FOR a pastime which is supposed to reward strategy and acumen, The Diary finds that playing board games tend to be a rather vicious activity.

At least, that was certainly the case the last time we had a no-holds-barred, high stakes Monopoly session round at Diary Mansions. It was all going swimmingly until Grandad Diary got a bit narked because he couldn't get his money-grabbing paws on Regent Street, tempers flared and the police had to be called.

As for Scrabble well, that's bound to end in a four-letter word or two, isn't it? So one can only hazard a guess as to the fun and frolics a York club for board-game buffs will be getting up to this weekend.

Beyond Monopoly! is a group of like-minded individuals who like nothing better than to get together for some modern game-playing action, and who will celebrate their third birthday in a couple of weeks.

As its name suggests, the group's games of choice tend to be a little more outlandish than a few pulsating rounds of Pictionary. In fact, brilliantly-named adventures such as Settlers Of Cacan, Carcassonne, Ticket To Ride, Mission Red Planet and Hey! That's My Fish! are more their staple diet.

Anyway, this weekend is a big one for the club, as not only will its members be holding their first monthly meeting of the year, but they will also be out in force at the Vapnartak wargames convention in the Knavesmire Stand, at York Racecourse, which will see traders from around the UK hosting gaming displays and competitions.

"We think of ourselves as York's friendliest board game club and we get loads of people from all over Yorkshire," said Beyond Monopoly!'s Jon Power.

"Board games have changed enormously since Miss Scarlet first raised a candlestick in Cluedo, and people who come to our meetings can join in with more than 30 gamers and we'll show you modern games like Diamant, Streetsoccer, Niagara and loads more."

If all this whets your gaming appetite, Beyond Monopoly! meets between 10am and 6pm this Saturday at the Railway Institute, in York, and your first day with the club is free. It's open to adults and families, but is not suitable for children under eight. More details are available by emailing or checking the group's website at Meanwhile, for more information about Sunday's Vapnartak activity at the racecourse, log on to It runs from 10am to 4pm with admission £4 for adults, £2 for 12 to 17 year olds while under-12s get in free.

One question, though: will there be the opportunity for The Diary to show its prowess at Kerplunk? We could have been a contender, you know.