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AWESOMENESS IS LOWELL

July 30, 2018

LOWELL -- A lot has changed in 40 years for “The Old Mill Town,” and with the updates comes a new board game.

Life-long Lowell resident David Ouellette, 57, is the creator of “Awesomeness Is Lowell,” a board game designed to promote the city and teach its history.

″(I was) just looking at a way to get the history out there and for children to understand the history and importance of it,” he said. “It also brings the families together. They can sit there at night and play the game.”

Forty years ago, Ouellette, was working on a similar project. As a high school student and young adult, Ouellette created “The Old Mill Town,” which went on to sell 2,500 copies.

Both games employ similar concepts. Players roll the dice to move around the game board, collect souvenirs and learn about Lowell space by space.

The earlier game focused on the city’s history and sites, but the new version also incorporates its downtown businesses.

“They’ll tell you to do stuff like go to the old Worthen,” said Ouellette, describing a stack of cards used in the game. “Go to the Owl Diner. Go to the Club Diner.”

Those mentions, which businesses paid to have included, helped fund the development and production of the game, which cost over $30,000 to make, according to Ouellette.

The game retails at $25 and eight percent of that goes toward Awesomeness Is, a company run by Ouellette and Kara Curley that raises awareness of food allergies.

Ouellette is president of the Coalition for a Better Acre and works as the health agent for the town of Dracut. He said his own shellfish allergy lands him in the hospital roughly every 18 months.

Ouellette hopes to use the eight percent -- a phonetic play on “ate” -- to fund a campaign to distribute free warning stickers designed to reduce miscommunication in restaurant kitchens.

He said the board game will also be used for other fundraisers, including to benefit the Lowell Kinetic Sculpture Race. The race, now in its third year, features prominently in the board game.

“We’re hopefully going to continue to be a staple of Lowell,” said race co-director Michael Roundy.

When he played the board game, Roundy said he and other players used the section based on the race several times.

However, Roundy didn’t win during his play through. The game’s designer had a similar experience.

“I have yet to actually be the winner of it,” Ouellette said.

The game is for sale at the Lowell National Park Visitor Center and a number of downtown businesses. It can be played by two to four players and children as young as eight.

Ouellette released the game three weeks ago, and he said the game has been selling well at this year’s Folk Festival.

“We probably already sold 180,” he said.

Follow Elizabeth Dobbins on Twitter @ElizDobbins

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