This fall, a survey by the Strata Education Network found that 44% of college students cited stress, anxiety, and loneliness as their biggest challenge of the semester. Stress can turn into chronic stress very easily, creating problems with psychological health, weight gain, sleep, academic performance, body functions such as weakening the immune system and so much more. Human health is vitally important, and sometimes easing that anxiety and loneliness by creating time for yourself to loosen up can make a huge difference.
The Tabletop Gaming Club (TGC) at Grand Valley State University serves to do just that, creating a fun atmosphere where students can come and play a wide range of games, relax with friends and take a breather to ease their stress.
“I joined because I was really into board games in high school,” Emily Booms, President of TGC, said. “I love how unique and crazy they can be. I come from a small high school and no one I knew went to Grand Valley, so I was also looking to make friends.”
TGC is a space for students to meet and play board, card or dice games. TGC also has RPG players and some new online games for people to join in on as well. meets in-person in the Kirkhof Center room 1142 from 7-10 p.m. every Wednesday. They also have online meetings at the same time on their Discord.
“What’s nice is that we don’t require that a person stays the entire time,” said Booms. “They can come and go as they please.”
Faculty advisor, Craig Hulst, says that TGC is one of the oldest clubs on campus. It started as a club exclusively for role-playing games and used to be called Alternative Realities Gaming Club. Since then it has grown and evolved over the years with many students eager to join in on the fun.
Some of the adventurous games students can enjoy are tabletop role-playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons and Pathfinder. For collectible card games, there is Magic: The Gathering, among others. To top things off, TGC also has an ever-growing board game collection. Even if you aren’t a board game person, there are several other options such as online gaming or even traditional card games. TGC caters to your gaming interests and checks off fan favorites that just about everyone loves.
“We have all kinds of games and we are always open to more,” Booms said. “We have about 100 board games in our library and we try to get more every year.”
Members of TGC can also bring in their own personal games. These games can be of any length, any genre, and for any skill level. The point is casual fun, so there’s no pressure to be a master when you drop by to play. To improve their skill level, individual members practice their own creative strategies against other members. If members want a challenge, or to compete more, they can play tournaments against each other.
“We do not as a club discuss strategies for different games, but we encourage conversations between players,” Booms said. “We also don’t hold tournaments against other schools, but we would not shy away from a tournament if offered to us though.”
The club is free and anyone is able to join in. Currently, there are about 15 active members. TGC is welcoming everyone to come out and create exciting memories while getting their game on.
“We all know that college is super stressful, so this club aims to help students unwind,” Booms said. “We make a difference by letting students play a game with others and laugh, whether it’s new to them or an old favorite. Our sole goal is to provide students with a break from the stress of college.”
Meeting times, small role-playing groups and special events are all posted on their Facebook page: GVSU Tabletop Gaming Club. They also have a Discord server, for those who’d like to meet digitally or simply chat about their favorite games.