Are you game for this?

[GameHaus Cafe in Glendale, California.]

A few months ago, I wrote about the increasing popularity of bar trivia nights, as well as the growing trend of puzzly sister events like Puzzled Pint‘s bar puzzles.

As it turns out, coffee shops and cafes are also getting in on the action by putting their own spin on the perfect marriage of game-and-drink: the board game cafe.

[The Haunted Game Cafe in Fort Collins, Colorado]

Friend of the blog Peter Kanter pointed me toward a New York Times Sunday edition article covering a board game cafe with an impressive pedigree.

The Uncommons, billed as Manhattan’s first and only board game cafe, awaits puzzle and board game fans at 230 Thompson Street in New York City. Located at the former site of the Village Chess Shop, a New York gaming institution in its own right, The Uncommons charges a mere $5 fee to try out any of the games adorning the shop’s many shelves.

Everything from Mouse Trap to Settlers of Catan can be found there, including two favorites of mine that were apparently new to the author of the NYT article. (In an otherwise positive and enlightening article, she refers to Tsuro, a wonderful path-laying tile game, as “a complicated-looking setup,” and Qwirkle, a color-and-shape-matching game mixing elements of Uno and Mexican Train dominoes, as “abstract.”)

But The Uncommons is hardly the only board game cafe making a name for itself.

[Snakes and Lattes in Toronto, Ontario, Canada]

In addition to the cafes pictured in this post, the Spielbound Board Game Cafe in Omaha, Nebraska — which, much like The Uncommons, was partially crowdfunded by Kickstarter donations — is building a strong reputation as a Midwest bastion of family-friendly board game goodness.

Not only are board game cafes a terrific way to socialize with fellow puzzlers and board game aficionados, but you can try out a game before investing in your own copy. AND you can inject some revenue into a local business. It’s win-win-win.

Is there a board game cafe near you, fellow puzzlers? I’ve heard great things from a friend about one in the Winston-Salem area of North Carolina, and I’d love to hear more about the spots near you!

Seeing board games moving beyond the hobby shops and out into the social arenas of towns and cities is terrific, bringing us all one step closer to global puzzle-game domination.

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