Have You Ever Visited a Board Game Cafe?

Last week I wrote about my first cat cafe experience. Then the next day I went to an entirely different kind of cafe: a board game cafe.

Board game cafes–places where you can get all the regular fixins’ of a cafe or bar alongside the main feature, board games–have been around for a while, but St. Louis hasn’t had one. Until now.

A few months ago, Pieces successfully funded on Kickstarter. They found a fantastic location in Soulard right next to the farmers market, and they just opened a few weeks ago.

I showed up with a group of people on Friday night a few minutes after 6:00. There were a lot of people already there, but not so many that we had to wait for a table.

I have to say: From the minute I walked in, it was a pretty magical experience. It’s one of those things where it’s not one element or another: It’s the sum of the parts. Here are a few of those parts:

  • The food and drinks are quite good. There’s a full array of big and little dishes for vegetarians and meat eaters, as well as alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. I had the lumpia, a hot chocolate, and a very manly drink called Candy Land.
  • Over the course of the several hours we were there, no less than 5 staff members had meaningful interactions with us. Some stopped by to take orders or say hi while others recommended some games to us and offered to teach them. They were so warm and welcoming. As someone in the game industry, that’s a big deal, because they’re providing the best possible gateway for non-gamers to become gamers.
  • There were so many people at Pieces on Friday. It was packed. Yet the floorplan and high ceilings are designed so the crowds never felt overwhelming. I loved scanning the room and seeing such a broad array of games being played–long games, short games, complex games, simple games, large-group games, 2-player games, etc.

I’m really proud that a place like this exists in St. Louis, and I hope you get the chance to try it.

Have you ever been to a board game cafe?