We have often written about the good that can be done through games. Just by playing them, we connect with one another, learn lessons about winning and losing, and exercise our strategic instincts. But gaming can also be used as a vehicle to do substantial good for a community as well. Many different publishers, media outlets, and local gaming stores use gaming events to elicit donations or raise money for worthy causes. Organizations like the Jack Vasel Memorial Fund or Path of Play make direct, tangible impact on people’s lives.
Unfortunately, there are few people that have not been touched by Cancer in some way. Some of us have lost someone special, others are survivors, and some people are fighting their battle with the disease today. For eight years, a collective of friends and co-workers have been getting together and raising money for Cancer research and treatment.
On Friday, October 11, the eighth annual Catanathon Against Cancer will be broadcasting live from 7pm EDT. The event will run for as long as the donations roll in, meaning that these brave souls might be playing Catan and its many variations for 24 hours or more.
The Catanathon was first envisioned by Scott Moyle. At the time it was run out of Snakes & Lattes and many of the event team members are current employees or alumni of the popular Toronto board game cafe. In its history, the Catanathon has raised over $25,000 dollars and has logged over 120 hours of Catan gaming. That’s dedication for a cause!
There are different tier levels for donations. For example, a $5 donation will earn you high fives and cheers for your name. At $30, the Robber will be renamed and the players will have to refer to it by the name of your choosing for the duration of the game. Now, the more donations come in, the longer the team has to play. The only possible reprieve they can get is by winning a game. This earns the player a two-hour nap…unless of course a $200 donation is made robbing them of the chance to catch 40 winks. If someone is big-hearted enough to make a $500 donation, a round of Ghost Pepper Jenga will take place. Suffice to say, the loser will be in a lot of pain by the end of it, although arguably more awake.
For more information on the Catanathon and to see some clips from the past events, check out the official Catanathon site here. Be sure to tune in to the event on October 11 to see some sleep-deprived folks trading wheat for sheep, building cities, and possibly ingesting some seriously spicy peppers all in an effort to fight Cancer.