Ryan Aube, center, helps score the first round of Sushi Go Party game at Thursday night’s Tea & Lobster Production’s board game night at the Norway Savings Bank Arena in Auburn. Also shown: Dustin Boutin, left, and Alicen Aube. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

AUBURN — Is there anything more invigorating on a cool September night than running around a fictional Lovecraftian dimension and trying to close portals before the monsters get through?

For those who enjoy board games, that is a perfect evening.

On Thursday, nearly a dozen of them gathered at the Norway Savings Bank Arena to play these kinds of games with friends and strangers.

“Board games, food and beer,” Ben Santos said. “That’s the general idea here.”

Santos, known for having founded the local Cosplay Convention, organized the night of games along with his business partner, Gerry Shannon of Tea & Lobster Productions.

They called it Con(s) Against Humanity, and before the night was over, there were more than two dozen games waiting to be played.

“It’s a great way to try out new games,” said Gary Hauger, who runs Mythic Portal Games in Lewiston. “Until you sit down and play a game, you don’t know if you want to go out and buy it.”

Hauger brought a dozen games for the group to try. Kevin Williams of Extreme Gaming in Auburn brought a few dozen more, including Munchkin, Zombicide, Fallout and Exploding Kittens, a card game.

If that were not enough fun, Lost Valley Brewing dropped off a keg of beer.

According to Santos, there is enough of a gaming community in the area that he figured an organized event would do well.

“We figured, let’s test it out,” Santos said. “This is kind of a warm-up. If it’s a hit, we’ll do it once a month, or something like that.”

At the Thursday night event, the group started with a game called Sushi Go Party. With the sounds of skates and slap shots from the arena below, seven men and one woman got down to playing the food-based game, seeking points in the form of cards in their attempts to build the perfect sushi.

All of this was happening just two days before The Great Falls Comic Expo, scheduled for Saturday at the Lewiston Armory. Most of those at the board game event said they expect to hit the Comic Expo, as well.

Whether Santos will make the event a regular thing or not remains to be seen. He said not only is it a good way for people to gather and play games with friends and strangers, it is a nice break for those husbands, wives and children who are not always up for a rousing game of Runebound.

“Instead of trying to twisting arms to get your family to play,” Santos said, “you can just come here and find people who are happy to play.”

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