By Louisa Benatovich

Student Reporter

Since its creation three years ago, the Ellicottville Young Writers’ and Illustrators’ Club has devoted itself to broadening the horizons of growing minds everywhere.

Instead of a weekly club, EYWIC, as it is now known, appears every so often as a series of workshops. Sponsored by the Rotary Club of Ellicottville, this workshop series was held at the Ellicottville Memorial Library for a glorious five weeks.

Centered on the concept of games in their various forms, these EYWIC workshops sought to understand why activities like Scrabble or Uno bring us so much joy.

With around 10 attendees each week, the intrepid group of students ranging from 4th to 6th grade learned how to play games beloved across the decades.

Starting off easy with Scrabble and Mastermind, the group increased the complexity of the games they were learning as the weeks drew on. Soon, the group was learning how to play chess and the British parlor room classic, cribbage. On the last day, the group became Dungeons and Dragons experts.

At the end of the series, the kids presented to their parents under the watchful eye of workshop creator, Katie Benatovich.

“I enjoyed seeing the kids grow as we progress through the workshops,” she said. “I love when people find new ways to bring joy to themselves and others. Games are such a simple, primal way of doing so. My EYWIC members were going home and teaching what we learned to their parents and siblings. If nothing else, games spawn family connection.”

For those who are in the dark, EYWIC would like to take the time to explain some of the world’s most beloved games. Maybe it will even inspire you to wrench open your dusty old game drawer. 

SCRABBLE: Everyone’s favorite word game, Scrabble is a board game for amateurs and professionals alike. For many of the EYWIC members, the game was a chance to learn new works. On a gridded board, players form words using wooden tiles. Different placements and combinations earn different amounts of points. It was a hoot!

MASTERMIND: A game created after a hit game show, Mastermind is fun for any age. Hidden from view, a player creates a pattern using four colored pegs. In the space that remains on the board, the other player has eight to 10 tries to guess the pattern. The pattern creator gives the guesser hints using a special black and white peg system. By the end of the session, students were guessing the combos in three or four tries. Impressive!

CHESS: Everyone knows this game of black and white tiles. Memorize how the pieces move and you’re golden. Fierce matches were going on by the end of the EYWIC session.

CRIBBAGE: This card and board game combination was by far the hardest one to learn, and, amazingly, some members loved it! The card game, one of my personal favorites, centers on quick arithmetic skills and speedy decisions. The points are recorded by moving pegs down and around a holey board. Whoever makes it to the end first, wins.

DUNGEONS & DRAGONS: This is the game for the truest of dreamers. D&D, as it is lovingly called by veteran players, is a chance for the mind to create anything it so chooses. Members enjoyed rolling the dice and creating funny-named characters. The beauty of D&D is its malleability as a game. Essentially, the players can craft it however they see fit. It was a great opportunity for members to play with the farthest reaches of their minds.

This month of fun was made possible thanks to Greg Cappelli and the Rotary Club. Along with that, the Ellicottville Memorial Library now has new games added to its collection. We cannot wait to see what EYWIC has in store for us next.