Evil Geniuses seek ‘lady gamers’

Michelle Bair

Group plays board, video games weekly

Group plays board, video games weekly

It’s been over a decade since Carl Stone, a computer science Kent alumnus, was a part of the International Film Society and he became a gaming geek.

He and a friend were putting up flyers for IFS when they stumbled upon a sign that read: “Evil Geniuses for a Better Tomorrow.”

Stone and several other gamers meet every Monday of the semester from 7 p.m. to 12:45 a.m. to play various board games. The club also meets the first Saturday of each month for the larger, all-day “mini-con” event. A “mini-con” is a nickname used by gamers to describe a long day of playing video games.

“I wasn’t into gaming until I came here on accident because we were curious,” Stone said. “And that is how I got involved,” he said with a grin. “I’ve been here ever since.”

Evil Geniuses President Tom Maisonville, a sophomore political science major, said next Monday will be the last meeting for the semester, but there will still be summer meetings the first Saturday of each month. He said they play “all sorts of games, and Saturday is the biggest turnout.”

Some passing students may have the misconception about the sub-culture of Dungeon and Dragon warriors in the Student Center who are intensely role-playing with their swords and shields. But the Evil Geniuses also express their imagination through board games. Anyone can attend a meeting in the Gardner room on the third floor of the Student Center.

Members of the club agreed that some Saturday meetings are longer, and more people show up because they can make it that day. They said attendance varies from approximately 15 to 40 gamers, and members include Kent students, graduates and locals. Twenty four year-old Ian McFarlin travels to Kent from North Canton for the club’s meetings.

His favorite game is Arkham Horror, “Partly because it is cooperative,” he said.

Twenty seven year-old Brian Prochaska and 28-year-old Daniel Cieplinski, both Kent alumni, sat at a round table with McFarlin, and they talked about their different names and all sorts of games.

“We are a club of weird names,” Prochaska said, with a laugh.

He said he also likes Arkham Horror because it’s not a game where some win or some lose.

“Instead, we all win or we all lose,” Prochacka said.

The group’s goal is to get more members—any “nerd” who is interested in playing or learning about these games.

“This is my first year,” said Andi Hirsh, a master student in library info and science. “We need more lady gamers.”

Stone and Hirsh played Twilight Struggle, a board game about the cold war.

“He’s the U.S. and I’m the U.S.S.R.,” Hirsh said.

The two of them had their game face on in the corner while the club’s creator, Jeremy Fridy, a Kent graduate with a degree in history and political science, spoke excitedly about his passion for games.

“I founded this club back in 1998,” Fridy said. “I was the vice president.”

He said that in the 90s, the U.S. started getting games from Europe.

“Very family-friendly games that aren’t very hard,” Fridy said.

He also talked about war games from the 60s and how men in the military “made their own civilian version.”

He said that there are a lot of levels and kinds of games.

“They make games that vary in difficulty,” Fridy said. “Some are very simple and some are so mind numbingly complex they may take weeks to finish.”

He said that most members find Monopoly to be pretty boring, but he enjoys the money game called Acquire.

“I love it,” Fridy said. “The rule book is one page, it ends in about an hour and a half and it’s not difficult.”

He said wishes it were more common.

Hirsh, the only female gamer on Monday night, then jumped up and did a victory dance around Stone as he did a walk of shame to the next game.

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