As boardgames have made a resurgence in the past 15 years, it has become an exciting time to participate in the most wonderful hobby. All around the world board game cafes have sprung up, from Germany to Canada to Massachusetts. When I moved to Boise a couple of years ago, I found a rich community of gamers and truly amazing Friendly Local Game Stores. Surprisingly, there wasn't a board game cafe to be found.
After a trip to Portland, visiting Game Knight (if you're in Portland or will be going soon, highly recommended) sparked a desire in me that grew into what has now become Boise's first full-fledged gaming cafe, Room and Boards. After my wife and I formed an LLC last October, the specifics of the cafe began take to take shape.
Once we decided on a name, finding a space became our next priority. We were fortunate to work with some outstanding local realtors (Malissa Jackson at Colliers, she's incredible I tell you) we found what would be our future home on the first place we visited. Logic told us to keep looking just to be sure, but when you know a place is right, there's really no other choice. So we started moving in around early April and preparing the space as we envisioned it.
The journey of preparing to open a business has been quite an adventure, so many things that were both expected and unexpected! While there has been a slight delay of our intended opening due to permitting/plumbing issues, the calendar still looks good for us to open not longer after we expected (mid to late June now) Our plan has always been to launch a Kickstarter, and the intention of doing so is to make the community part of the cafe.
We have the space, we have the games, we have all of our equipment, but what why we're doing a Kickstarter is to push us over the edge (go to 11!); we want to have a wider range of games, food, and experiences available, and this will help us get there at the start. In the meantime, you'll get access to the cafe, some great swag, and help us get to know you (and you us!) We're excited to have you game with us, because at Room and Boards, it's always game night. And it's always your place to come and play.
Some of our library below!
Now you know who we are, here's a bit about WHAT we are: we have a library of over 500 games, ranging from light and fun party games like Codenames, Fluxx, and Geek Out, to complex and intricate games like Twilight Imperium, Terra Mystica, and Food Chain Magnate (yes, a game about owning fast food restaurants is dauntingly complex yet utterly awesome) And we also have the staff and the knowledge to help you pick a game that will perfectly suit you and your group.
For those who've not been to a board game cafe, the idea will be pretty similar to others we've had the pleasure of patronizing (Game Haus in Glendale, CA, Meepleville in Las Vegas, and Game Knight in Portland, OR are some of our favorites!) There's a $5 table fee per person, and this allows you full access to the game library to play 1 or 10 games, you're able to sit as long as you'd like to play. There's no minimum of food or drink to buy, but our menu will be available to all who sit. If there's a group who wishes to reserve the space for a special event, or host a specific game, we're always open to discuss this.
We are located on Fairview Avenue in Boise (right at the edge of Meridian) in the same complex as Sockeye's Brewery. We will be open Tuesday through Thursday, 4pm - 10pm, and Friday until midnight. Saturday and Sunday we will be open 10:30am - midnight, and we are closed on Mondays. These hours may change as we get closer to our opening, and we will keep everyone informed both here and on our FB page.
Our entire library will be available to browse online by the end of May with a online finder we developed for ease of use, and you are absolutely welcome to message us with any questions about any game prior to your visit. In addition to having all the modern, new games, we will also have all the classic games you loved growing up like Clue, Hungry Hungry Hippos, Jenga, and Connect Four. Every game has a place and a time, and we like to think that's where we come in!
We also have a robust library of RPG sourcebooks and player guides, from classics like Dungeons and Dragons, Shadowrun, and Call of Cthulhu to new and exciting games like Kids on Bikes, Tales from the Loop, Numenara, and more. We will start having weekly nights to teach both RPG and board games based on interest, and want to provide a place for everyone to have their game night (or day!) so all you have to do is show up.
Along with the games, we have an espresso machine and a full menu of coffee-drinks, such as lattes, cappuccinos, drip coffee, and iced mochas. We will also have a beer (Sockeyes, Boise Brewery), wine (St Chapelle), and cider (Merriwether) available from local sources. We feature a full menu of panini sandwiches, small plates (cheese/meat/fruit plates), a daily soup and other snacks.
You'll find a list of all of our rewards we've got available on the campaign. From a first free visit, to a 6 month-membership, to a boardgame backpack full of awesome games, there's something for everyone, whether you're local or from out of town. If you wish to gift a pledge to someone, pledges can be given to anyone. Just let us know who and where it should go to once the pledge manager is done. The final art for the t-shirts, dice bags, mugs and glasses will be available shortly after launch, and will be included in some of our first updates.
We're also very excited to be partnered with GeekOn, the manufacturer of the boardgaming backpack, and after the campaign is over, we will also be proudly featuring these in our cafe for sale! There's a little something for everyone, and if there are any questions, please don't hesitate to post in the comments or message us.
We're aiming for a modest amount, and wish to use this as a means to expand our offerings even further based on feedback we've received from our future customers. For now, we are putting 2 stretch goals, and will add more as the campaign goes along.
We're excited to bring the cafe to life, and even more excited to have everyone be a part of it. Throughout the campaign, we will be sharing updates and pictures of our progress, and hosting events until our opening. The first will be at Phoenix Fire Games on June 1st for International Tabletop Day, and we hope to see you all there!
Risks and challenges
All restaurants and cafes are a risky proposition, so we don't have any allusions otherwise. We have already overcome the challenge of forming the business, finding the right space and the funding to start up and become a fully operational business. It is incumbent on us to be as forthright in our business practices, transparent with our patrons, and do what we believe is in the best interest of the cafe. This can be achieved by ensuring we are steadfast in our daily operations, not overextending ourselves beyond our capabilities, and listening to our patrons and providing the best experience we know possibleLearn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (21 days)