The New School of Syracuse embraces board games for social development

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Last weekend, kids of all ages flooded the home of Emilee Lawson Hatch.

Hatch and her husband transformed their Westcott residence into a kids’ dream, with dozens of tables set up to play board games, a bounce house in the yard and a kitchen full of cookies, nachos and veggie snacks.

The event celebrated International Tabletop Day (April 29), a day invented for lovers of board games.

As a board game enthusiast herself, Hatch created the event as a fundraiser for The New School of Syracuse, an independent K-8 school located in DeWitt. (Her son, Stuart, attends.) Families either dropped off or accompanied their children, who scrambled into chairs to play.

They chose games of dexterity like Dr. Eureka, Ice Cool and Coconuts, or games of tactical thinking like Ticket to Ride, Monza and Heroscape.

“It’s a great way to learn strategy and playing by the rules,” said Hatch, a lawyer with Bousquet Holstein. 

The day’s energy heightened when the kids broke out a can of Reddiwip to play Pie Face!, a game of luck which leaves the loser covered with whipped cream.

Ticket to Ride had a special place in the schedule, since the game’s creator, Alan Moon, resides in Syracuse. He invented Ticket to Ride, a cross-country train adventure, in 2004. Now more than 20 versions exist of the game, which spans multiple continents and has been published in several languages.

Ticket to Ride game inventor Alan Moon (left) plays Dr. Eureka with students at International Tabletop Day, a local fundraiser for The New School of Syracuse. 

The kids shyly regarded Moon once a volunteer pointed him out as a real game creator.

“Game creators are usually not let out of the house,” Moon joked, turning to the kids. “The real truth is little elves live in my basement and they made the game.”

Alan and Janet Moon attended the event as special guests, and donated autographed boxes of Ticket to Ride First Journey or original version…

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