Over 200 people attended Bordon’s first ever Gamesfest on Sunday 23 September - an all-age and family friendly table top gaming festival.
The event saw Phoenix Theatre and Arts Centre filled with a range of board and card games large and small with professional demonstrators and advisors from local gaming companies Asmodee and Games Quest on hand to help visitors find a game to play, show them how to play it and ensure everyone has loads of fun.
The festival was the idea of the Rev’d Dom Clarke, leader of a brand new joint Methodist, URC and Anglican Missional Community in the town. The free event was put together by the pioneering group who are also planning a formal church plant, called Beacon in 2019.
The Revd Dom, who is also the vicar of nearby St Matthew’s Church, Blackmoor and Whitehill in the Diocese of Portsmouth, said:
“I think we did loads to promote gaming as a healthy (non-screen-time) leisure activity for all ages as well as promoting the Phoenix Theatre, the town of Bordon and its current regeneration plans, local businesses (including two big games companies based in Bordon Asmodee and Gamesquest) and even our humble little church: Beacon. For Beacon this was all about relationship building, developing fun and free activities that bless the community and making new and existing residents feel welcome and proud of their town – all Kingdom work, I believe.”
The ex-army town of Whitehill & Bordon in Hampshire is currently undergoing a major regeneration and development scheme with thousands of new houses, a shopping centre and leisure facilities being built over the next few years. Beacon is currently negotiating with the developers for them to provide a brand new state of the art community church building which will also function as a community café, youth club, community garden and also provide space for a range of activities to benefit the town.
"What I love about board games”, said Dom, “is that they are interactive, social, conversational, and a great way to make friends and, most importantly, have a real laugh. I believe this type of gaming is incredibly important in developing imaginations, communication skills, confidence and ability to solve problems.
“Everyone who came seemed to love it: we had seasoned gamers, newbies and everything in between. It was appealing cross-generationally, everyone left happy.”
Following the success of the event, where money was raised for ‘Challengers’ and also the Pheonix Theatre’s charity, the Revd Dom and his team are already thinking about making the festival a twice yearly event. Watch this space for next year’s dates.