Board games bring people of the Shoreline community together

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Text and photos by Claire Albright

There’s no need to be bored with board games at home. It’s time to explore the many game-playing opportunities out in the Shoreline community.

From casual days out with family to nights out with friends, or weekly clubs to meet other members of the community, there are lots of places to find board games in Shoreline.

One option is the Ridgecrest Pub at 520 NE 165th St, 98155 in the Ridgecrest business district.

This over-21 establishment has a bookcase filled with all types of games that are constantly accessible to customers. Anyone is welcome to participate, but typically it is a younger crowd.

“The general age group is a younger group between the ages of 20 and 30. Although, when older groups do come in, they typically play cribbage,” said Robyn Salera, an employee at Ridgecrest Pub.

For those who want to eat and play, Ridgecrest Pub has a tradition of hosting food trucks every night from 5-9pm. They also feature visual artists and have their work displayed throughout the building.

Ridgecrest Public House
These games are always available to play during the open hours of Ridgecrest Pub. Some of these games include, but are definitely not limited to: Catan, Blokus, Battleship, and Jenga.

When it comes to a more family-friendly environment to play games, the Shoreline Library (345 NE 175th St, 98155) and Monka Brewing (17211 15th Ave NE, 98155 in the North City Business District) are two top options for the community.

The Shoreline Library has a monthly game day -- with a break in the summer-- on Sundays from 12-3pm since last year. Board games are only available to play at the library during these game days, which makes it a special event, particularly for families with young kids, said Julia Gibson, Adult Services Librarian at the Shoreline Library.

“Young families come in for the game days, along with some couples in their 20s who play games like ‘Stratego.’ We want more adults to start coming in. Most of the people who come in with younger kids are interested in the quicker games and games that they already know how to play, such as Battleship, Candyland, Sorry, and Checkers,” said Gibson.

There are also opportunities for people to teach their own games that they created themselves. The library is also beginning to offer newer games, such as Harry Potter Trivial Pursuit, said Gibson.

Another option of a family-friendly board game place is the Monka Brewing Company. They have board games for all ages, in addition to foosball and dome hockey, according to Trez McBean, the full-time bartender of Monka Brewing. McBean is also the wife of Devin Walker, who is the brewer and has home-brewed beverages for 14 years.

“There are community-style long tables and a rotating tap with a nice variety of craft beer, along with cider options. Rotating local art is on display for purchase, as well,” said McBean.

Monka is kid-friendly, but not dog-friendly.

Monka Brewing Company is Shoreline’s first and only brew/pub. It is right next door to Ichi Bento and across the street from Safeway.

Shoreline also offers a unique place called Arcane Comics, (15202 Aurora Ave N, 98133 in Parkwood Plaza) where new games are greatly appreciated, along with ones that go beyond ordinary board games, according to Kenshi Toll, an employee at Arcane Comics. They have a twice-a-month game day, typically on the second and fourth Saturday of each month.

“Our game days lean towards board games, such as Settlers of Catan, Fantastic Factories, and Villainous. We also offer table-top and role-playing games, along with kickstarters and a demo game table. There is also drop-in gaming available for free use of 100-plus games in demo gaming,” said Toll.

The regulars are typically between the ages of 20 to 50, with some families bringing in kids who are around 6 or 7 years old, according to Toll.

“It is very family-friendly, with all skill levels welcome,” said Toll. “This is a great place to participate and try out new experiences, and is “a perfect way to introduce people to gaming.”

While the previous places are perfect opportunities to play, the Shoreline - Lake Forest Park Senior Center (18560 1st Ave NE #1, 98155) takes games a bit more seriously. They have official game clubs, such as a Scrabble Club, a Baduk Club, and a Hartu Club, all of which meet on Thursdays. They are there, of course, to play games, but just as importantly to spend time with other community members and have a good time with one another, according to Ken Marable, a member of the Shoreline community who created his own board game.

The Scrabble Club has been around for 25-plus years, so it is an ideal opportunity for those who want to integrate themselves into the community of game-players and are looking for something that is taken more seriously, according to Jane Jackson, the organizer of the club, as they “like to be competitive and keep going.”

The players here appreciate the game and time spent face-to-face with one another, forming strong friendships because of it, according to Uri Breda, a long-time member of the club.

“In live games, you cannot look words up in the dictionary. It is also more special because of the social interactions. We have all been to each other’s houses, eaten together, and all of this happened because of our interest in Scrabble,” said Breda.

Third Place Commons in Lake Forest Park Town Center at the intersection of Bothell and Ballinger Way is also a great option for other Scrabble-lovers, according to Breda. He typically goes on Sundays. Third Place Commons also hosts a game night every Wednesday from 5-9pm.

Robert Jackson, a facilitator of the Senior Center club, (left) and Uri Breda (right) are playing a game of Scrabble, following typical tournament rules. Jackson believes that the availability of online scrabble has taken away some people, but the current members of the club do not think that anything compares to face-to-face, live games.

Hartu is a game that was invented by Ken and Tina Marable, which they described as being like “90 percent checkers and 10 percent chess. It’s kind of like checkers, but with strategy.” This is also not the first time that a game has been created by a Shoreline resident.

“Hartu is a very light-hearted game. We have this club as a place where we can tease and joke with one another. We are here to spend time and enjoy being out,” said Marable about the club meetings at the senior center.

Dorothy and fellow community members are laughing and talking as they play a game of Hartu at the Senior Center. Dorothy is a 94-year-old regular who has consistently been a good player, winning half of the games that she plays.

These places all have one thing in common: Not only do they offer a location to play some games, but they offer an environment where you can interact with people you may have never met otherwise and become more acquainted with your community.

Even though online versions of games can be tempting, Jackson said there’s just something about gathering.

“Nothing can beat face-to-face and personal interactions,” Jackson said.


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