board game cafe

Warhammer 40k is the biggest tabletop miniatures game out there right now, and they have lots of events, a large community, and even a convention or two.  But soon there will be something new, soon it will be sporting it’s own dedicated cafe here in North America.  That’s right, Games Workshop will be opening up a Warhammer Cafe in order to act as a hub for the game on this side of the ocean.  Of course with any hub they will hold lots of events, special guests will make appearances, and even a series of displays of unique Citadels miniatures will be constructed.  But that’s not all, this cafe will also include lots of good food and drink, painting space and supplies, and tons of playing area so you can play your game while drinking a good cup of coffee.  You can read more (although very little has been released) on the Warhammer Community page, and be on the lookout for more information as they release it in the future.

Nashville finally got it’s first board game cafe, now officially called the Game Point Cafe.  This past week it had it’s grand opening and so is now available for people to stop by, have some food and drink, and play some great games.  This cafe was the brain child of Rick, founder of Tennessee Game Days, and Bob, founder of the coffee shop chain Bongo Java, when they got together and realized their shared desire for a board game cafe.  Rick provided the games, boasting a library of 300 curated games, and Bob created the space with a coffeehouse in east Nashville, and now their dream has become a reality.  As with other cafes you can eat there, play there, and even learn there as there will be staff on hand to help teach you new games.  So if you are in the area you should stop by.  You can find out more information by reading the press release below, or visiting the cafe’s website.

GAME POINT CAFÉ: Nashville’s First Board Game Cafe

Nashville’s first Board Game Café will open Thursday, October, 26 in East Nashville.  Game Point Café is a place for people to unplug and connect while playing board games. The café has a carefully curated library of more than 300 classic, family, party, strategic and modern games for people to play and a menu of sandwiches, salads, beer, wine and of course coffee. Game Coaches will be on hand to teach you games. The games can be used for free. The Game Point(ers) includes a suggested food & drink minimum purchase of $10. Game Point Café is the collaboration between the creator of Nashville’s largest board game convention and the founder of the city’s oldest coffeehouse.

Over 12 years ago, Rick Keuler turned a life-long interest in board games into a 3-day annual board game convention, now with more than 700 attendees (Tennessee Game Days). He is an attorney and a stay-at-home dad of three and has been in Nashville since 2004 when they relocated for his wife’s surgery residency at Vanderbilt.

Bob Bernstein created Bongo Java in 1993. His restaurant group has since grown to include six other establishments (Fido, Fenwick’s 300, BOX, Bongo East, Fetch and Grins Vegetarian Café) plus a wholesale coffee roasting and wholesale bakery. Bob played classic games as a kid, backgammon and poker for meal money in college and modern games as a father of two. Rick and Bob had separately thought about opening a board game café for years. The reality came together when the board game guy met the café owner at the game convention earlier this year. Rick curated the 300+ game library. Bob founded the café. And together they created Game Point Café. Game Point Café shares space at Bongo East, which opened in Five Points East Nashville in 2000. The café has been closed at night. The addition of Board Games creates more of a reason for people to come at night.

Board game cafes are popping up everywhere, which makes sense with the board game industry booming like it is.  But what makes the Meeple Mountain Board Game Cafe noteworthy?  Well it will be the only cafe within 200 miles of the city of Nashville.  Nashville is called the Athens of the South and will soon be boasting a population of 2 million, so there are lots of potential cafe goers.  The current plan is for the cafe to open in late 2017/early 2018 and will have “cafe and retail space, room for private event bookings, frequent public events, and more“.  This is an exciting thing for Nashville board gamers, and hopefully a continuing trend of cafes opening up around the country.  You can read more about the cafe on the Meeple Mountain website.

Image from The Guardian

Image from The Guardian

All of us here love board games, and Tom and the gang does a great job of getting information out there, but why is the industry booming like it is?  The folks over at The Guardian were wondering the same thing so they started where it made sense, a board game cafe in Oxford called the Thirsty Meeple.  They do a pretty good job of reviewing a lot of the leaps and bounds board games have made over the years from expanding cooperative games to taking steps to be more inclusive.  The article is capped off with a short biography on Matt Leacock, designer of games like Pandemic Legacy and Forbidden Desert, and some solid game recommendations.  It’s an excellent read and they paint the board game industry in a good light, I highly recommend giving the article a look on The Guardian’s website.

ludorati cafe

Board game cafes are becoming more and more popular, so it’s always exciting to hear of new ones opening up, especially if it’s in your area. If you live around Nottingham, a new premier board game cafe, Ludorati Cafe, just opened on March 19th. We posted about the cafe earlier this year when it was running its Kickstarter, but now that it’s open, you can see more about what it offers.

The library has over 750 games, and there is a dedicated room for VIP treatment. The cafe will serve food, specialty coffee, craft beer, wine, and even milkshakes! The pricing model accommodates people who don’t have all day to spend at the cafe – to access the game area, you can choose to pay an hourly rate or get a day pass.

See the press release below to learn more:

LUDORATI CAFE is Nottingham’s premier board game café bar which opened on 19th March 2016. The Café is located in the city centre close to the Castle – 72 Maid Marian Way.

The Cafe is designed to be a place for gamers and non-gamers to “Relax, Play, Enjoy”. We feature:

  • A general café area with wifi, featuring introductory games like chess, draughts and Uno.
  • A dedicated boardgame area with bespoke tables and chairs (seating up to 60) for hours of fun
  • A large library containing over 750 games housed in ‘The Wall’ – one of the largest collections in the world in any one store, there’s a game for everyone, with many genres catered for, from traditional ones (e.g. ‘Monopoly’) to the more recent ‘designer’ games (e.g. Catan etc.)
  • ‘The Cube’ – a dedicated room to host, for example, role playing games, or just simply VIP treatment for 6-8 boardgamers
  • Our resident boardgame experts on hand for support with game choice and/or help/advice
  • Opening times are from 08:00 to 23.30, Monday to Friday; 10.00 to midnight on Saturday and 10.00 to 23.30 on Sunday.
  • Those accessing our gaming area can choose between an hourly rate of 1.60 per person reduced to £5 for 4 hours or a day pass of £10.00 per person. There is no cover charge to come in and enjoy the general cafe area for refreshments.
  • LUDORATI CAFE offers the finest in locally roasted coffee and offers an outstanding food menu with paninis, wraps, sandwiches, salads, pastries, cakes etc (with gluten-free options).
  • Alongside our ‘Ludo-Lattes’, ‘Ludoccinos’, ‘Ludo-espressos’, and our speciality ‘Ludo-shakes’ there’s also a carefully selected list of craft beer and wine, milkshakes, smoothies and other soft drinks. All served by experienced, professional Baristas.
  • Ludorati has an in-house retail store which stocks the latest releases alongside old and new favourites. Visitors can also access our store on-line (or via kiosk in-store) which stocks thousands of available games. Owners of the LUDORATI membership-loyalty card can benefit from their respective discount with any purchases made, and have an option to ‘click and collect’ in-store alongside the normal delivery options.

online athes

Board game cafes are awesome, like the Board and Brew in Maryland and the well known Snakes and Lattes in Toronto, you can drop in, have some coffee and a sandwich and play some great games.  But even though more and more are opening, they are still something of a rarity and thus can be hard to find.  So Tim and Carrie Kelly decided to rectify that in their area by opening the Rook and Pawn in downtown Athens, Georgia.  Their aim is to have a board game cafe where,

“people would feel comfortable coming in to play Life, but the people that know Castles of Mad King Ludwig — these really in-depth games — they would feel really comfortable too, and these two groups could sit down next to each other and have an equally great time.”

The Rook and Pawn boasts a 600 game library on a wall that requires a ladder to get to the top.  Head over to the article posted on Online Athens to read more about the cafe.  And if you happen to be in area, why not drop by?

Update: I had incorrectly stated the cafe was in Athens, Greece when it is in Athens, Georgia

boardgame cafe inside

Cleveland’s first board gaming cafe has opened – Tabletop Board Game Cafe. The cafe will have over 1,000 board games (see their list of games on their website), weekly trivia nights, and a maker station where customers can tinker or attend their DIY instructional workshops. They will also have a full service menu, including coffee and beer.

The cafe is open from 11 am to 11 pm (till 1 am on Friday and Saturday nights), and customers can have unlimited all-day access to board games for a $5 cover charge (free if a weekday before 3 pm). Shiva and Brady Risner created a Kickstarter last year detailing all of their ideas for the cafe, and it looks like they’ve succeeded, for they opened on Friday, June 26.

For more information, check out their website or Facebook page, or check out these photos and video tour from


aztec web

A new board game cafe will be opening in Monrovia, California in August of 2015. It will be located at the Landmark Aztec Hotel & Coffee Shop on Route 66. The shop will have a large selection of games, snacks, drinks, and parking. Their press release follows:

Aztec Coffee and Games will be San Gabriel Valley’s first board gaming café. We’ve targeted August 2015 to be up and running.

We’ve created Aztec Coffee & Games to fill a simple need: to have a well-lit and friendly environment to play board games featuring delicious coffee and snacks. We plan to have comfortable chairs, clean bathrooms, and plenty of table space for board gaming with friends and family.

Continental breakfast begins at 7 am featuring specialty baked goods from a local pastry shop, fresh fruit, and of course our amazing tea and coffee drinks. Other snacks and sandwiches will continue to be available throughout the day.

Finding your new favorite game will be easier than ever, guided by our experienced and knowledgeable staff. Our Board Game Library includes new and classic titles. Access to the Board Game Library will have a fee of $5 per player per day.

We are located at the famous Aztec Hotel and coffee shop, which was built in 1925 in the Mayan Revival style and is a notable historic landmark along America’s iconic Route 66.

To learn more about Aztec Coffee & Games, check out their website here.

Board Game Cafes are becoming more and more popular, and evidence of this can be seen in Victory Point Cafe, which plans to open for business in the early to mid-summer of 2015.

The founders of Victory Point Cafe, Derek DeSantis and Areg Maghakian, plan to open their new cafe with a library of at least 500 games, accessible to their customers for a flat fee of $5 per day.  In addition to a large selection of games, patrons of Victory Point Cafe will be able to purchase locally-brewed coffee, beer, and snacks to accompany their hours of gaming.  They also have plans to hire a “game-guru” to teach games to customers.

DeSantis and Maghakian originally had individual plans to open board game cafes, but after researching and planning, they decided upon this joint venture.  After visiting other board game cafes, namely Snakes and Lattes in Toronto, Maghakian “fell in love with the concept.  It was bringing in so many different people, not just people who are considered hobby board gamers, but people all across the spectrum.”

Victory Point Cafe’s goal is to provide a “nice, friendly, open atmosphere that is accessible to everyone and anyone” in a neighborhood cafe setting.  It also is coordinating its efforts with local game stores to grow the gaming hobby in the local community.

For more information about Victory Point Cafe and plans for its summer grand opening, visit the full article here.

board game cafe nob hill

The Board Game Cafe model continues to expand. The latest addition is the ‘Empire Board Game Library” soon to open in the Nob Hill neighborhood of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Rory Veronda, who has previous experience with night clubs, intends to open the establishment with a library of about 600 board games as well as coffee, soda and snack offerings. Game players will need to purchase a “game pass” in order to secure playing time at the tables. He has gone so far as to hire an architect to complete the design of the soon-to-be renovated building. Veronda hopes to be open for business by May of this year.

Interest in the Cafe seems to be high, as the story is being covered in the Albuquerque News Journal, Albuquerque Business First, and KRQE News 13. None of these news organizations appear familiar with modern board games (or at least are assuming their viewers aren’t), which hopefully will change when the store opens and they can get their cameras inside.

KRQE News coverage and their interviews of “people on the street” paints an interesting picture. Since the store isn’t open yet, the crew is left to its own devices…panning across classic board games like Scrabble and Dominoes in a completely different store, and ruminating over a mysterious game piece pictured in the new store’s window (its a Carcasonne meeple).

If you live near Nob Hill, or just want to follow the evolving board game cafe scene, keep a look out for the Empire Board Game Library.