What Is a Board Game Cafe? (+Reasons to Love Them)


I was talking with my extended family about a board game cafe that I recently went to. Since they didn’t know what one was, they were intrigued and interested to hear about it. I realized then that not everyone knows what a board game cafe is, or what they can expect at one, so I wanted to write about it.

So, what is a board game cafe? A board game cafe is an environment and space where people can go to play a variety of board games. Most board game cafes offer snacks and beverages as well.

But what’s so great about that? Read on to find out what characteristics make a board game cafe so unique, and why you should consider going to one on your next family or date night out. 

The Atmosphere of a Board Game Cafe

I absolutely love going to board game cafes. One of the things that makes them so magical is the atmosphere. 

It’s one of the few places in the world where you can go and you don’t see people glued to their cell phones. They’re gloriously free of TVs as well. 

Instead of looking at a screen, people are hunched over tables laughing and talking together while they enjoy their journey through a board game. Or, they’re looking through the extensive and diverse board game collection they have to choose from.

Staff members are explaining games to their customers, or bringing them snacks to enjoy. The whole place is buzzing with vibrant life and color. 

Families and friends are creating a shared experience together, becoming closer in the process.

I also love that literally anyone can go to (and enjoy) a board game cafe. You don’t have to be a certain age or have played a certain number of board games in order to go. 

It’s a great atmosphere for everyone. There’s something beautiful about a group of people coming together over board games who wouldn’t normally. 

Games You Can Expect to Find

Another thing that makes board game cafes so unique is the carefully curated and selected board game libraries.

Every board game cafe offers a different variety and selection of board games, but the biggest takeaway and thing to know is that there’s a board game for everyone. The wide selection of board games offered at board game cafes make it easy to find a game that you will love.

The best part is that if you’re overwhelmed by all of the great options, or if you haven’t heard of some of them, the staff members willingly help you pick out a game for your group. They ask questions that help them understand what game might be a good fit for the group, and they’ll even bring you a few options to your table to explain so you can pick one.  

It’s worth mentioning that if you have your hopes on playing a specific board game at a cafe you’re planning to go to, I recommend calling ahead to make sure they have it. 

Board Game Cafe Locations

With the popularity of board games growing, you can now expect to find (at least) one board game cafe in every major city in the US. Notice that I said major cities. Smaller cities and small towns typically don’t have them. A cafe like this is more likely to exist in a more urban area versus a rural one. 

Board game cafes exist and thrive in many other countries as well. I had a blast going to one in Guadalajara, Mexico, and my sisters loved going to one during a visit to Denmark!

(Me at a board game cafe in Mexico.)

Cost of Going to a Board Game Cafe

Most board game cafes charge a fee of around $5 per person to have access to the board game collection they offer. 

And, if you’re planning to buy snacks and drinks while you’re there, then you can expect that cost as well. (I’ve found that most snacks at board game cafes are pretty overpriced, so if you’re on a tight budget, it might be a good idea to arrive with a full stomach.) 

With snacks and drinks, a normal visit for an individual usually winds up costing about $18. Some board game cafes also have house rules that you should consider that affect cost.

For example, this one in Chicago has a $10 food and drink minimum if you stay over an hour, and after 3 hours, another 5$ minimum for each per additional hour. If you want to plan for the cost ahead of going to a cafe, you can always look up their menu online. 

Some board game cafes in Europe have certain types of games that are free to play, memberships, and daily rates. Take a look at the picture below that my sister took at a game cafe in Copenhagen, Denmark. 

Reasons Why People Love Board Game Cafes

There are so many reasons why people love going to board game cafes. I’ve listed a few of the reasons why people might choose to go to a board game cafe below. 

  1. Board games are normally expensive. Going to a board game cafe is a great way to try out and play board games you might have your eyes on.
  2. The staff members are available to help you pick out a board game to play. This means you have a great opportunity to play something new. 
  3. You don’t have to watch a Youtube video, or read a rule book to learn how to play a board game at a cafe. The board game experts that work at these cafes will walk you through everything from set up to how player turns work. And they’re also available if you have any questions mid-game. 
  4. You get to spend quality time with people you love away from the screen in an amazing environment. 
  5. You get to choose from a variety of fun snacks and drinks, and can stay focused on the game you’re playing while they’re brought to you. 

All in all, going to a board game cafe is a fun experience, and I recommend that you try going to one on your next night out. 

Conclusion

A board game cafe is a place where so many different types of people gather to share experiences over a variety of board games. There’s often drinks and snacks involved. There are so many reasons to love board game cafes! What’s not to love?

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