New gaming group hosts inaugural meeting at senior center

Natural 20 Gaming, a new social group for table top game enthusiasts and newcomers alike, held its first meeting at the Vashon Senior Center last Sunday.

The event was billed as a grand opening and featured a wide selection of tapletop games for guests to play. Co-founder Wesley Paulsen hopes the club will have the interest and active membership needed for hosting gatherings regularly. He said that while private groups of avid gamers may organize among themselves, venues for larger groups are few and far between on Vashon.

“Vashon is just a very special community,” said Paulsen.

While the Vashon Library hosts game nights for teens and adults, Paulsen said that the idea was to create a dedicated group of islanders who could become members and play together.

“All the game groups that I know of are closed, but there are a lot of them. If we could get those people involved, families could come on out and maybe meet new friends.”

Paulsen said that there was a turnout of 15 people at the opening. He is starting the group with islander Kirk Rose and said that the idea for establishing it first spawned from their own attempts to organize consistent game time with friends.

“We’ve had some people come in and out, people have come and gone, and this would be another way to cater to a wider variety of schedules; that’s the ultimate goal,” he said.

Paulsen and Rose made initial plans to create the group in January. “We sat down and said, ‘Hey, this would be great to game with different people and foster community interaction.’”

The group would provide a space for both kids and adults to step away from ubiquitous screens. Paulsen says that cooperative play and socialization are paramount to the group’s mission.

“Anybody who thinks they’ll have fun but who doesn’t know how to play something is welcome to come in and hopefully find a passion for gaming as much as we do,” he said.

The name “Natural 20” is derived from the 20-sided die that accompany the popular role playing adventure board game “Dungeons and Dragons.”

“It is the best roll you can get, and it is treated as a critical success, so generally it means whatever you were attempting to do is successful with a little bonus,” said Paulsen.

Admission to Sunday’s event was free, though donations were welcomed.

Should they continue using the space at the senior center, Paulsen said that he expects the group will charge an admission fee, though he said it was too early to know what it could be and that efforts would be made to ensure no one was excluded or burdened.

“We will be letting everyone know on our Facebook page what our pricing will be as soon as we figure the numbers, but we know we will be giving discounts to families who attend,” he said. “We also will be giving punch cards out so that once you fill out your punch card, you get a free entry.”

Much like one of the many long campaigns played in “Dungeons and Dragons,” Paulsen believes that there are more days ahead for the story of Natural 20 Gaming and is excited for what the future may bring.

“We want to have everybody come. We want to be able to invite everybody,” he said.

More information is available on the group’s Facebook page, at facebook.com/Natural20GamingVashon.

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