Get ac lue Board games are in

Low-tech games are mak­ing a come­back and with them, the ar­rival of board game cafés

Alberta Venture - - The Briefing -

>>> Whether you’re a ca­sual chess player or a Dun­geons and Dragons devo­tee, board game cafés cater to all ages and skill lev­els, and there is no short­age of them in Al­berta.

Ta­ble Top Café in Ed­mon­ton was the first to launch the trend in 2013 and has since opened a sec­ond lo­ca­tion in the city. So far, there are four board game cafés to choose from, with a fifth in the works: Boards N’ Brews will open down­town later this year.

Three hun­dred kilo­me­tres due south, Matt French, man­ager of Box Car Café, says his city was late to the trend, but has made up for it this year: Four board game cafés, in­clud­ing Box Car, opened in Cal­gary in 2016. “Most prov­inces al­ready had board game cafés, so peo­ple were aware of the con­cept and the idea,” French says. “That’s what made [Box Car] suc­cess­ful from the get-go.”

Box Car, which opened in March, charges cus­tomers $2.50 an hour to play their col­lec­tion of more than 300 games: from the clas­sics like Risk, to in­no­va­tive, mis­sion-fu­elled games like French’s cur­rent favourite, Pan­demic Le­gacy. Game mas­ters are at the ready to of­fer fur­ther ex­pla­na­tions on game play and strat­egy.

Although mil­lenials are ma­jor habitués, French sees cus­tomers age six to 98 play­ing the same games. “There are peo­ple who grew up play­ing the clas­sic games like Mo­nop­oly and Risk who feel a bit of nos­tal­gia,” he says. French sus­pects the down­turn econ­omy could have some­thing to do with board games’ ris­ing pop­u­lar­ity. “It’s a cheap al­ter­na­tive to other types of en­ter­tain­ment, it doesn’t dic­tate your time like a sports event, there are more games be­ing pub­lished and there is some­thing for ev­ery­one.”

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