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LET THE GAMES BEGIN!

Like board games? What could be better than having a pint with your pastime?

They act out words like jackhammer, fleas and doughnut.

They find comparisons to words like haunting, desperate and squeaky clean.

In between, they sip on pints of IPA, bottles of Beck's and glasses of house red.

Welcome to board game night at Old Northeast Tavern.

St. Pete Beers 'n Board Games for Young Professionals meets at the neighborhood bar every Tuesday to play Guesstures, Apples to Apples and other party games.

It's a friendly bunch that gets together to socialize, play games and drink beer.

"What else are you going to do on a Tuesday at 7 o'clock?'' said Jeff Green, 36, who comes with his wife, Diana, and lives within walking distance of the pub.

Tara Bess, 28, created the group in November to expand her social circle. After living in St. Pete for a year, she realized her only friends were through work.

She chose board games because who didn't play Candy Land, Sorry and Monopoly as a kid?

"Everybody has that connection to board games,'' she said. "It's something people can relate to.''

The game nights attract 15 to 25 people who fill the back room of the tavern. Bess brings the games; the group picks whatever they want to play, from Taboo to Scattergories to Bubble Talk. Gamers typically break into two big parties. No one-on-one competitions here. It's about bonding as a group.

"We're not in it to win the game,'' Bess said. "We're about meeting people and having a good time.''

Most find it through Meetup.com or word of mouth. Newbies come each week. Occasionally, they meet outside of game nights for other activities, including a June 4 canopy tree climb in St. Pete. At least once, members have found romance.

A recent transplant from New Hampshire, John Day, 31, liked the idea of getting out and meeting people. He didn't know a lot about board games but knew enough about beer.

St. Pete Beers 'n Board Games meets at 6:45 p.m. Tuesdays at Old Northeast Tavern, 201 Seventh Ave N, St. Pete. Once a month they have a Thursday bonus night at a different location. Go to meetup.com/St-Pete-Beers-n-Board-Games.

- sthurston@tampabay.com

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