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Charity raises funds for board game convention in rural Uganda

A crowdfunder has launched for a board game convention at a school in a Ugandan village, featuring loads of games, some tabletop RPGs, and even LARP.

Board game convention rural uganda - kids playing Dune.

The UK-based charity Chrysalis Youth Empowerment Network seeks to raise $3420 (£2650) for a board game convention held annually at its school in Omoro District, Northern Uganda. It plans to provide a convention for up to 300 kids from the local rural area, introducing them to some of the best board games ever, like Pandemic, Dune, Twilight Imperium, and more.

The sheer number of games and experiences Chrysalis has planned out on its crowdfunder page is impressive, ranging from a room dedicated to co-op board games like Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion to rules-light tabletop RPGs and even LARPing with “rubber swords and masks”.

The event, ran annually since 2017, will be held at Chrysalis Secondary School, with kids aged 8-15 from here and other local schools, as well as those in the area unable to attend school due to financial circumstances.

Board game convention - girls playing terraforming mars

It will involve board games at all levels, with a hall that can hold 200 (which received its roof only this year) devoted to gateway games like 7 Wonders and Jaipur. This section will in particular cater to kids who are new to boardgames or may not know how to read English. Meanwhile, another part of the event will feature complex strategy board games that take all day, like Eclipse and Twilight Imperium.

There’ll also be competitions at the event, including an Omweso Tournament, where players can win their own board. Omweso is a Ugandan version of the classic board game Mancala.

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In 2023, Chrysalis has some new events planned for its board game convention, such as a Science Camp. Created by the school’s head of science, apparently “a mean boardgamer and hard to beat Scrabble player”, this will involve experiments like mini rockets and ‘chemical traffic lights’.

Chrysalis says it has been playing board games in Uganda since 2009 and has now built up a library of around 500 games, with hundreds of young people now able to enjoy the hobby.

With 25 days left on its crowdfunding campaign, about half the money needed has been raised. Chrysalis provides a price breakdown and says the funds will be spent on shipping games, and to provide attendees with necessities like food, soap, and mosquito nets.

Stretch goals will allow more children to attend, and if it can raise its ultimate stretch goal of $9,600, a three-day-long athletics event after the convention.

For some great recommendations, check out our lists of the best family board games, kids board games, and board games for adults.