Strategic Games Club uses Discord to bond during COVID-19

The+Strategic+Games+Club+%28SGC%29+relies+on+Discord+to+chat+and+play+games+together.+Even+though+their+club+meets+only+virtually%2C+they+have+built+a+strong+and+supportive+gaming+community.

The Strategic Games Club (SGC) relies on Discord to chat and play games together. Even though their club meets only virtually, they have built a strong and supportive gaming community.

Cards all over the gameroom floor. Uprising voices all around. That was then, this is now: Discord servers and voice channels; there is one imposter among us.

Co-president and senior Minjae Ko said the Strategic Games Club (SGC) is a group of members who gather together and all have an interest in playing games.

“We have a really diverse group of people who play all sorts of games together. The SGC is just a huge group of friends, in general,” Ko said.

Ko has been a member of the Strategic Games Club since his freshman year. As co-president, Ko said he tries to foster a warm and welcoming environment.

“Throughout the years, my goal as co-president has been to recreate an environment where people could enjoy time together regardless of who they are or what grade they’re in,” Ko said.

Owen Sloane has been an active member in the club from his freshman year. Sloane said the SGC helps him reconnect with old friends and make new ones.

“With COVID-19 and all, it can be really hard to meet new underclassmen. The Strategic Games Club makes it possible to meet new people with common interests, as well as form stronger connections with friends,” Sloane said.

Freshman Carlotta Zanini said she joined the Strategic Games Club because she wanted a community of people to play games and have conversations with.

“I love how everyone can really talk to one other and have nice conversations despite our ages and grades,” Zanini said.

Advisor Emily McGinnis said her favorite part of the SGC is the high level of student involvement.

“I love the passion. Everybody is just really into it. It’s immediate and engaging. It’s play based,” McGinnis said.

McGinnis was asked to be the Strategic Games Club advisor back when she used to teach Spanish 3 Honors. McGinnis said she gave an assignment in class where every student had to create their own game. That day, one student’s game gained the most popularity because it was the most engaging.

“He told me that he did a lot of reading about how to make games engaging for other people. It was just so fascinating. Then, he said that he was interested in creating a club where people could play games all together. He asked if I would be interested in advising it,” McGinnis said.

Although the SGC started as an in-person club, it has had to transfer onto an online format due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ko said the transition to a fully-online meeting format was a smooth one.

“Ever since the beginning, we’ve always had a Discord server for people to join. When COVID hit, it was very easy for us to transition more towards meeting through the voice chat on Discord. We were able to adapt to the situation pretty easily,” Ko said.

However, Ko said it was challenging not being able to meet people face-to-face.

“There is an element of interaction missing from playing board games, which holds back a lot of excitement and fun in playing games together,” Ko said.

McGinnis said she encourages new members to join the SGC.

“If you are looking for something to do, and if you like playing strategic and challenging board games, you should definitely consider joining the Strategic Games Club. It’s a very welcoming environment,” McGinnis said.