A game that’s serious about LGBTQ+ community, relationships: Mass Effect (Review)

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I often tell people I was born with an Atari 2600 controller in my hand. One of my earliest memories was my parents showing off the Atari at my grandparents’ house to my aunts and uncles. Games of Berzerk, Missile Command, and Space Invaders lasted long into the night. My sister was nearly born at home, because dad just needed to get one more game of Space Invaders in. Gaming, while I was growing up in the ’80s and ’90s, was a very male space. Hardly any games featured women…

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Wingspan: progressive, educational, fun and beautiful

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Wingspan is one of my favorite board games, for almost more reasons than I can mention. This is a game that puts you in the role of a bird enthusiast who is trying to obtain the bird food you need to attract birds to their appropriate habitats. Wingspan helped raise money to fight the Australian wildfires. That’s actually how I learned it was available, after seeing it only on back order for months. For everyone who signed up to receive notice of Wingspan’s “early release” second expansion, called Oceania, Stonemaier Games donated $1…

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Cedar Rapids Roller Girls aim to support Tanager Place’s LGBTQ Center with Feb. 28 ball

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The team will donate a portion of its proceeds from its 2nd Annual Black & Blue Ball Feb. 28 to the center, which serves about 400 teens a year and aims to serve even more. CEDAR RAPIDS — Two years ago, the Cedar Rapids Roller Girls cancelled an entire season because they were so direly in need of rebuilding their team and organization. What a difference it made: today, the Roller Girls are back up to full-squad strength and have 25 regular participants. And, they’re hosting their second annual Black…

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LGBTQ sports leagues thrive in Des Moines, Iowa City

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Two LGBTQ-identified sports leagues are increasing their presence in central and eastern Iowa, each in their own ways. In central Iowa, the Pride Sports League is seeking to grow this year beyond its outreach of about 900 recreational players in about a half-dozen sports annually, says board chair Tyler Pettit. The League is seeking to reach more deeply into Ames and the Cedar Valley area. The Iowa City-based Lambda Softball Association (LSA) aims to expand into eastern Iowa communities such as Fairfield, Washington, Cedar Rapids and the Quad Cities for…

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Roller Derby Lags on Trans, Nonbinary Inclusiveness

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The first-ever gender policy for the organization that helps roller derby grow worldwide came out in 2011. It was clinical, and harsh. If you were not assigned female at birth, the policy said, a healthcare provider had to verify that your “sex hormones are within the medically acceptable range for a female.” Ouch. My most recent article about my love for roller derby described the significance of the sport in terms of feminist empowerment and gender inclusivity. This time, I am writing to share that as much as roller derby…

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Board games offer lessons of life, inclusiveness

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Walking into the game room of Mayhem Collectibles, in Clive, can be a surreal experience. There are people sitting at tables throughout the room playing games of all kinds. Games about building the best suburb, games about discovering underwater kingdoms, even games about lying to your friends face to sneak contraband past the Sheriff of Nottingham. This is one of my favorite places, for the same reason as so many others: it’s relaxing and fun. “I have major social anxieties when it comes to interacting with strangers … But gaming…

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Axe-throwing, inspired by Canada, takes off in Iowa

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One to three pounds of wood and sharpened metal. Lift it slowly behind your head, take a step forward, and thwak. The axe is buried in the wooden target, and cheers sound from behind you. Welcome to axe throwing, a new recreational sport steadily growing in popularity since about 2013. That’s when a young entrepreneur kicked off a franchise in Philadelphia after enjoying the sport in Canada, reports NBC News. “It’s more fun and engaging than darts or bowling,” says Nick Collins, owner of Hatchet Jack’s in Iowa City, which…

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Sports league seeks support

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    A sand volleyball tournament July 14, and a joint softball tournament with the Des Moines LGBTQ league in August, are the latest ventures for the Eastern Iowa Lambda Softball Association.    League founder Jose Maldonado is seeking at least 10 teams (six to seven players each) to join the volleyball tournament at Dovetail Recreation Area in Coralville and help raise money for the league, which now has more than 50 regular players who participate in softball, kickball and indoor volleyball.     Each team would play at least…

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