Turning the tables: How one NHS club is redefining gaming

Landon Durm and Aubrey Paul

The idea of gaming conjures up images of handheld controllers, electronic screens emitting light in a dimly lit room, and the sounds of buttons clicking. However, for members of NHS’s new Tabletop Gaming Club, their version of the activity looks quite different. Their meetings consist of storylines, adventures, and evolving characters that turn into long nights and lifelong friendships. The club is working hard to create a new vision of gaming for the future. 

English teacher Samantha Wood sponsors the Tabletop Gaming Club and enjoys playing board games herself—a hobby that has made it easy for her to connect with club members and provides her with loads of experience when it comes to the realm of tabletop. 

“Tabletop games can really include any type of game played upon a tabletop, including board games, card or dice games, and strategy games,” Wood said.

The Tabletop Gaming Club was originally called the Dungeons and Dragons Club. However, the group was essentially disbanded when COVID-19 struck. 

“In-person play is usually preferred over voice or video chat,” Wood said. “Most tabletop games require physical pieces, including figures that represent characters, cards, or game pieces that add to the gameplay element.” 

Wood says that despite the strain put on the club by the pandemic, a small yet passionate group of students worked to rebuild it. From the ashes of the Dungeons and Dragons Club, the Tabletop Gaming Club emerged. 

“The club changed its name…to include a wider variety of games and to build the community into a place that is both welcoming and fun,” Wood said. 

Although the daunting task of revamping the club came with its challenges, the leaders of the Tabletop Gaming Club have found success in their efforts. 

“These student leaders had no guidance, almost no materials, and no experience leading these games, and yet they did it,” Wood said. “They created their own set of guidelines for game and club conduct, which were based on including everyone they could in a way that encouraged others to be themselves.”

As the club moves forward, members have a variety of goals in mind for the future. Club member Brendan Metz hopes the club will grow and continue to be a place for non-traditional gamers to connect. 

“The club is a safe space for all people from all kinds of backgrounds, and allows for imagination to flourish,” Metz said. 

Club leader Coleman Kratz agrees, envisioning the club as a place for students to learn, grow, and discover new interests. 

“We are looking to add different games to our arsenal,” Kratz said. “People wanting to play should join the club, but the great thing is that you don’t need any experience. We all love teaching new people Dungeons and Dragons or other TTRPGs (Tabletop Roleplaying Games), and encourage everyone to try it if it sounds interesting.”