July 15, 2024

Gaming with friends

3 min read
Gaming with friends

Aug. 27—Tabletop games have been bringing family and friends together for decades and Athens newcomer and gaming enthusiast and collector Steven Bates has created a gaming group for those wanting to connect with others and have some fun. Athens’ Adventurers meet every other Saturday at the Athens-Limestone County Public Library and the public is welcome to join in on the fun.

Steven Bates, a disabled Air Force veteran, moved to the area in December of 2020 from Cheyenne, Wyoming after his wife’s job relocated her to Redstone Arsenal. The move came just a month after Bates had undergone total knee replacement surgery.

“We got here and started looking around trying to find a way to learn the people and the neighbors. I went to the local library because I had just come out with a new book,” Bates said.

Bates also runs a non-profit called Poems Speak that reaches out through poetry to those affected by PTSD, depression, and suicidal thoughts.

After meeting the library director Jennifer Baxter, Bates suggested creating the gaming group as a way for people to connect with others. She loved the idea and invited the group to use the Teen Room as a place to play.

“We have a great variety of games. Originally we were playing D&D as well as board games, card games, dominoes…just whatever anybody wants to play,” Bates said.

Bates brings as many games as he can fit into his car for each gaming Saturday as well as snacks and other refreshments for everyone to enjoy. “If people want to bring their own games, they can bring their own games. We just enjoy, Normally I bring snacks and its on me but if people want to bring their own refreshments, thats great too,” he said.

Bates has always enjoyed games of all kinds. “I began playing Dungeons & Dragons since 1979, when it first came out. I have been playing chess since I was knee-high to a grasshopper. I always played board games with the family. That was always the way for the family to get together and enjoy games like PayDay, Sorry and all those classic Milton Bradley games. That was a way for our family to spend time together and bond. So, playing games, for me, has always been a great bonding experience with people,” he said.

Bring new and old friends, regardless of age, together in Athens is something Bates hopes the gaming group can help others in achieving.

He said, “Our group right now has kids ranging from ten years old and younger to Mr. Paul Irons who is 86 and plays dominoes with us. This is a great way to bond. I think that it is a great opportunity to actually have some interpersonal communication that the devices of today’s society prevent. We have lost our communicative skills quite a bit because our faces are buried in monitors, telephones and devices. We’ve lost a lot of eye-to-eye and face-to-face communication skills.”

The group is also a great way to try out new games before purchasing it and discovering new games. “You can ask on our Facebook group, ‘Does anybody have this game and can we try it out?’ If we have it, we will bring it in,” Bates said. “We are getting a lot of exposure to games we have never played.”

Whether you like classics like Monopoly, newer games like Apples to Apples, strategy games such as Risk, cards, or RPG’s, there is a game for everyone to enjoy. “It’s all about mutual fun and that’s the most important thing- make it fun for everybody.” Bates said.

The Athens’ Adventurers will meet Saturday, September 3, from 9:45 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Teen Room at the Athens-Limestone County Public Library. There are no requirements to donate or bring anything. “The only requirement is to come, have fun, enjoy playing games, and meeting new people,” Bates said.

To keep up with announcements and events visit “Athens’ Adventurers!” on Facebook.

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