Games galore: Youth club offers social interaction, logic skills

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Six is a logic game, one of many played at Hometown Comics and Games in Greenfield.

Maribeth Vaughn | Daily Reporter

GREENFIELD – Frances Hull envisions an after-school club where children find a place to belong while sharpening their critical thinking skills with board games.

Owner of Hometown Comics and Games in Greenfield launched a Youth Gaming Club club in the summer to surprising success, but since school started and family schedules got busier, attendance has been sporadic.

She’s hoping for a renewal of interest in the new year.

“The whole point was to be an after-school activity,” she said. “Three to four (kids) come and go. We hope to build it if we can.”

Hull believes there is a group of people who are underserved in the community: children ages 9 to 14 who love games but don’t have friends or siblings to play regularly with them, or their parents are busy and working. Having a place to play games can help with social skills, math, problem solving and more.

The club is available one afternoon a week: three hours each Tuesday for $10 at the store, 1040 N. State St., Greenfield. Hull provides one or two games to learn each session, and then children pick out whatever they want to play based on their interests and what’s available in the store’s demo library.

“I know there are kids who like board games who just don’t get the chance to play.”

At a recent session, Emily Gallgher, 10, played the game Six with Hull.

“I just really like this and it seems really fun to do after school,” she said, adding that her favorite games are Dungeon Mayhem, Crappy Birthday and Fast Flip.

Hull said Six is “the first game I’ve discovered that the smartest of adults can get beat by the youngest of kids” and it’s fun to see the logic play out.

She said the club needs more students to keep it going. People can call Hometown Comics to learn more, or simply show up on a Tuesday afternoon to sign up and drop them off. Parents can also stay to play, or even work remotely from the store as their children enjoy the games.

Emily, a Greenfield Intermediate School fifth grader, said while it’s fun to learn a new game each week, she also enjoys returning to her favorites.

“It’s really fun to play games and make friends,” she said.

For more, call 317-467-9050 or visit hometowncomicsandgames.com.