Game puts town on the board

Diana Yeager/NNSL photo Hay Riveropoly committee members Steve Anderson, left, Anne Peters, Kandis Jameson, Joe Melanson and Dayna King try out the new board game created by the Hay River Chamber of Commerce.

Diana Yeager/NNSL photo
Hay Riveropoly committee members Steve Anderson, left, Anne Peters, Kandis Jameson, Joe Melanson and Dayna King try out the new board game created by the Hay River Chamber of Commerce.

It’s time to bring back the tradition of family game night, now that Hay River has its own board game.

Hay Riveropoly is the result of a year of hard work by the Shop Local Committee of the Hay River Chamber of Commerce.

Dayna King, the chair of the committee, said the new board game is its way of raising funds.

“We had no money for the committee to do public projects, and we needed an idea for fundraising,” she said, explaining the idea for the board game came from Amanda Leas, a former executive assistant with the chamber. “We loved it, so we ran with it. We thought it would be the funnest thing in the world, so we just jumped on board. It’s also a great piece of local history in Hay River, like a snapshot of Hay River right at this moment in time.”

Hay Riveropoly is a board game very much like Monopoly, except every aspect of the game as been adapted to local businesses and locations. The tokens for the game include a DC3, an inukshuk, the Northern Transportation Company Ltd. vessel Kakisa, a D6 Caterpillar, a Ford F-150 truck and a tipi.

Each spot around the game represents a local business or service, and there are cards that send players to different town landmarks on the board.

“We wanted to show a variety of the groups in town,” said committee member Joe Melanson. “As things change over time, it will be a memoir of days gone by.”

King did the design work on the board, and sent the final product to a company in the United States that specializes in manufacturing custom items. There are 750 copies of the game, 130 of which had been sold as of late last week.

“I’m hoping everyone in town will buy one,” said King. “They’re so cool.”

Anne Peters, executive assistant at the chamber, noted they are popular with people who have left the community.

“I’ve been hearing from people whose families have moved south, saying the game will make a great gift because all of Hay River is laid out here,” said Peters.

Hay Riveropoly just arrived in its completed form and already it is a collector’s item, with the old Kingland Ford logo on one of the board spaces.

“Kingland was one of the first companies we went to for support,” said King. “I actually love that it’s on the board. I think it’s such a huge part of Hay River history.”

The committee all agreed that to see the game arrive after all their hard work was an exciting time.

“I think I cried, I was so excited,” said King. “It was very emotional to see all of our hard work pay off.”

Hay Riveropoly kicked off its official sales at the Hay River Chamber of Commerce gala on April 8, with a massive version of the board game on which people could actually walk while they played.

Each of the regular-sized games will be available at participating stores. All proceeds will go toward the Shop Local Committee of the Hay River Chamber of Commerce.

“Our goal is to promote our local businesses,” said King. “We want to educate the public on the importance of supporting our local economy. It’s so important in a small town.”