The inaugural Central Valley Boardgaming Championships will be from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, May 23 in the University Dining Hall at Fresno State.

About 50-75 participants from 12 Valley middle and high schools (Fresno, Kings and Merced counties) are expected for the event presented by the Youth Boardgaming League, a new after-school enrichment program for K-12 students that helps develop critical thinking and communication skills using strategy and communications-based board games.

They will compete in nine game events based on a broad class of tabletop games, mostly originating from Europe. The board games generally have simple rules, short to medium playing times (20 minutes to 2 hours), direct and indirect player interaction and attractive physical components, explained Dr. Greg Thatcher, program developer, event coordinator and associate professor in the Department of Public Health at Fresno State.

Game events will include Liar’s Dice, High Society, For Sale, Can’t Stop, Ingenious, Ticket to Ride, King of Tokyo, Formula Motor Racing and 7 Wonders.

“The board games program focuses on helping adolescents build life skills such as setting realistic expectations, determining ideal maneuvers in a dynamic situation, understanding the need to practice in order to improve, learning how to positively celebrate success and graciously handle defeat and, most importantly, how to have fun in a constructive and beneficial way,” Thatcher said.

The winner of each event will receive a plaque and be invited to an awards luncheon hosted by the California Health Collaborative. All final table participants in each game will receive a T-shirt.

Random drawings for other prizes and games will be held throughout the day for participants. Each participating school will also receive games for their program.

For more information, contact Thatcher at or 559.797.2628.

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