Local game stores Infinity Flux from Hixson and Game On near Tyner are encouraging everyone to go forth and conquer on April 29 for International Tabletop Day.
While it may not be a ubiquitous holiday, the game stores are teaming up to provide 12 hours of family-friendly gaming and fun at the downtown Ridgedale Masonic Lodge. Hundreds of board and card games will be available for anyone who pays the $5 entry fee to play, with numerous options for families and children. Infinity Flux employee Meagan Frey said they're planning for the event to be a celebration of all things board game related.
"There are a lot of festivals and conventions that take place in Chattanooga, but none are strictly about board gaming," she said. "We want to make something devoted to gathering with old and new friends and playing some games together."
For beginners, the event will feature a board game "concierge," to make suggestions based on peoples' interests and hobbies. The games come out of each store's personal collection of games they've collected over the years, featuring award winning titles like Ticket to Ride, Pandemic and Munchkin.
In addition, several national game companies have pitched in for door prizes and demos of new and upcoming games not yet released for guests to try out. Companies such as Slugfest Games and Grey Fox Games have donated to make the first Chattanooga Tabletop Game Fest a success.
Frey said the stores are hoping the events will show to people unfamiliar with the hobby aspect of board games why its grown so much in the past several years. According to The Guardian, game sales increased between 25 and 40 percent each year between 2010 and 2013.
"I think there's a misconception, since this might qualify as geek culture, that playing board games is an insular or isolated activity," said Frey. "We want to show people what a social hobby this is."
Frey said it's not common for people to come together and be able to lightly compete against one another for no stakes. The strategy and opportunity for competition is something that board games satisfy as well.
However, that's not to say every game at the festival will be strategy-based. Plenty of cooperative or party games will also be available for people just looking to relax, chat and have a good time.
"We've got games where there's not even a need to teach the rules up to something that ramps up to something with depth and complexity for people who really want to sink their teeth into strategy," said Frey.
Finally, the event will have a used board game silent auction, giving gamers with large collections a way to recoup some money off the games they don't play anymore while also enabling people new to the hobby a way to grow their collection.
For more information, visit tabletopday.com/listings/chatt-tabletop-game-fest/, or call Infinity Flux at 591-5689 or Game On at 602-5800.
This story was updated April 26 to correct the spelling of Meagan Frey's name. A previous version of the story spelled her first name Megan.