By Ethan Lauren
The Tabletop Gaming Club on campus is a place to unwind and to make friends. Welcome to anybody, chances are there is somebody to play a game with you, no matter how esoteric or convoluted your favorite one is. A regular night is filled with the sounds of dice clattering, cheering over victories, and tears from losses—perhaps not so often the last example. Club president Craig Malech, a mechanical engineering major, founded the club, which originally focused on the development of tabletop games. As the club grew, their focus also grew to encompass the wants of people looking to play games.
“We do everything we can to make this happy, that's our priority. You won't be judged for what kind of game you want to play, even if you want to play Candyland.”
There are no fees, no expectations, everything the club does is to give students a place to destress. Founded over two years ago, the club managed to find ways to connect players when classes were solely online through Discord, with over 400 members. Many have used it to chat outside of general meetings, or to play video games together. With the growth of the club over the semesters, Malech has found it humbling to see the club transform from its origin.
Andrew Moreno, a transfer student majoring in Japanese, has made friends through the club during his first semester on campus. He’s found that occasionally new environments can be hard to fit into, especially for introverted types. At the Tabletop Gaming Club, he found a place where it feels natural to skip all the small talk by having fun with games like Kittens, Bang!, or Werewolves.
“I like that we just got to get to know each other by playing.”
One of the club’s biggest draws is getting together for Dungeons and Dragons. With multiple campaigns organized, the popularity has boomed. Sign-ups are handled through Discord for those looking for more information. Zoe Young, a creative writing major, originally joined for D&D, but has also been making friends by playing board games. She says to give the club a chance because it has really made an impact for her.
“It's been a lot of fun. They've really been accepting of me, even though I'm brand new.”
Kyra Dejesa, a marketing major, is one of the board’s founding members and the current communications manager. Feeling welcomed is important for the club’s board, prioritizing a space where everybody belongs.
“We want it to be like a safe and fun place where everyone can talk and hang out,” Dejesa says. “[The members] are very kind and they'll explain the rules and help each other out.”
With the semester coming to an end, the Tabletop Gaming Club will be continuing onward in the spring with more game nights, workshops, and anything else to bring students together. The club currently meets on Thursdays at 7 p.m., in USU 205. To stay updated on the club, in case of changes, follow them on Instagram at @tgc.csulb or join their Discord with the link on their profile.