Church-plant to host festival of board and card games to counter computer-gaming addiction

06 July 2018

DOM CLARKE

The Vicar of Blackmoor and Whitehill, the Revd Dom Clarke, who has set up a gaming festival

The Vicar of Blackmoor and Whitehill, the Revd Dom Clarke, who has set up a gaming festival

A GAMING festival that focuses on board and card games has been set up by a church-plant as an antidote to computer games.

“Gamesfest 2018” was the idea of the Vicar of Blackmoor and Whitehill, the Revd Dom Clarke, who is leading a new ecumenical missional community, Beacon, in Bordon, Hampshire.

Professional advisers and demonstrators from board-game companies will attend the festival to help people try out new games.

Mr Clarke said: “I am a lifelong gamer, from Dungeons and Dragons all the way through to some of the top board games of today like Pandemic and Carcassonne. When I discovered that two of the biggest companies in the UK gaming world were located in Bordon I just knew that I had to put on a big event to bring this amazing hobby to this town which I love.”

He said that the festival was a “counterpoint” to current issues and headlines about computer gaming addiction.

“We are focusing on board games and card games, like Pokémon, Magic, and Exploding Kittens. Part of our objective as a missional community is to open up the idea of gaming without a phone, PC, or console. These types of games — Codenames is a great example — help players to exercise real social and communication skills. You actually have to sit in a room with people and get to know them. Other games like Pandemic are what are called ‘co-operative games’ meaning that the players are not competing against each other but have to work together to beat the game.

“I think it makes a great counterpoint to recent stories about gaming addiction.”

The ex-army town of Whitehill and Bordon in Hampshire is undergoing a regeneration and development scheme that includes thousands of new houses, a shopping centre, and leisure facilities to be built over the next few years. It is hoped that there will be a church building to house a community café, youth club, and community garden.

Gamesfest will be held on Sunday, 23 September.

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