In the long, cold winter nights, Board Games Rule

At St. Paul’s Church, Connie Kalk (left) Peggy Beitlich (center) and Chuck Beitlich (right) try their luck at a three player game of “Sequence.”


EW ULM — Everyone has a favorite game, and these days the varieties of games are as unique as the people playing.

When you live where the outside temperature is below freezing for several months of the year, finding an indoor board game you love is important.

In New Ulm, multiple groups are dedicated to hosting game nights. Some of these groups are informal game enthusiasts, but others take the hobby seriously.

One of the most popular board games in New Ulm is cribbage. Some argue cribbage is more a card game than a board game, but trying playing the game without a peg board.

It’s not hard to find a fellow cribbage player in New Ulm, but for the seriously dedicated the American Legion Post hosts the George Sveine Cribbage tournament each year. This year’s ninth annual tournament is on Saturday, March 17.

Kris Kuschul contemplates his next move in Qwirkle

The Cribbage Tournament is promoted and sponsored by the Sveine family in honor of the late George Sveine, who was a fantastic cribbage player.

George’s son, Terry Sveine, said that after playing two cards his father could predict the remaining two cards in your hand.

“He played it so much he had seen all the card combination,” Terry said.

Sveine is uncertain why his father loved the game so much. He speculated that his dad liked the straightforward nature of the game. There are a lot of rules and luck associated with cribbage, but the game can be mastered.

The response from the community has been positive. Each year between 35 and 44 people participate in the tournament.

The Annual George Sveine Cribbage Tournament is held at the American Legion every year and includes 11 tables of four players.

Terry said the fun part of the tournament is that it attracts a wide age range. The youngest cribbage players are in their mid-20 and the oldest in the their late 80s. Since the tournament is done with partners the number of participants is capped at 44. Registration begins at noon on Saturday, March 17 and play starts at 1 p.m.

Other gaming groups have less defined schedules. If you walk into Bookshelves & Coffeecups on the right day you might see a few of the regular customers playing games with owner Jerry Chamberlain.

There is no set time to play games. John McCadden, a regular at Bookshelves, said occasionally a group will get an itch to have a game day.

The most recent game day was on Saturday, March 3. A group got together to play “Settlers of Catan.” The three- to four-player game has players competing to build the largest settlement on an island through the acquisition of resources.

One popular card game is “Cards Against Humanity,” but McCadden said they had to put a moratorium on this popular card game because it was being played too much and it was starting to lose its appeal.

Sometimes classics like Clue are still the best. In this game, Colonel Mustard has the rope in his possession and is able to disprove the most recent suggestion.

Recently another group of board game enthusiasts have started a board game night at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church. The first game night was held on a Friday night, March 2, and had a respectable turnout with players of all ages. The group of gamers broke out into three groups. The largest group played “Code Names,” which is a spy based team game. The second group played “Spot-It” and “Qwirkle.” The third group, consisting of Connie Kalk, Chuck Beitlich and Peggy Beitlich, broke out the “Sequence” board.

Beitlich said this game night was a new experiment and the group was still looking a day of the week that worked best for everyone. Games nights are a good chance to learn about new games and find new people to play against. Beitlich was excited to find enough people to play team cribbage.

One of the greatest challenges for the board game hobbyists is finding enough space to play. Some games are large and not every home has the room available to play. This was the problem A.J. Juhnke, Travis Theurer and Julie Lovell faced every time they tried to play Role-Playing Games like “Dungeon’s and Dragons.” Their solution was to open a gaming store where players can gather and play the games they love.

The store is called Red Dragon Gaming and will be located on downtown Minnesota Street. The plan is to open the store in May. New Ulm previously had a gaming store called Dork Den on the south side of town. Theurer said he met his business partners at this store and they continued playing games even after Dork Den closed three years ago. Since then, they decided New Ulm could still use a gaming store.

Theurer said there are many role-playing game fans in the New Ulm area. The popular games are “Dungeons & Dragons,” “Pathfinder,” and “X-Wing.” Recently Theurer and Juhnke have gotten into playing a Western-style game called “Aces and Eight.”

The hope is Red Dragon can become a community hub for fellow gamers.

Spring is just around the corner and soon the need for indoor activities will be limited, but there will be plenty of rainy days to come and countless different games to try.