Gamers unite for weekend fun
By RANDY GONZALES
It was a magical night Friday at The Gamers Guild.
As is most every other Friday night.
Unite Game Night is every Friday at The Gamers Guild, located in the Hadley Center, 200 E. Eighth. It's hosted by Unite ministry leader Brandon Nimz, who wanted the option of an activity for young people other than drinking alcohol.
"Personally, I'm not against drinking at all," Nimz said. "I, myself, drink occasionally."
However, Nimz has seen firsthand through his work problems associated with alcohol.
"A lot of people told me there are not very many alternatives, other things to do on Friday nights," Nimz said. "I decided it would be a good alternative activity, something else that's fun to do in Hays that a lot of people could do."
Before moving to its current location, Nimz's Unite ministry already was working with several local churches, and Unite Game Night was having to move around to different churches.
Nimz wanted just one location, so when he was able to rent space next to his Aikido martial arts business in the Hadley Center, he jumped at the chance.
Nimz's ministry through gaming mostly had attracted college and international students, but since finding a permanent location four months ago, he opened The Gamers Guild, and younger gamers have started showing up.
"At first, it was geared towards college students," Nimz said. "But now we have a lot of high school and junior high come in, since we have a business location, good lighting, secure."
The Gamers Guild, a board and card game store which also is a place to hang out and play games, is open in the evenings Mondays and Tuesdays and has an after-school program Wednesdays.
Friday nights, the gamers are at it until the wee hours of the morning. Nimz said 2 a.m. is supposed to be closing time, but there are times when they play until 5 a.m.
The game of choice for many is Magic: The Gathering. There was a free Magic: The Gathering tournament Friday.
Gamers of all ages were battling it out in the trading card game, which first was introduced in 1993. But other games were being played Friday, too. There was a group playing Monopoly, and before the tournament, a pair of gamers were playing Go, a board game which originated in China more than 2,500 years ago.
"There's only a few more rules than checkers," said Blake Michaud, who was playing the game for the third time.
"It's a very, very simple concept," said Michaud's opponent, Steven Cornwell.
Tim Northrup, a graduate student at Fort Hays State University, spends time at The Gamers Guild just to unwind.
"Between work and school, I just run, run, run," he said. "This is like decompressing."
Nathan Young, an assistant manager at Casey's General Store, 1600 E. 27th, enjoys the Friday night fun.
"It's a good atmosphere, lot of friendly people," he said. "Good games, good times, enough soda you can drink."