Jonson Kuhn | New SCENE
Miguel Molina has always moved around. Even from the time, he was a kid growing up between Illinois and Missouri, he’s always traveled. As he got older and eventually enlisted in the Air Force, as you might imagine, the traveling from location to location only intensified, so it might not come as a surprise that Miguel would be the founder of an event designed around meeting new people as he was frequently the new guy in town. That event is called Fort Collins Board Games and Brews.
“It’s been kind of crazy, it started as just this small thing in my garage and literally because I was kind of like new in town and I wanted to meet people with similar interests, and over time it just blew up into this bigger thing than I ever expected,” Miguel said.
When Miguel’s not busy coordinating game nights, he still serves in the Air Force where he performs a lot of IT-related tasks and works in cyber network operations with the Air National Guard in Wyoming. While Miguel initially started the group on his own, given his busy schedule, he eventually sought help from friends Steve Dempsey and Maddy Cook to assist in keeping the game nights running smoothly.
“Originally this wasn’t a board game group at all, it was called the Fort Collins Retro Gaming Club, and basically back in 2014 I was inviting people to my house just to play video games because I collect a lot of old school video games and I have an arcade cabinet and a bunch of big old tube CRT TV’s and I played all of the old consoles like Sega Genesis, Nintendo, stuff like that,” Miguel said. “So, I originally was just having people come over to my house to drink and play games, and I wanted to make it more of a regular thing, so I started going to bars and breweries and asking if I could take over one of their areas for a few hours for once a month.”
In the beginning, Miguel used to actually bring all of the equipment from one bar to the next, from game consoles to televisions and everything in between just to make these game nights happen, which he said would often take hours to set up.
“I was doing that for like a couple of years, but it was a lot of work, so I started thinking about how I still liked hanging out with all of these people but I really don’t want to do all of this work for video games every time.”
Miguel said shortly after that the decision was made to start meeting up weekly but leaving the video games behind and instead transitioning to board games, much less equipment and much lighter to carry. Since that time the game nights have picked up a lot of traction, with Wednesday night games sometimes bringing in anywhere between 20 to 35 people Miguel said.
Currently, Wednesday nights are more casual and focused on socialization where anyone can come and play games that don’t require as much time or rules and allows for a more low-key atmosphere Miguel said. Tuesdays and Thursdays are more considered what they refer to as heavy game nights, which consist of games where people have to learn a considerable number of rules and require more time, often taking up more than one session and spilling into multiple days, if not weeks.
“The heavier game nights are a slightly smaller turnout because like I said they require a more dedicated, smaller group of people to learn these games and have the time to play them because some of these games take hours, plus just the time it takes to really get all of the rules down,” Miguel said.
While there are no set venues at the moment, Miguel said they tend to fluctuate between different bars and are always on the lookout for new locations, as well, as businesses tend to change ownership so often throughout town.
“The venues kind of change all of the time, in Fort Collins we have places open and close all of the time, so we always look for new bars and breweries opening that offer a lot of table space and also have food available.”
If people want to get involved, Miguel said he runs a Facebook group, which currently has over a thousand members, and he keeps the group updated on Meetup.com, as well. Additionally, Miguel said if anyone looks for Fort Collins Board Games and Brews in an internet search, that’s always a good way to find the latest dates and times or you can reach Miguel through email at email@example.com.
“It’s all free, all I ask is to support whatever business we might be at if they can, buy some beer or food, and tip well, otherwise it’s all free,” Miguel said.