Students in grades 7 to 12 can enjoy various games this weekend as part of a tabletop, board game and RPG convention that some of Moose Jaw’s educators are organizing.
The fourth annual LevelUp 2023 occurs on Saturday, Nov. 25, from noon to 9 p.m. at Riverview Collegiate at 650 Coteau Street West — and it’s free to attend. A concession will be available so youths can purchase reasonably priced snacks during their gaming adventures. They can also bring their own food, although peanuts are prohibited.
Teachers plan to fill the library with board games such as The Cypher System, card games like Magic: The Gathering, party games like Exploding Kittens, video games such as Super Smash Bro. and role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons (D&D).
There are also opportunities for youths to paint mini figurines and compete in a cosplay competition.
Students can play board games, video games and paint mini figurines from 12 to 9 p.m., while the Super Smash Bros. Tournament occurs from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.
There will be two sessions of The Cypher System and D&D Fifth Edition during the day, with the first from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. and the second from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
The first game is a more fluid activity with customizable characters and is a fun, player-driven system. James Mills will be the game master as he leads youths through an adventure in this fast-paced and exciting game.
The second game will see several dungeon masters (DMs), such as Berta Hebron, Barry Raymond, Mitch Robertson and Shay Willford, guide students through many exciting adventures.
The Moose Jaw Gamers Association has also supported LevelUp since its inception in 2019 and regularly sends members to volunteer.
Youths in grades 7 to 12 can register at bit.ly/levelupmj. They can also walk in without registering in advance. Anyone with questions can email Janice Lamb, an organizer and teacher at Riverview, at email@example.com.
“I’m just so excited (for this event). We have great DMs again this year. I’m just excited to welcome the kids back for another year of gaming,” Lamb said.
The Riverview teacher hopes to build on the success and enthusiasm of 2022’s gaming convention, which saw many more participants attend than expected. She thought that was great since she usually recruits more DMs than is needed.
This year, Lamb said she was looking forward to participating in the two D&D sessions since she enjoys that game; the school has had a D&D Club since 2017. She noted that this is a popular activity because it appeals to people’s sense of adventure and the ability to tell stories. It’s also more exciting and dynamic.
“It’s more fluid than a video game. You get to do more of whatever you want. And the consequences are a little more real, too,” she continued. “So that’s kind of fun. It amps up the risks, and the tension can feel so much greater.”
Lamb has found that youths who participate in board games and role-playing activities don’t usually join sports teams or other extracurricular events. So, LevelUp ties these students into a community where they can be “nerdy and feel like a family together.”
“We have so much fun while we play together and create these imagined worlds,” she added.
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