From then to now
Peter Senge once said “All great things have small beginnings.” The story of FWGN began with a simple love of playing board games and connecting with people. What started as a small group of 2-4 people has now grown into a thriving community of over 1300 members and continues to grow.
After attending the BoardGameGeek BGG.Con board game convention in November of 2014, Jonathan Key and Jeremy Martin started “Guys Game Night” which would later become Fort Worth Game Night. Wanting to build community and connect with other board gamers in the Fort Worth metroplex, Jeremy Martin started hosting Guys Game Night on Monday nights. It was a struggle to find a third or fourth player.
By 2015, there were 10-15 guys and they would communicate via text messaging about upcoming game nights. Game nights typically had 2-5 players.
In 2016, a Facebook group was formed to communicate with the group rather than using text messaging. Jonathan Key started hosting every other week. There were 15 active members.
In 2017, the group had 35-40 members . Facebook Messenger group chat allowed for additional communication among the group. In December, they launched the first all-day gaming event with around 7-8 people and called it Geek Game Day. This was held at Hulen Mall in Fort Worth. That year the group expanded to include all genders and ages. The goal was to be an inclusive, diverse and welcoming group for all different kinds of board gamers. The name of the group changed to “Game Night”.
In 2018, the group grew to 150 people. Jeremy Martin stepped down from hosting weekly game nights and Jonathan Key stepped up to take the group to the next level. The group name switched to DFW Game Night but eventually changed to Fort Worth Game Night. This name reflects the group’s identity as the game night community of the west side of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. There were several Geek Game Day events in March, July, August, and December in Fort Worth.
In October 2018, the Geek Game Day event moved to UTA-Fort Worth with 65 participants. The success of this event was thanks in large part to Daniela Cardenas-Shaw, Cynthia Cardenas, and Corey Goodwin. Corey Goodwin was the owner of Friend and Foe Cafe which sadly closed down after the Pandemic.
In 2019, FWGN grew to 350 members by the summer. Vincent Garza with Swole Nerd Productions designed our FWGN Logos and produced FWGN and Geek Game Day shirts for the group. Game nights occurred in West Fort Worth, Central Fort Worth, and South Fort Worth. In April 2019, Geek Game Day event was hosted with Friend & Foe and our sister group DFW Gaming Village in Dallas with 200+ people at the Arlington Public Library. FWGN also started additional “Focus groups” for smaller sessions of Shadows of Brimstone, Savage Worlds, and Dungeons & Dragons. At one point there were 10-20 Dungeons & Dragons sessions FWGN started in various locations throughout Dallas-Fort Worth.
In 2020, we were full speed ahead with a game night practically every day of the week until Covid-19 shut everything down in March. We restarted a few games in the summer but ended up cancelling all events for the remainder of the year. People were encouraged to play games online, play games solo, play games on apps, and find their niched of 2-3 people to play games with “within their bubble.” Despite not having much official activity we still grew to nearly 700 members by the end of the year.
We decided in 2020 if we couldn’t play games we’d at least buy, sell, and trade games. As such, we had our first Virtual Flea Market for Dallas-Fort Worth with BoardGameGeek in November at Boomerang Comics and Games in Lewisville.
In 2021, in the summer in July and August with vaccinations on the rise and heard immunity close at hand we started slowly moving forward with game nights again. Our game nights were primarily in South Fort Worth at a member’s home every other Tuesday, North Fort Worth at a member’s home on Fridays, and in West Arlington at a member’s home on Fridays or Saturdays. We also had some game nights during the week or weekends sporadically in Arlington, Cleburne, and in Weatherford. By the end of the year we had over 850 members. We had 3 Virtual Flea Market for Dallas-Fort Worth in March, June, and October in 2020. We also launched our 3rd batch of Fort Worth Game Night shirts and added ball caps to the swag options.
In 2022, we grew to nearly 1300 members. We had regular Game nights in Arlington on Mondays at Free Range Pumpkins, in South Fort Worth at a member’s home on Tuesdays, Chess Club near Hulen Mall on Wednesdays, at On Tap in Arlington on Thursdays, in North Fort Worth at a member’s home on Fridays, in West Arlington at a member’s home on Fridays/Saturdays, and at Free Range Pumpkins every Sunday.
We had our 5th Virtual Flea Market for Dallas-Fort Worth in March 2022. Lot’s of great games bought, sold, and traded!
We had our 7th Geek Game Day in August 2022 at Wedgwood Baptist Church. This was the largest event to date. We had nearly 400 participants and volunteers. We also had a Bazaar and Virtual Flea Market meetup where people bought, sold, and traded games. Thanks to all our sponsors and volunteers! We could not have pulled it off without you.
Lots of games played, given away, bought, sold, and traded! Looking forward to the next one!