing a game with.

“Board games have been around for thousands of years and there’s a reason for that!” – Kevin

Kevin and Elly co-run the group with Iain (who owns Yellow Wood). Together they offer three floors where people can meet up and pick board games – you’re also welcome to bring your own along too. Plus many people (including Kevin) say it’s the best place to get a coffee in Beeston and with your £6 entry, you also get a drink – I’d recommend the white hot chocolate.

I visited last month with my partner and I was pretty excited by the assignment, as we are massive board gaming nerds. Honestly, I felt a little nervous walking into a group of strangers, but need not have been, the atmosphere was instantly welcoming. Walking through the door, first you notice it’s bustling and, second that here was a very young baby and even a dog. The environment that Kevin, Elly and Iain have created is very accessible, inclusive and inviting to all.

Kevin is a statistics lecturer at University of Nottingham and is no stranger to running a community of gamers. He’s run groups in the USA, a massive one in Cardiff and now he’s brought his gaming passion to Beeston. His family lives over 6000 miles away in the US and now he calls this group his second family.

Elly was the first person through the door on the opening night for the night and in Kevin’s words she’s now ‘entrenched’. She’s responsible for the WhatsApp group that attendees are invited to join, where they can discuss games and plan what games they might like to try in a future session. It’s effectively an extension of the community from Thursday nights.

Iain, the owner of Yellow Wood has wonderful tasty treats on offer with a section of hot and cold drinks too. You pay £6 to attend, effectively rent games for the evening (a drink of your choice is included in the admission cost), plus (if needed/wanted) support to learn rules and tips and tricks on gameplay too.

Going forward, Iain told us that he’s looking at offering some light snacks to be available too. He’s also looking at hosting a second board gaming night, on another night of the week, where the games available will be more traditional, like chess, drafts and backgammon.

There’s a really wide age range that turns up, we’re told that the youngest was a 14 year old boy who brought his sister along and the eldest was a group of ladies in their 60s/70s.

Iain shared, “It’s providing a really nice opportunity where an older and younger person, who don’t know each other and ordinarily wouldn’t have met, play a game together”.

Top 3 reasons to visit the games night from Kevin, Elly and Iain:

1.Community 

“Being around a table with other people, you cannot replace in-person bonds and people meeting together, spending time together playing a game.

If you struggle socially, or find it hard to make friends then gaming is a social gateway.” – Iain

2. Benefits for the brain

“There are lots of reasons why board games activate your brain and make it more active.It‘s similar to why older people are advised to do crosswords or sudoku and board games have really experienced a renaissance in the last 20-30 years.

There’s truly something for everyone to have fun thinking with their brains. I come here to engage my brain in a fun way.” – Kevin

3. Fun – instant fun!

“Games provide instant fun and there’s often an achievement factor with gaming too, specifically with co-operative gaming.” -Kevin

“Entering Yellow Wood on gaming night is like entering a different world. Whatever you may be stressed about outside, it leaves you for a few hours as you engage in the fun.” – Kevin and Elly

What the participants say!

“I’m bad at games but I still come every week.”

“I love that it’s not too competitive!”

“I live in Chilwell, so it’s great that I don’t have to go into Nottingham city centre to take part in a games event.”

“Kevin & Elly are so supportive and welcoming – always ready to teach new rules.”

So next time you’ve a Thursday evening free, pop along to Yellow Wood for an entertaining and different evening where you might make new friends, find a favourite new hobby or just switch off the outer world for a few hours.

For all the info: www.yellowwoodcafe.co.uk.
Thursday evenings – 7pm – 10pm.

AVG