Manual’s Games Club relieves stress and keeps fun alive


Benedic de la Cruz (9, MST) plays a game of Magic the Gathering. Photo by Hunter Hartlage.

Hunter Hartlage

They do roll-call on a computer, and then they’re ready to begin. Some students buy Cheez-Its and candy from the “honor-system” snack bar in the back of the room. Others get out pencils and papers, make themselves comfortable on stools and start shuffling decks of cards. Then they get down to business in the science lab next to room 320, playing one of the club’s many board games.

Benedic de la Cruz (9, MST) plays a game of Magic the Gathering. Photo by Hunter Hartlage.

“I love board games, and I figured that a lot of kids here would also enjoy it,” Mr. Chris Applegate (Science), the club’s teacher sponsor said. “I’ve had a few kids over the years play the games that I’ve brought with me to school, so I thought it would fit in.”

Applegate started the club two years ago, and since then, it has quickly grown in popularity. Students play a large variety of games, from classic board games like Settlers of Catan to roleplaying games like Dungeons and Dragons (D&D). If it’s played on a table, then it’s welcome at Games Club.

The club’s co-president, Emma Heironimus (12, MST), is especially fond of a game called Seven Wonders.

“I’m the best at it,” Heironimus said, “so I win every time.”

The club members now fill two rooms; both Applegate’s room, and Mr. Adam Wilson’s (Math) room, just across the hall. While Applegate’s room alone could definitely hold all of the club members, the change was necessary because of one simple reason.

“Noise,” Applegate said. “The role-playing games can get really loud, and having several D&D groups in one room, plus all the other tables that are playing in one room, it just gets really loud.”

James Ernspiker (12, MST) spends every Wednesday in Wilson’s room, a part of one of those loud groups playing D&D. The character he plays is the champion of the Greek god Apollo.

“I go to Games Club because it’s a nice escape from the stress and general environment of school midway through the week,” Ernspiker said.

Benedic de la Cruz (9, MST), another Games Club regular who plays Magic: the Gathering, shares Ernspiker’s sentiment.

“It actually helps you release stress, playing games after school and stuff,” de la Cruz said.

Heironimus sums up the club’s appeal in a much more succinctly, however.

“It’s Games Club,” Heironimus said. “It’s kinda hard to not have fun.”