Chatham welcomed dozens of visitors over the weekend for the February Frosty Flick crokinole tournament.
Saturday's event, sanctioned by the National Crokinole Association (NCA), brought about 50 players to the downtown strip - 21 of which compete at the national level.
The turnout was even better than expected for Turns & Tales owner Terence Johnson, hitting capacity during the event earlier than the registration deadline. The board game café was happy with the exposure brought to their business and their beloved neighbourbood.
"That’s what we’re here to do. We’re here to bring people into downtown Chatham," said owner Terry Johnson. "That’s what Turns & Tales is for, is to give Chatham a lively downtown where people can come in, play, and relax."
Having a host like Turns & Tales was a welcome change of atmosphere for the players, some of whom came in from as far away as Michigan and Owen Sound.
“Most of the tournaments get played in church basements, fire halls, or community halls. This is the first time it’s affiliated with a business," said Nathan Walsh, chairperson of the NCA. "I think being affiliated with a board game café is a pretty nice fit for crokinole... and we got a ton of new players, too, which is pretty awesome.”
The game has been growing in popularity recently, according to Walsh.
"Crokinole has been through a few different sort of revival periods. Generally a lot of people are familiar with it as a kid, then they forget about it, then they remember again," Walsh explained. "In the pandemic and coming out of the pandemic, it’s definitely the most I’ve ever seen in terms of popularity of the game. It’s a super exciting time for somebody who’s been involved in crokinole for over a decade."
A traditional dexterity game, crokinole is played by flicking discs across a circular wooden board, trying to score as many points as possible.
"Crokinole is a very social game. It’s very accessible in terms of mobility and age, too," Walsh shared. "People young and old can play, and play competitively too."
For those interested in learning more about the game, Walsh suggests looking up crokinole on YouTube, where you can find videos of experienced players in action. While some may get a laugh out of the clips, he says others may be genuinely interested and entertained.
The next NCA tournament is being held in London on March 25, 2023. Once again, there will be competitive and recreational divisions to accommodate players at all levels. Details about the event and registration information can be found on the NCA website.
With files from Matt Weverink.