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Speed gaming at the Meeples Republic: Take the long march to new friends

By Katie Marsh on February 10, 2013

Photo courtesy of Randy Son Of Robert on Flickr.

It’s one of the most common questions we get asked at the blog: how do I meet new people in this city? Cruising the bars solo is a crap shoot, and not everyone is inclined to sign up for Dodgeball at OSSC (I, for one, cannot even look at a dodgeball due to long-standing elementary school trama). Enter The Meeples Republic: a new service that hopes to put the social into social gaming.

TMR founders Ashley and Ka (full disclosure: Ashley is a longstanding Apt613 contributor) wanted to combine their love of board games, food and local beer into a new type of event for Ottawa. The Meeples Republic is joining a growing list of Ottawa board games night, but according to Ashley it focuses more on meeting new people rather than destroying their plastic armies.

“As we started getting more interested in board games we noticed all the board gaming nights in town. They’re fun, but it’s tough if you don’t know anyone, if you’re shy, and you aren’t familiar with the games. The people are generally friendly, but they often end up a little clique-y. We’re both transplants to Ottawa and were lucky enough to find each other, but what if there’s no Ka to your Ashley? So we really wanted to give people interested in board games a friendly, non-gamer way to get in, while giving people who want to expand their social circles a chance to just meet people.”

The Republic’s first event, a ‘speed gaming‘ session, is taking place this Wednesday, February 14 at Hub Ottawa (71 Bank Street, 6th floor). The concept is simple: there will be around 50 attendees split between 11 games. Guests will be randomly placed at a table with 3-5 other people, where a “Game Genie” will teach them a short social game. After about 30 minutes of play there will be a break to grab food and drinks, followed by a second round of gaming with completely different people.

The food at the event is not an afterthough; Ashley and Ka wanted to make it part of the appeal of the event. The price of admission includes some of the tastiest treats from around town: Jamaican patties from The Piggy Market, macarons from Macarons et Madeleines, and some of their own goodies. One free drink is also included, and the cash bar will have Beyond The Pale beer as well as wine. Rounding off the night is music spun by Rob Reid of World Famous Music as well as prizes from Comic Book Shoppe and GamesForAll.ca

The Republic is planning events in the future that will focus on different communities (singles, different age brackets, queer, steampunk, ladies only, students) and will be changing up the style of games (longer games, word-themed games, trading games). Each event will be pretty different from the last, and tailored to the space TMR decides to use. They are also planning to make sure their event are really accessible, so while some might be on the more expensive side, others will be free of charge.

Whatever the format, the goal is the help people connect through games, a perfect medium to encourage socializing with strangers. “If you’re playing a board game with other people, you’re forced to interact with them, even if it’s only through cards. Every move you make has an impact on them, and vice-versa. In addition to forcing face-to-face contact between humans, board games are fun! It’s easy to connect with someone if you’re laughing.”

The Meeples Republic Speed Gaming Event is Taking place this Wednesday, February 13 at Hub Ottawa (71 Bank Street, 6th floor). Tickets are $30 and include a free drink and snacks.