Burgers & Boardgames – What Do Dining and Gaming Have in Common?

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Emerald Tavern Game Cafe Austin TX
Emerald Tavern Game Cafe in Austin, TX

It looks like the world at large is catching on to what we’ve all known for years. Games are fun. And places you can go to play games are fun places.

Aside from our go-to places to play games with friends and strangers, such as libraries, hobby game stores, and our friend’s house for game night, there is a new growing trend with Game Cafes. Take the coffee shop idea and add board and card games to the mix and you get a place you can meet friends for a sandwich or cup of joe AND a game of Castle Panic. And you don’t even have to bring your own copy.

The Atlantic recently shared an article about the spread of Board Game Cafes around the world and spoke to the possible reason for their growing popularity: “the rapid proliferation speaks to something deeper: the need to connect with people in a public/private space, the need to have a meaningful interaction that doesn’t use emoticons, and perhaps the need, in an increasingly complex world, to work with friends and family toward a clear goal.”

Fireside’s CEO, Anne-Marie, was just discussing this same topic (why board games are drawing in new fans) on her podcast interview with The Gaming Careers‘s resident interviewer Steven Ruduski. She cited smartphones as a possible trigger for the recent increase in board game popularity.

“I actually think it’s because of smartphones. People are turned back on to gaming again because games are so easy to find and play on their phones and it has kind of really reminded people of how fun games are to play. I think the nice thing about table top games is they are significantly more social than playing an app on your phone. So I think that has really reminded adults that you don’t have to be a kid to enjoy games.”

Ruduski seconds that sentiment saying, “It’s that social aspect.” He goes on to explain that he is a big RPG fan, but as an adult it is hard to get a group of friends together who have 12 hours for a campaign. “But a board game, you capture a lot of that same social interaction with predefined times, a time packet of 40 minutes, 90 minutes, and then you get to go home.”

The idea that modern tech has spurred a resurgence in good old-fashioned hanging out is echoed by Devon Trevelyan in a recent article by The Daily Free Press. “Online gaming has taken such a turn, [to the point] where you can communicate with people across the world. I like that, but I think there is a real quality about face-to-face interaction and laughing with your friends when they’re in your presence.”

Trevelyan runs Knight Moves, a gaming cafe in Boston, MA, that champions the casual, comfortable feel of European cafes and strives to pair it with the social community that gaming imparts.

What do you think? Is there is a connectedness people have been missing with all the tech in their lives? Do boardgames help fill that need?

We’d love to hear about game cafes in your neighborhood! Tell us your favorite place to hang out and play games in the comments below.

Sources:

How Board Games Conquered Cafes” by Hana Schank for The Atlantic.

“Boston Restaurants Offer Diverse Culinary Experiences” by Heather Goldin & Ayush Kumar for The Daily Free Press.

The Gaming Careers podcast with Anne-Marie over at thecompanybard.com.