The Southern Board Game Festival is back for its second year and will have something for new and seasoned board game players.
The event, scheduled for Saturday at the UL Student Union, raises money for New Hope, which serves under-resourced children who live in Lafayette's Azalea Park neighborhood.
Updates to this year’s event will include a Gateway area for newbie board gamers, a Demo area where people can learn more complex games that have been recently published and a Geaux Pub area, which will feature several newly published games and prototypes that are in various stages of pre-publication.
There will also be a game library with more than 200 titles that people can check out during the all-day event.
“I Heart Board Games” from Baton Rouge will be interviewing game designers and livestreaming the event, and several board game aficionados will be in attendance, including Barry Rozas, creator of the Board Game Gumbo podcast, which he launched in 2017.
As a board game enthusiast, Rozas saw the need for an event of this caliber in the area.
“I'm lucky enough to be at the stage of my career where I can travel, so I can go to the big cons in Dallas, Florida and Indianapolis. But not everyone can go that far,” Rozas said. “There are no events of this size in between Houston and Birmingham, and yet there are hundreds and hundreds of gamers and people getting into the hobby.”
Folks who are not familiar with designer board games need not fear; instructors will be on hand in the Gateway area to teach the gateway games, which can be played in 15 to 30 minutes.
Board gamers who are already deep into the hobby can get an insider look at the games they know and love by playing them with their creators in the Geaux Pub area.
“Jason Dinger from Morgan City, La., will be demonstrating his recently published game, 'Captains of the Gulf,'" said John Newman, director of New Hope and co-organizer of the Southern Board Game Festival. “His game debuted this past November and has already sold out. Jason will also be demonstrating a prototype of a game that is already under contract and expected to be published in 2020.”
Other perks at the event include play-to-win raffles on select board games and photo opportunities with the 501st Legion Star Wars Troupe.
For Rozas the memories and connections he has made while playing board games are what kept him coming back to the hobby and what makes him eager to share it with others.
“Board games are all about fun memories of doing things together,” Rozas said. “Some of my earliest memories are learning Bataille from my grandmother, and my mom and dad teaching board and card games to my siblings and I on vacations. When I discovered hobby board games, it opened up a larger world of fellow gamers to me who enjoyed sharing that passion.”
All the net proceeds from ticket sales, corporate sponsorships and concessions will go to New Hope, a faith-based organization in Lafayette. New Hope provides after-school tutoring, a scouting program, and summer programming for children from kindergarten to eighth grade.
For more information or for a schedule of events, visit https://www.southerngamefest.com/.