Check out 3 cafes that are taking board gaming culture to a new level
By Patricia May P. Catan
BOARD game cafes are a haven for this generation’s breed of gamers. Here, they interact, share notes and strengthen camaraderie with fellow board gamers, if not spend some precious time with family and friends while enjoying a game or two.
With an assortment of games to choose from, places like these are good for the mind and for exercising one’s analytical skills just by playing. Board game cafes also offer a good diversion from gadgets, as well as an interesting way to bring the senses back to the real world.
Giving everyone the break they need from the virtual realm, SunStar Weekend zeroes in on three board game cafes that are making waves in the current lifestyle scene in Cebu.
Now reaching its first year anniversary, Vault continues to give its customers of all ages a relaxing and fun atmosphere to enjoy time with family and friends. Vault has also become a place where friendships are built through playing board games while serving only quality food and drinks.
The best thing about Vault? There’s no entrance fee, but rather a consumable fee that can be used to purchase food and drinks. With this consumable fee, customers can choose from more than 200 games.
Games such as Monopoly, Scrabble, Uno, Jenga, and Clue are commonly requested since they’re easy to play with little to no help from the game teachers. When players are feeling a little adventurous, games like Codenames, Telestrations, Werewolf, Avalon, Resistance, Dr. Eureka, Exploding Kittens, Splendor, Funemployed, Forbidden Island, Dixit, Joking Hazard, Cards Against Humanity, and Tapple are usually recommended. Vault holds functions like birthday parties and company activities too.
“Nowadays, we’re constantly glued to our phones and online life. This brings back the times where we have face-to-face interactions which can be refreshing,” Robin Cañete of Vault shared on why they opened such a cafe.
Seeing returning customers and people trying out unfamiliar games is an assurance that they eventually have found the right place where they can unwind and spend quality time with their family and friends. This kind of assurance sets Vault’s goal to be the number one place for having fun while continuing to expand its board game library along with its food and drinks.
Built for the sole purpose of community building, Dice Kong has been in the gaming business for almost a year come November. A growing community where people happily share the hobby they have grown to love, Dice Kong fully recognizes the importance of finding that board game for you, both as a community and as a business.
With over 200 games available, Dice Kong serves sufficient table time for every game. The most popular one is Halli Galli, followed by Telestrations, Spot It!, Reverse Charades, Ticket, and Settlers of Catan.
Acknowledging board games as great catalysts for team building and family bonding, Dice Kong hosts parties for corporate offices and families. It is also looking into organizing a hobby immersion as well.
“In this day and age where everyone is glued to their gadgets, scrolling through social media looking for the next Instagramable destination, people are starting to spend more time online than off. We took it upon ourselves to try and pull everyone back and provide an alternative medium for physical interaction,” Ian Ong, one of the owners said.
Adding that the board game boom happened in Manila back in 2014 to 2016, the people behind Dice Kong think it is now poised to boom in Cebu as well. The community is evidently growing, albeit slowly and a lot of gaming groups have started popping up and coming in on schedule, showing how responsive the community is to various events held every month.
“At Dice Kong you always come out with an experience. Whether you were a knight that fought through a monster-infested dungeon, the pilot of a space ship hauling cargo across galaxies, or simply a group of aspiring painters passing messages through works of art — there is always a story to tell,” Ian shared.
Asked where they see the board game cafe in the next few years, Ian said: “Our next challenge is how to keep every story fresh, every tale worth retelling. We are on a mission to continuously improve the songs sung in our halls, the plays acted out on our stages, the stories told around our table because at the end of the day seeing the smile on everyone’s faces as we close up shop after a long and busy night makes a day’s work seem like child’s play.”
Boards & Bites
Opened on the International Tabletop Day last April 29, Boards & Bites has been sharing the joy of tabletop games for close to five months now.
Showing love for board games, Boards & Bites has seen firsthand the joy and closeness that tabletop games can bring to a family or group of friends, and the cafe wanted more people to experience it as well.
Although the board game community in Cebu is still in the infant stage, Boards & Bites is looking to help it grow with a hand-picked catalog of games for new gamers while also having titles that more seasoned gamers can thoroughly enjoy.
With the aim of a fun and hassle-free experience, the cafe has trained knowledgeable game gurus and, of course, a growing number of games that’s now over 200 with an additional of 10 new game titles in its library this month.
One Night Ultimate Werewolf, Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle and Imhotep are three of the most played games, while other favorites are Dead Last, Resistance: Avalon, Cards Against Humanity, What Do You Meme?, Halli Galli, Suspend, and Exploding Kittens.
Gamers can also enjoy a selection of food and drinks while playing the games or sip on special themed drinks such as Tropical Breeze, Poisoned Apple, and Purple Ooze.
“We wanted to create a different kind of hangout where people can take a break from the fast paced nature of the world. Here at Boards & Bites, family and friends can enjoy a game and interact with each other while they have a delicious meal. I mean, you can’t really have fun when you’re hungry or thirsty,” John Matthew Flores of Boards & Bites shared.
Gathering new and experienced gamers alike, the response from them are positive all-around. Those who just got introduced to the world of gaming are now becoming regular guests, making a bigger community where people are introduced to the hobby.
“Our goal has always been to help grow the board gaming community and culture in Cebu. It is a dream of ours to one day host a board game convention or event together with the other board game cafes and businesses in the industry. We also plan to start selling games and game accessories in the cafe soon. More shops selling board games would make it easier for people to obtain games and help grow the board game community in Cebu,” Flores said.