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Return of the Board Game

January, 2017

Some are calling it a fad, while others like to think of it as more of a resurgence. Whatever you want to call it, board game cafes are popping up all over the region. Edmonton has seen over half-a-dozen cafes open up in the last five years, and St. Albert’s own Mission: Fun and Games has enjoyed a steady growth since they opened their doors in 1990. If you haven’t visited one of these game centres, you might be wondering what all of the fuss is about. After all, how many of us have a dusty copy of monopoly in the back of our closets that hasn’t been touched in years? Here are a few things you might be interested to know about the modern board game scene before you make your way down to a cafe yourself.

All Ages

It’s tempting to think of board games as a pastime for children since childhood is the last time most of us played them. While board game cafes do have the child friendly games like Monopoly, Life, and Sorry that you’ll remember from your own childhood, they also offer a lot of adult-focused games. These games often demand a higher level of strategy or reasoning than your average game of backgammon, and many explore darker themes that you might want to keep your kids away from until they’re old enough.

The Price is Right

Board games can be expensive, and the more interesting they are, the higher the price typically gets. Rather than spending 80 dollars to try out a new game that you might not end up playing very often, board game cafes allow you to sample a huge library of games for a small fee. Some cafes will charge you by the hour, but others, like Mission: Fun and Games and Tabletop Cafe allow you up to a whole day of play for a flat five-dollar fee. But if you’re still eager to keep playing after closing time, you can always spend that 80 dollars on your way out and take home a copy of the game that you’ve grown to love.

They’re Real Cafes

As the name suggests, board game cafes offer food and drinks to rival those rainy-day snacks that we enjoyed alongside our board games as kids. Most of the cafes in the region are fully licensed and have full kitchens as well, so whether you want to pair your board game with a sandwich, a coffee or even a beer, you can have someone bring it right to your table without worrying about interrupting your game. Perfect for those hours-long games of Risk.

Working Together

 Nothing is worse than having to sit through a slow and crushing Monopoly defeat, and countless Scrabble arguments have arisen over proper spellings and definitions. If these kinds of silly conflicts turn you away from the whole idea of board games, you might be interested to know that many modern board games are cooperative instead of competitive. You and your group might have to work together to save the world from a zombie horde, or maybe navigate your way through an Indiana Jones-style lost temple. Make no mistake though, cooperative games are often no easier than their traditional competitive counterparts. But at least if you lose, you’ll lose as a team.

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