In case it is not made abundantly clear by the fact that I spend my free time playing and writing about them, allow me to make a disclaimer: I love board games. I love playing them, I love analyzing them, and I love introducing people to them. I especially love that last bit: bringing someone new into the fold like a shepherd guides his sheep or a crack dealer slowly addicts his new customer to the cheap stuff and then, wham, hits him with the really expensive but oh-so-delicious “good” stuff, forcing him to give up his once cushy way of life. And he’ll turn to the illegal sale of his bodily organs to feed his crushing habit… except with board gaming it’s a good thing? Last week I had the good fortune to sit down with another person, Albert Smedley (who I really hope someday comes up with a rock band called Smedley’s Medleys) who also really enjoys board games and bringing board games to new people; so much so that he’s decided to start a business dedicated to providing that ever-elusive “Game Spot,” a perfect place where you can hang out, play board games, and eat food without feeling like you are a squatter in someone’s living room or getting weird looks from the hipsters in coffee shops who never expected you to know that game even existed.
Tables BGS will fill that niche that you may have seen popping up lately: board game cafes. They are all the rage now, but Albert Smorgasboard was quick to point out that his is a more unique establishment, as they won’t just be a café, he assures me, but also a bar with local craft beers and cocktails, a restaurant with a full menu all of which will be served deconstructed on kebabs (or sticks, for the unsophisticated out there), and a coffee shop that will serve locally sourced coffee and baked goods. I really appreciate the numerous times I had to write the word “local” in that description.
Because at the end of the day, this will still be a “board game place” that will have to compete with the other “board game places” and the thing that will really separate his from the others will have to be his willingness to engage the community. And from what I saw he intends to do just that. I met with Albert at one of Tables BGS’s free events that they are currently doing whilst in the middle of opening their actual location in (location redacted). It was at a local bar called Bad Beat Brewing. We sat down and started playing a game of Red Dragon Inn to keep with the theme. Every so often a new patron would walk in and eye the large stack of games Albert had brought with him to introduce. As soon as he saw that, his cards were down on the table and he was talking with the newcomers, introducing himself and the board game night, offering his assistance, and all together just being a really nice guy. It’s that kind of attention to the customer and gamer that will be the key to a successful business. But it’s also crucial that attention is not forced or contrived, and it is not when it comes to Albert.
Another interesting addition to his business is what Albert calls “board game catering.” Employers nowadays have learned the importance of employee happiness and are always on the lookout for the next company party or team building exercise. Albert offers access to their library of over 1000 games as well as Game Experts to assist in teaching the games. Which is really quite smart, because playing board games would teach and build many skills that can be used in the workplace such as communication, problem solving, and risk management. The More You Know.
Albert says the plan is to open late 2016 in an as of yet unrevealed location in the southeast Las Vegas valley area and, though they currently have all the funds required to open the business, they will be launching a Kickstarter in the near future in an attempt to add new features and to bring even more games to their extensive library. Stay tuned for more info on that.
All in all, it makes me incredibly pleased to see board gaming being incorporated more and more into larger amounts of popular culture, whether it’s seeing the joys of DnD in Stranger Things or the successful integration of board games into existing businesses. I look forward to watching board games become increasingly more mainstream as I sip my hipster coffee from my “Band You Haven’t Heard Of” mug, and cannot wait to see what Tables Board Game Spot will bring to the… slab of wood on four legs.
For more information about Tables Board Game Spot, check out their website here. Do you like slabs of wood on four legs? Like our Facebook page! Which hipster band have I not heard of? Let me know on Twitter! And if you would like to help shape the content of 2 To 4 Players, especially what games we review, check out our Patreon page to see how you can get involved!