Board game cafés set to open in Calgary


Vancouver is the site of several innovative board game themed restaurants. However, a growing interest in those games has caused several restaurants to make an appearance in Calgary – and gamers seem keen about that idea.

Darryl Boone, manager of Pizzeria Ludica in Vancouver, established his own board game restaurant in January 2014. Offering a selection of over 700 board games, his pizzeria aims to dispel the typical geeky stereotypes surrounding the genre.

“To me, board games are just a medium like books or movies, and there are movies for everybody. It all depends really, on how the community sees gaming.”

Pizzeria Lucida isn’t the only Vancouver site that appeals to gamers.

Stormcrow Tavern is also known for its incorporation of gaming and dining.

Allowing gamers, sci-fi fans and fantasy fanatics alike to get together and chow down while enjoying board games, Stormcrow Tavern is extremely popular. Customer reviews on Trip Advisor have described the restaurant as a “fandom heaven” with “a great nerdy atmosphere and great menu”

Owner Jason Kapalka feels that a rising interest in board gaming has helped the success of his gamer focused restaurant.

“Board games are definitely a thing that’s having a bit of a Renaissance,” Kapalka says. “Making a public space where you can play games and do that while eating and drinking, it seems like something the public is certainly ready for.”

And it would appear that the installment of a place such as Metal Galaxy – or Pips Board Game Café that recently opened in Calgary’s Marda Loop – is already gaining fans.

Local gamer Lucas Boyce visited PiPS café shortly after it opened.

“It was right packed with people of all ages. After playing some games, I had a coffee and sat and laughed with the employees about their favorite games. I was pleasantly surprised”.

Metal Galaxy is another Calgary based gaming store that specializes in social gaming, board games and trading card games such as Magic: The Gathering.

boardgame11Magic: The Gathering tournaments are a common gaming event in Calgary. The installment of board game cafés however, will bring gamers together more frequently. Courtesy of Matěj Baťha by Creative Commons.Owner Pascal Espinosa has high hopes for the expansion of his business, which now recently incorporates both social gaming and dining.

“The day we opened my store was swamped. We’re now a traditional gaming store, board-game café, all-in-one. Alongside board games, we also have collectible cards for card game enthusiasts and a variety of card games that you can play in-store”

Espinosa thinks that game restaurants will not only provide a perfect place for people to get together and socialize, but they will also spark intrigue in what board gaming has to offer.

Greg Jackson, manager of the Sentry Box in Calgary, agrees.

“If they are strictly a café that has games to play while you’re there, then I wouldn’t really consider that competition. In fact, that would probably help generate more interest in gaming in the city.”

SAIT culinary student and card game enthusiast Eric Facchini also agrees that there is major appeal in having gaming restaurants.

As a loyal Calgarian, Facchini says that having more of these gaming themed restaurants would make the city even more exciting.

“I find [gaming] would make a large difference, especially on the atmosphere inside of restaurants. So you go in and see your favorite game and say ‘I want to play that but oh man, what am I going to do when I’m hungry?’ Then you can just order some wings, or some fries. It’d be heaven for a gamer.”

Thumbnail by Lexi Wright

The editor responsible for this article is Dan Ball, 

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