Most of us know someone who has been affected by Cancer. Many of us have actually battled the terrible disease ourselves. It can destroy lives, tear families apart, and leave people looking for answers. We fight Cancer in a number of different ways, but if you’re not a doctor, scientist, or researcher, one of the most effective things you can do is raise money to help support the people looking for a cure. This Friday, the 5th annual Snakes & Lattes Catanathon will be raising funds for the Canadian Cancer Society and you can watch it live and contribute some money for a worthy cause.
The Catanathon is the brainchild of Scott Emerson-Moyle. He’s been with Snakes since shortly after they opened, working primarily as a Game Guru, one of the board game sommeliers that helps customers choose a game and teaches them the rules.
The event is a marathon session of The Settlers of Catan. The participants will keep playing game after game for as long as the donations roll in. The more money they raise, the longer they have to play for.
“It’s a nerdy party with a good cause,” said Emerson-Moyle. He got the idea for the event years ago to help with Snakes’ overall Movember campaign.
“Snakes was already invested in Movember as a charity, and it was a way to focus on an actual event”
There is a core of players that will participate for the entire event, with occasional, merciful breaks. The players will also get visits from local celebrities like AJ Fry from Space Channel and musican and Youtube star, Andrew Huang.
People can makes donations to the Catanathon in person or online and certain pledges will earn rewards or challenges for the players.
The classic $10 pledge forces the players to compete in a round of Win, Lose, Banana (which is a super quick and silly micro game). After it has been played dozens of times over the course of the event the players start to develop a bit of a Win, Lose, Banana meta. A pledge of $50 will force one of the players to do a sexy dance for an entire round of play (definitely money well spent), and for $500 the competitors will play Jalapeno Jenga! The loser must eat a habanero pepper. If someone ponies up the money they will shave the head of the Library Curator and Board Game Breakfast star, Steve Tassie!
The Catanathon is an silly and fun event, but it comes from a serious desire to help.
“I’ve had Cancer affect my family in a really immediate way,” said Emerson-Moyle. Both his father and uncle were diagnosed with Prostate Cancer recently.
“They caught it and they were treated and they’re fine. I think that’s a testament to where we are with Cancer research.” However, there’s still a lot of important work that needs to be done.
“Every time we do this event it seems like there are more and more reasons that make it necessary.”
Marisa Ranalli has been working with Snakes for many years. She does a lot of the website design and regularly helps with events. Ranalli has been helping with the Catanathon since 2013, first with behind the scenes work, but she stepped in front of the camera and has been a regular player since 2014. The event took on an even more important meaning for her recently. Ranalli was diagnosed with Breast Cancer last year.
“Prior to my diagnosis, I was participating just for fun, and I wanted to help raise money for a great cause,” she said.
“I realize that there isn’t much I can do on my own to help cancer research, so I think this is the next best thing. I’m really hoping we’re able to exceed the amount raised last year.”
Last year they were able to raise around $5000 and played for 23 hours. Since the Catanathon started they’ve roughly doubled their total every year. They’re hoping to do so again this year and crack the $10,000 mark.
“My favourite moment from last year’s event was when our general manager, Chris Matheson, threw $500 worth of $5 bills onto the table, buying us a round of Starfarers of Catan, and another hour of gameplay,” remembers Ranalli.
So, how can you help? The Catanathon will be starting at 7 PM EST on Friday, November 18th and running into Saturday…or perhaps even Sunday. It’ll be taking place at Snakes’ College Street location (489 College Street Toronto). If you can’t make it in person you can watch the feed live and donate online at: www.snakesandlattes.com/catanathon
It’s a great cause to get involved in and watching deliriously tired people try to negotiate the going rate of sheep and wheat is oddly compelling.