Boardgame geeks gather to raise money for diabetes May 26-27

Boardgame fundraiser
Game aficionados will gather May 26 and 27 at the Royal City Curling Club to raise money for diabetes research. Tickets are available at Boardgame Warriors – 708 Clarkson Street (604-540-6322). Costs are $20 for Saturday, $15 for Sunday, $30 for the whole weekend, or $50 for a weekend pass for a family or couple.

Boardgame geeks are a special group of people. They’re incredibly diverse but they all share a passion for sitting around a table and trying out the latest releases a group member has brought back from a gaming expo. Their love of a good mental challenge makes them disdain light, popular American games like Monopoly, but they’re endlessly patient with new players and kids.

And once a year they get together in New Westminster to game, socialize, and raise money for Team Diabetes members who are fundraising for either a full or half marathon. Michael Blais and his wife Waleah Cook started organizing Boardgaming for Diabetes in 2006. This year it’s the May 26-27 weekend at the Royal City Curling Club.

I’ve attended for the past two years and always had a great time. People bring their kids (12 and under are free) and the curling club bar upstairs is open. The more hard-core gamers often stay all weekend, but more casual gamers like me can choose to come for just a day. Part of what makes it great is that you’ll almost always be able to find a group who wants to try something you want to play. The games range from party games like Wits and Wagers and Telestrations to hours-long strategic war games.

Last year I got the chance to play Dungeon Lords, a really cute game where you play a dungeon master using your minions and recruiting monsters to fight the heroes who are trying to conquer you. I also got to try a shipping-themed game called Before the Wind, and an hilarious kids game called Loopin’ Louie, which involves hitting a lever to prevent a clumsy plane from accidentally knocking over your chickens (you kind of had to be there).

Sadly I’m away for a conference this year, but I really recommend other folks stop by for a game or two on the May 26-27 weekend. There’s really something for everyone and all the money raised goes to a great cause. There’s also a 50/50 draw, silent game auction, and great door prizes.

In New West, tickets are available at Boardgame Warriors – 708 Clarkson Street (604-540-6322). Costs are $20 for Saturday, $15 for Sunday, $30 for the whole weekend, or $50 for a weekend pass for a family or couple. There are other ticket locations around the Lower Mainland and you can get more information at

Olympic curler seeks sixth Westcoast Curling Classic title at Royal City Curling Club

Curler Kevin Martin and team at the Olympics. Photo courtesy
Curler Kevin Martin and team at the Olympics. Photo courtesy

This is a guest post by Jason Kurylo. While Jason currently lives in Burnaby (shhhhh!) his New Westminster roots run deep. Jason co-hosts a hockey podcast which you can find on his website Pucked In The Head.

Don’t be surprised if you catch yourself saying “Hey, wasn’t that… you know, that guy?” over the next few days. You probably have seen that guy on TV, even if you’ve just grazed past TSN on a Sunday afternoon. That guy, in fact, just might have Olympic gold in his back pocket.

Kevin Martin and his foursome are no stranger to the Royal City – they’ll be in town for Thanksgiving to take part in the 12th annual Westcoast Curling Classic to be held at the Royal City Curling Club from October 6 – 10.

Martin is one of the world’s most recognizable faces of men’s curling. Since winning back-to-back World Junior Curling Championships in 1998 and 1999, the Edmonton product has been a fixture on the Canadian and international curling circuits. His teams have represented Canada at two Olympic games, first taking silver in Salt Lake City in 2002 and then gold at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. Martin has also been a part of 14 Grand Slam titles on the World Curling Tour – in fact, he was the first skip to complete a career Grand Slam by winning each of the tour’s four major championships by the end of the 2004-05 season. He has gone on to win the National, the Canadian Open and the Players’ Championship an additional three times since that feat.

Also impressive has been his dominance at the Westcoast Classic. Since its inception in 2002, Martin’s rinks have neatly taken home half of the first place purses – for this, the twelfth run of the WCC, he looks for his sixth title. He’ll have to wade through 23 other teams, including 2006 Olympic silver medalist Marku Uusipaavalniemi of Finland. Also on the roster are teams from BC, across Canada, the United States, Russia, Japan and Chinese Taipei. New Westminster rinks include those skipped by 2000 World Champions Bryan Miki and Brent Pierce (who each now skip their own foursomes) and former BC Junior Men’s Champs Andrew Bilesky and Jay Wakefield (@curlerjayw on Twitter, but watch out – he drops the four-letter words in just about every tweet). Up for grabs is a cash purse of $64,000.

Martin and Uusipaavalniemi will play a skins game on Wednesday, October 6 at 7:30 pm. The tournament itself begins on Friday, October 8, with draws beginning at 11 am and 2:15, 6 and 9 pm. There are multiple draws on Saturday and Sunday, with the quarter-finals, semifinals and finals to go on Thanksgiving Monday. Day passes to watch the tournament are $10, or get a tournament pass for all four days of play for $30.