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Game On!

Board games and booze at The Barn Light
Photo by Rob Sydor | robsydor.com

Monday nights are usually reserved for recovering from a big weekend or loathing the realities of a new week. At The Barn Light, however, Mondays take on a new meaning: game night. 

Sure, it’s nothing compared to the rowdiness of Eugene’s weekend bar scene, but that’s not the intention. On Monday nights, Barn Light is like the ultimate living room with a stocked bar, baristas and board games at the ready. Game night isn’t about whom you know or what you’re wearing, it’s about coming together and rolling the dice. 

“Monday nights are typically slower so it drives in a good 20 to 25 people who might otherwise not come in at night,” says Thomas Pettus-Czar, co-owner of The Barn Light. “We wanted to create a place that would draw folks with similar interests.”

The evening is ushered in with a brief video on The Barn Light Facebook page where a 20-sided die is rolled to determine the drink special for the night; if it lands on two to seven, that’s a dollar off tap beer, eight to 13 is dollar off well drinks, 14 to 19 is dollar off canned beer and one or 20 is a dollar off all three. Then, the featured game is announced and the gamers gather. But these aren’t your ordinary games, so don’t come expecting to play with a deck of cards or a never-ending game of Monopoly. Recent games have included Settlers of Catan, China and Ticket To Ride. 

“These newer games attract a new audience of players; there’s been a real renaissance in board games,” says Cary Madden, manager of Funagain Games, who partners with The Barn Light for game night. “The classics [like Monopoly] have fallen by the wayside.” Madden says that the night is very noncompetitive; rather, it’s about bringing people together. “We want games that are easy to teach at The Barn Light so the complexity level is very straightforward,” Madden says.  

It was Madden’s partner, Anna Hults, who first conceptualized the idea of hosting the game night at The Barn Light, even before the space was ready for business. “It’s only been going on for about six weeks, but it seems to be picking up momentum pretty quickly,” Hults says. “It’s nice to see the people who were timid that first night feeling comfortable with a group of new friends just a few short weeks later.”

With a bartender only a few steps away, things certainly get interesting when liquor comes into the mix. “Some games are certainly more interesting when drinking,” Madden says.