You’ll find SpaceLab tucked away amongst a group of quaint, small-town shops in Mokena. A co-working space for local freelancers and like-minded techies you’ll find shelves full of books on everything from SQL database design to home brewing. Every Thursday SpaceLab opens its doors to the public and hosts a board game night. Though this was my first time attending the event, I got the feeling that it attracted a crowd of regular attendees along with the occasional new face. Everyone was extremely welcoming, and I never felt out of place or awkward.
I’ll admit that I’m no board game connoisseur. I love a good game night as much as the next guy, but my experience is limited mostly to the party type games. “Cranium”, “Cards Against Humanity”; that’s more my style. So when one of my fellow gamers broke out a giant box with the word “Alhambra” scrawled on it, I was a bit scared. There were tiles and cards and dice and game pieces and little wooden bridges and I thought my head was going to explode. This was not the board gaming I was used to. But, if you read our blog regularly, you’ll know that I’ve been going through a bit of a gaming renaissance. So, I played “Alhambra”, with all of its crazy pieces and rules and I thoroughly enjoyed both the game and the company. It was a different experience than what I’m used to, but that turned out to be a good thing.
I was able to have a brief pre-game conversation with the organizer of the event, Jay Margalus. A man of many interests, Margalus splits his time between teaching at DePaul, working at Lunar Giant studios, and organizing community events. This was my first foray into the gaming scene here in Chicago and what I discovered almost immediately was that this community is even more tightly knit than I expected. It took less than five minutes for many of the Chicago indie developer names to get tossed around. Later this week we’ll have a full interview with Margalus, and delve deeper (yeah, that just happened) into what our city is up to. Suffice it to say, I’m excited.