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Calgarians ditch phones and embrace board game café culture

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DH Calgary Staff Jan 05, 2016 11:18 am

Board games are social, fun, nostalgic, and making a serious comeback.

The old craze, which has seen a resurgence in communities across the country, is becoming a major trend right here in YYC, with a number of dedicated board game cafés set to open in 2016.

Within the space of three months PiPS Board Game Café has opened its doors and two more board game-focused establishments, Metal Galaxy Social Games and Bistro and Boxcar Café, are slated to open their doors, in January and February respectively.

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While each of these three establishments boast their own unique vibe, they all stock a healthy supply of board games, covering all the bases with old classics and fresh additions. Offering easy and fun party games to strategy games, in addition to a variety of eats and drinks, these social houses are open to both the young and old.

Obviously, these community-minded establishments have tapped into something. Their collective popularity (people have been flocking to PiPS in droves) pinpoints the desire for more face to face interaction.

“Calgarians are always open to an alternative night out,” says Mike Procee, co-author of A Couple of Couples a YYC eatery food blog and co-host of Meet.Eat.Compete.

“People want to connect. People want to be engaged. People want to experience new things,” remarks Procee.

Similar to the also-popular escape rooms and paint nights, board game cafés encourage patrons to head out in groups, and to unplug from their devices and interact with one another.

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Recognizing that people don’t always have the tools to connect in a way they wish to, Procee notes that these engaging experiences offer groups and families seeking unique and stress-free social activities with an alternative and novel form of entertainment. All people have to do is show up, pick a game, and play.

When asked about why this growing board game phenomenon has taken off in YYC, Procee remarks, “Calgary is the perfect host city… it’s contemporary, driven, [and], motivated.” Procee elaborates further, adding that Calgarians are often open to exploring innovative ways to connect, and enjoy finding new outlets to unwind in and meet people.

In addition to gaining a bounty of board game cafés, Calgary has also become host to an organized board game event. Late last year, Procee and partner Jenna Gaetz teamed up with Connect More to bring a new type of event to the city, one where people could meet, eat, and compete. Thus, Meet. Eat. Compete. was born.

The first Meet. Eat. Compete. event was held in October 2015, at Nicastro’s Public House. Approximately 90 Calgarian bloggers, social media influencers, and young professionals were in attendance.

Due to the success and positive response Procee, Gaetz and, Connect More will host M.E.C. on the fourth Thursday of every month at Nicastros for 2016.

While Meet. Eat. Compete. has received rave reviews, Gamer Nights are not an entirely new concept in Calgary. Calgary’s own Dickens Pub has just celebrated four years of running their Gamer Sundays, which take place from noon to midnight every week, and offer a wide variety of serious to party-style games to borrow, as well as pool table-sized game boards.


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DH Calgary Staff
Daily Hive is the evolution of Calgary Buzz.

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