We get this question a lot. There's a wide range to the definition, from full-service restaurants like Snakes & Lattes in Toronto and The Castle in Beverly, MA, to the more casual style of Game Haus in Los Angeles and The Uncommons in NYC. For us, a board game cafe means a welcoming place for families, couples, groups, and individuals. Ours will be a place to sit, eat delicious comfort food - think roasted chickpeas, classic New York bagels, gooey brownies, and the best coffee in town - and play a game from our adventurously curated collection. With an expanding library of games, customers can always count on their favorites being available, while having an array of new options for each visit.
THE WAY IT WORKS: All board game cafes have a small daily fee for access to the games collection. You sit at a table for as long as you like, and a small per-person fee is included in your bill for that visit. At House Rules Cafe, we call this a membership, and, in addition to the daily version, we offer weekly and monthly options. Normally, a daily membership costs $5, a weekly is $25, and a monthly is $75. During the Kickstarter, you can get one (or more!) of these memberships for a lower cost. You also have a special opportunity to pick up something we don't plan to offer again, an annual or lifetime membership!
It is incredibly exciting to create a destination that doesn't just bring people together once, but gives them something to look forward to on numerous occasions. A board game cafe is a perfect blend of familiarity and unpredictability that offers something for everyone.
Hudson, NY is a small city in the mid-Hudson Valley in New York State, 45 minutes south of Albany, and across the river from the Catskills. It's an idyllic location, the original home of the Hudson Valley School of painters. It is also a historic whaling center, with a colorful history full of bars, madams, and corruption. (It's a great backdrop for a tabletop RPG, so we're writing one set here during the Prohibition era.) Currently, the city has fewer than 7,000 permanent residents in 2.3 square miles. Many of the buildings are original to the town, having been left mostly untouched as a result of a mid-20th Century recession and a driven local preservation community. In the last decade, Hudson has enjoyed a major economic revival, thanks to the antique stores, an Amtrak stop, and businesses such as Etsy putting down roots here. It's a lovely and creative place to live or visit, filled with a diverse and artistic community. Columbia County, where Hudson is the county seat, is second only to Sedona, AZ for self-employed artists.
House Rules Cafe introduces to Hudson something unique and exciting: a place to gather for everyone. Families, teenagers, kids, and adults, board game hobbyists and casual gamers... everyone is welcome to enjoy what will be a new and exciting adventure for our community. Hudson is a nightlife-filled town, with gallery openings, bars and restaurants, and venues such as Helsinki Hudson and Basilica Hudson. But this leaves a gap to be filled - a family-friendly, interactive, social environment with good, well-priced comfort food and a staff trained to help answer any board game questions you may have.
So many strong women in my life - Aunt Meg, my mother, her friend Claudia and Claudia's daughter Elizabeth, my sister Lauren, and my aunt Beverly - have given me the confidence to be strong and independent as a woman, to fearlessly embrace my inner geek. More importantly, these women taught me, from a very young age, to make the world a better place. To be kind, to help those that need help, and to support each other, preferably while feeding them really good comfort food. As an adult, I have done my best to follow their examples. This project is one more step on the road to ensuring that I can offer the same thing to our community. Aunt Meg, who passed away last year, was one of the people who taught me as both a child and an adult how to appreciate the impact board games have on a person; both socially and individually. The children's corner, filled with games, toys, and books, is named in her honor.
While it was certainly unusual for girls to identify as geeks when I was growing up in the 80’s and 90’s, I am eternally thankful for the positive impact it has had on my life. Now, I want to share that positive impact with others in my community. It all started with my dad raising me on Doctor Who and Star Trek, and both my parents introducing me to the worlds of Tolkien and CS Lewis. Those experiences have helped shape my life. Like many in the geek community, though, in addition to falling in love with science fiction, I developed a love for board games. For me, personally, I love the variety of different worlds and stories I can get lost in, just as I always would with books.
A few years ago, I was diagnosed with a cornucopia of anxiety and mood disorders, to go along with attention and sensory disorders that were diagnosed in childhood. This has lead me to work on developing anxiety and sensory-friendly events for all ages. Events with no background noise, the aforementioned corner designated especially for little ones, and a selection of books and comic books for those who need to step away from social situations for a few minutes.
- That everyone deserves a fair and living wage. Our staff is paid well, though they're still happy to accept tips!
- That a cafe is only as inviting as its staff.
- That everyone deserves a kind word and a considerate hand (www.suspendedcoffees.com).
- That equality is not a debate. Everyone deserves equal access and equal rights.
- That kids should grow up to love board games as much as computers. Both are important.
- That board games bring people together.
- That events are for everyone, including those of us with social anxieties. As Jennie Lawson (www.thebloggess.com) and Jen Yates (www.cakewrecks.com, www.epbot.com) have proven, time and again, the demons can be fought.
- That coffee is an important part of the morning.
- That tea is an important part of the afternoon.
- That comfort food is a way to bring communities together.
- That bagels should always be boiled. (www.davidovichnyc.com)
- That sustainability is the best way to make a better future. Thrive Farmers Coffee (www.thrivefarmers.com) and Empire Zero Composting (www.empirezero.com) are two ways we support global and local communities.
- That giving back is the best way to build a society.
All of the plans are in place and construction is starting, but in order to finish the setup, hire a full staff and maximize the food and beverage experience, we need your help. Reaching our goal will ensure we fulfill that promise to those we wish to serve.
$10,000 seems like a lot of money. Here is a breakdown of how it will help realize our goals:
- Equipment - We plan to have good, restaurant-quality equipment that is fully up to code and appropriate for the small kitchen area.
- Furniture - We have a great plan in mind for attractive, comfortable furniture.
- Working capital for the first few months - this allows us to start off with a full staff, reducing the stress on Kathleen and giving her a chance to make sure everything is up to her standards.
- Payment for help with some of the physical renovations - Kathleen and Joel can do a lot of the work themselves, but since Joel has a full-time job, this gives Kathleen the ability to hire someone to help with painting and floor-laying during the week.
- More games! We want to be as up-to-date as possible on games, and there are a number out there that we haven't gotten yet (Scythe, I'm looking at you). Our collection will never be enormous, because we simply don't have the space, but that means it will be well-curated.
Meeting our stretch goals will also allow us to invest in a commercial espresso machine. Other stretch goals will include custom shelving and higher-quality tables, as well as a timely acquisition of a beer & wine license. It also means being able to acquire Legacy games - We love the idea of legacy games, and we'd love to be able to have some in stock for groups!
Leg·a·cy game /ˈleɡəsē ɡām/ : A campaign-based game. Legacy games are designed to be altered during play (usually by destroying cards or changing the physical board), so that a copy can only be played one time, usually over multiple sessions. Popular legacy games include Risk Legacy, Pandemic Legacy, and SeaFall.
AND NOW THAT WE'VE HIT OUR GOAL... A NEW REWARD. $1,500 GETS YOU EVERYTHING. ONLY FIVE OF THESE AVAILABLE!
WE DID IT! WE MET OUR GOAL. Thank you to all our backers, and all those who have shared, posted, interviewed, or otherwise spread the word.
Now, for some stretch goals.
- At $10,500: We can create a game library that is comprehensive, full of both classics and modern games, and that will help us better serve all aspects of our community.
- At $12,000: We can take Kathleen's collection of wooden wine crates and turn them into side tables to be used for food and drink, game components, or reference books.
- At $15,000: We can buy the amazing chairs that originally inspired us to use a retro style in the cafe.
Risks and challenges
All of our risks come from not getting this funding. We have enough in reserve to get the basic construction done, but in order to do everything we want, we need that extra push. Construction, especially restaurant construction, is always rife with delays, but we believe we have managed to schedule everything in such a way as to minimize the potential hazards.
We have two pledge events planned for the second half of the campaign. The first, on February 25th, is a panel discussion about representation in comic books and comic book-related media. The panelists run the gamut from professional comic book and graphic novel writer Steve Orlando, to trans activists Jillian Hanlon, and Sam Brandt. The second, on March 4th, is an open house, for people to come and see the space, hear about our plans, play a couple of the shorter games, and try some of the planned menu items.
We already have cleared the biggest hurdle - permission from the planning board for our site plan. We also have the building permit, and are working on the SLA permit for a wine and beer license. We have been working closely with the Columbia County Department of Health to make sure our plan will pass a health inspection, and all the business licensing is already in place.
During the Kickstarter campaign, the first round of plumbing and electrical work will be completed. Tiling of the kitchen, painting the other walls, and laying the floor will also happen before the first pledge event. That completes most of the major construction needed, but all the equipment needs to be purchased, and the counter will have to be rebuilt. The chairs have already been purchased, but the tables and shelves are still at large.
When we meet our funding goal, we can put in an order for the fridge, freezer, panini press, milkshake mixer, and a myriad of small kitchen tools. We can also have the counter rebuilt to suit our needs. We will also buy tables, the shelving for the games, and some extra shelves for kitchen storage!
All of the designs for the cafe are included in the How You Can Help section above.
All of our rewards are either already designed, or in the process of production. Only a few of them will be unfinished by the end of the campaign, with a couple of items planned for post-campaign production, based on the number of pledges made.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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