Step Up to the Table

A unique moment of starting school at King’s is the moment the overwhelmed FYPster realizes they can apply to create any society they please.
Prior to arriving at King’s, talk of niche and often obscure societies creeps its way into the talk of prospective students in high school — “Does your university have a communist knitting society? Oh, that’s too bad. Mine does.”

(Photo: Ashley Corbett/The Watch)
(Photo: Ashley Corbett/The Watch)

But where did all these societies go? I was excited to write about the niche culture of smaller King’s societies, contacting six in the process. I was frustrated when only one responded, letting me know that they’re still active and willing to speak. I received more than one email claiming that the previous leaders now have graduated and the society no longer exists. Are small societies at King’s somehow thriving without our knowledge? Are they so niche that an outsider can’t even contact them? Or, is the sad reality that they are slowly dwindling with their lack of recognition?
Jack Mol, a third-year student at King’s, decided to take matters into his own hands when he and a few friends realized there was no society that appealed to his love for board games. So he ratified a society — as easy, and special, as that.
The King’s Tabletop Gaming Society is still alive and kicking today — although often in shallow water.
“Usually it’s just me and my friends playing board games. There used to be only three to four people last semester, but we have at least 10 people now. Which is a huge jump,” says Mol.
It’s as if we as a community feel that there is magic herd of people that attend these small meetings, that keep the niche culture of King’s alive, yet are unheard of otherwise. It’s easy to forget that the average King’s student is needed to keep the wonderful eccentricities of King’s alive and well.
“What’s most exciting is when people come out. It sucks when it’s just you standing there with a bunch of board games. It’s happened,” says Mol.
Maybe tabletop gaming isn’t your idea of a good time. Even so, it’s important to remember that, while engaging with the topic at hand, the socializing involved in the process may be just as memorable.
“If people are stressed they can come and de-stress. It’s relaxing, you don’t need to go to a party to have a fun way to hang,” says Mol.
“Even if you don’t know how to play boardgames, we will teach you. It’s completely free. And usually there are snacks.”
Mol’s enterprising nature proves he is a firm believer in the fact that some of university’s most memorable moments can come from the extracurriculars we engage in.
“In first year, we were playing the ‘Game of Thrones’ board game, which is super backstabby. I backstabbed one player, who was the owner of the game. He literally walked out, and he never came to play the game again. He stormed out. So now I have his copy of the board game. It was super awkward. I betrayed him, and he couldn’t deal with it.”
So, while you’re in the hustle and bustle of your active life at King’s, the casual drop-in to one of the smaller societies can be a reminder of the close-knit life many of us came here for. The ability for every student to officially partake in activities in community that we probably wouldn’t do otherwise is a large part of what makes us special. And, like many things, it would be wrong to take that for granted.
Think back to your excitement of coming to King’s. What were you excited for? Now, go and try to ratify that. Having a large group of people in close proximity who enjoy the same obscure thing that you do won’t last forever. Think big picture.
(If it just so happens that your excitement truly lies with the King’s Tabletop Gaming Society, they meet every Thursday at 5:30). 

By David J. Shuman

David is the current editor-in-chief of The Watch and writes on student issues and events. Find him on Twitter: @DavidJShuman

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