One form of entertainment that has seen a surge in popularity in the last decade has been board games. Locally, Meeples of Sequim is a group working to share the experience with the community.
A little more than two years ago, Travis Britten and Echo Cox were relative newcomers to Sequim when they decided to form Meeples. They’d run a similar group when they lived in Ellensburg and wanted to help build that same kind of community in their new home.
“Games like this are an important thing to us, but board games are also about the shared experience,” Britten said.
“We wanted to help create that experience where we could.”
Originally the group met at Gateway Games & Hobby on East Washington Street, but when the store closed a few months later the Meeples needed a new home.
“Chris (Franics, owner of Gateway) was so generous in opening his doors to us and supporting us,” Britten said, “but we were starting to look at outgrowing the space he had available for us and moving on anyways.”
The Sequim Library quickly presented itself as a good option.
“This meeting room is openly available most of the time,” Britten said, “and it’s a really good space for what we do.”
After talking to library representatives, the relationship between the library and Meeples quickly formed and blossomed.
“They like seeing this space used so positively, and we do what we can to tie into library events,” Britten said.
As an example, during the library’s world travel-themed summer reading program Britten and Cox recently spent time playing and teaching “Ticket To Ride,” a game about traveling around the country on railways inspired by the bet from “Around The World In Eighty Days.”
Cox estimated that Meeples draws about 19 people to the library for most of their Wednesday night gatherings, and occasionally gets into the low 20s.
Most of the games brought to Meeples gatherings every week come from Britten and Cox’s personal collection, which Britten said with a laugh that he lost count of the size of. Other members of the group bring in games to share periodically as well, with games across the entire spectrum of different styles and categories available in a given week.
For both Britten and Cox, their love of games lies largely in being able to teach more people how to play more games to better share the experience, and that passion makes sense given what they do away from the game table: Cox is a kindergarten teacher at Greywolf Elementary School, and Britten is a former paraeducator at the school.
That teacher’s mentality means that Meeples can support gamers of all experience levels.
“You really don’t have to know board games to come in,” Britten said. “As long as you’re interested and willing to learn, we’ll teach you whatever you want to know.
“This is all about the community, and we do whatever we can to help grow that community.”
Britten said he particularly enjoys is seeing that sense of community develop within Meeples.
“A lot of the people who have joined us over the last two years were like us, having moved here not long before joining,” he said. “We’ve even had a few people tell us that they had found our group (on Facebook) before ever moving to town.
“A lot of friends have been made here and we’ve helped bring together some really great people.”
Britten says that Meeples members range the full age spectrum, with a handful of students mixed in with adults and seniors. Many times a specific game will be brought in to teach in a given week, but other games are always available to play.
The group meets almost every Wednesday in the community meeting room in the Sequim Library, 630 N. Sequim Ave., with the exception of the second Wednesday of the month.