While Korea is known for its computer game playing addicts of the P.C. room, the Genius Board Game Club (a tabletop board game society), serves a greater purpose which is simply this: an ingenious way to get people to play together in real time. Away from the glare of the computer screens, this dedicated group of board game loving enthusiasts commits itself to meeting once or twice a week for a highly entertaining evening.
Tabletop games have been around for ages, functioning as a social arena where a community can be built. So it is a no brainer that the members of this board game society benefit from an improved quality of life through the human interactions shared between members. The interactions from this society have helped many members to step out of their comfort zones and to interact with people away from the computer screen. Some members initially joined through a general curiosity to learn more about board games, but ended up staying because of the social interactions with the other members. “I really wanted to get information for when I buy board games. But after joining this club, I am often with people now, so that is a good thing,” said Lee Cheol.
These games offer members a way to relax and interact with people outside of their working environments. “After joining this club, I can play board games whenever I want to, and I can meet many people whenever I want to” says Noh Jun Hee. She adds jokingly that the only downside to this club is when she comes home late at night and gets scolded by her mom.
Lee Hyun Ho, a relatively new member who joined two weeks ago, says that by joining this club, he feels that every day is new and exciting to him, and he hopes to build friendships with the other members.
Other members have benefited from the companionship that board games create. Lee Se Hyeon feels that this has helped his life a lot. “This board game club not only plays board games, but has other socializing activities too, such as going on trips and much more. I enjoy my time with this club.” The society even puts on the occasional field trip to places like Gurye, Sansuyu, Suncheon Bay Garden or local trips to the Songsan Recreation Area. Park Eon Jong said, “since board games cannot be played alone, I have to come here and there are many people who can share my hobby, so it is good for me”, a feeling other members agree with.
At your average meeting you can expect around 10 to 25 members who are actively involved, but there are around 74 members in the club who have participated in the society since it was created by Ki Su Yeon over a year and a half ago. The ages of the members range from people just out of college, to working adults in their thirties. The members are all Korean because of the language barrier, but they welcome anyone who wants to participate in the games.
What came as the biggest surprise for club organizers Ki Su Yeon and Chae Su Hun was the growth rate of the club. The club started out with around nine to10 members, but has since grown to 74 members. The club has a webpage where members can interact with each other by posting reviews of the different games. The club meets twice a week and the schedule can be checked through their website at http://cafe.naver.com/gjboardgame.