Jake Arnoldt wouldn’t be considered a gamer in the current sense of the word.
However, he is an aficionado of old-school games.
The 25-year-old Flatwoods resident is looking to combine that interest with making new friends by helping The Lamp Post Café start Board Game Night.
Arnoldt said for about three weeks, he and three or four others have been showing up at the restaurant with games in hand and playing a variety of well-known and lesser-known games. Now, they want to let others know they’re welcome to join their games or bring their own.
“I just recently moved to the area and I don’t know many people,” he said. “People like board games and I thought it would be a good way to meet new people.”
The recent Marshall University graduate said he grew up in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., where he was on the chess team at his high school. The team won the state championship and he became a pretty good chess player.
“It became hard to find people to play chess with. … it’s hard to find someone that’s challenging,” he said.
He said he began playing other board games in lieu of collectible card games, such as Magic.
“Collectible card games get to be expensive because you have to keep buying them so we started buying board games because once you buy it, you’ve got it and you don’t have to keep spending money,” he said.
Scrabble is among the games available to play at game night, but Arnoldt said his favorite game is called Settlers of Catan, which is a German game popular all over the world but not well known in the United States.
“The German games are a little more complicated,” Arnoldt said. “They take it to the next level.”
Settlers of Catan focuses on resource development of a new land. Although more complicated, Arnoldt said the rules are very simple but each game is different, as the board has changes that make it more flexible. He said he also likes the game called Ticket to Ride, another German game that centers on train travel, as well as backgammon and Go!, which is a Chinese game.
“I love all the classics. They’re my favorites,” he said.
It might be surprising that there is an interest in board games in light of all the online games available, but Arnoldt said he believes the love of board games has never waned.
“I think (board games) have always been popular. If you ask around, just about everyone’s played Monopoly,” he said. “Maybe there’s been a decline since the development of video games and people preferring playing online, but I think the feeling you get from playing board games with a group of people at the table, it’s hard to replace. It’s an experience of its own that can’t be replicated.”
Arnoldt said he hopes Board Game Night will become a regular event at the restaurant and attract a larger crowd.
“I’ll be there every week,” he said. “I’ll bring some games and there will always be a spot open.”
Board Game Night will be at 7 p.m. Saturday at The Lamp Post Café in Ashland. Those who bring a board game will receive 10 percent off their food order.
LEE WARD can be reached at email@example.com or (606) 326-2661.