Your Turn

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 4, 2008

AHOSKIE – Game on.

If you venture to the Rotary Room at the Ahoskie Inn on a Tuesday night at 7 p.m., you just might find yourself enjoying a game of chess or another board game.

Jerry Skinner, from Union, came up with the idea of having a night where people could come play board games.

Skinner said that years ago he and Stan Jenkins, another board game player, started a game night at Roanoke Chowan Community College and it lasted about a year.

Skinner got together with others who were interested in a game night and they picked a night where they could all get together. The group had its first meeting Oct. 18, 2007 and has been meeting consistently ever since.

The gamers originally met on Thursdays, but changed the meeting to Tuesdays to better accommodate everyone’s schedules.

Skinner said the group focuses on chess because that’s a game they are all interested in.

John Johnson, a teacher at Hertford County High School, comes to play games with the group.

“I like the game because there is no luck in chess,” said Johnson.

“It is all about outsmarting your opponent; there is no roll of the dice.”

Jenkins’ father taught him how to play chess when he was 6- years-old.

“Chess makes you think,” said Jenkins.

“The moves are endless and after each move, more and more moves open up.”

The group also plays other board games.

“We expanded it beyond chess and it’s amazing how many different kinds of games there are out there,” said Skinner.

“You could go a long time and not play the same game twice.”

The gamers mainly play strategy games; most of which do not have dice.

“Dice take the control away from the strategy,” said Skinner.

Skinner also mentioned that playing games used to be a common activity for families, but now technology and computers have drawn people’s attention away from the joy of board games.

The game night is free to the public.

“This is a good way for people to intermingle with like-minded people or learn about new games if they don’t know anything about them,” said Skinner.

Skinner said the game night has a good family atmosphere and is in a safe environment.

Also the location is easy to find, and there is no limit on how long they play the games.

He also added that they are normally finished by 9:30 p.m.

Board games became one of Skinner’s favorite pastimes while he was in the Air Force, where he spent eight years serving his country.

“There were two crowds of people on the military bases: the drinkers and the more family oriented people,” said Skinner.

“I was more family oriented, so I started getting together with other people who liked board games and we would play games and cook out.”

Skinner has a personal collection of about 45 board games, not including his 55 chess sets.

When he got out of the military, he came back to live in the Ahoskie area. He said there were not many social activities for people to participate in.

“This is a way to give back to the community,” said Skinner.

The group averages about six people each week, although Skinner would like to have as many people come as possible.

Skinner also encourages people who do not speak English to come.

“You don’t have to speak the same language to play chess,” said Skinner.

“Chess is a universal