As I pass over 100 visits to board game café’s I’ve reflected on what makes a good café for my friends and I.
As someone that buys an obscene amount of games this is the least important quality for my group. However, there are still times where we want to try something new that isn’t in our collection. So far, the places we go to have never lacked what we’re looking for. It’s nice to be able to just assume that anything we’re looking to play will be available. Other groups might rate this higher but for my self it’s a nice bonus to not have to worry about.
Cafes aren’t often separated by this factor in my area, most placed in my city all adhere to the same standardized price. I do hear of places that charge by the hour and my friends and I find that to be a significant deal breaker. It’s also important to have nice options for cheaper food, not just admission. At the end of some days being able to add just a pastry and a beverage to the entrance fee as opposed to a full meal sometimes steers my friends and I to one location over another.
What a positive atmosphere qualifies as will be different to every person. Some would prefer the rustic feel of an older establishment, others a more modern open aesthetic. Whatever it is that makes us feel at home will have a massive impact on our emotions. It might be the style that is at the core of our memories or it might be some other subjective preference. Whatever it may be, it can’t be denied that there are certain atmospheres that make us feel welcome and bring us comfort the moment we enter the premises.
Gaming is a social experience and a friendly venue can greatly enhance that. We’re much more inclined to want to return to places where we consider the staff as friends. There are times when I look forward to my gaming night so that I can share a new experience or idea with the people that staff the establishments at the centre of our communities.
Location, location, location. At the end of the day this one seems to beat out all other factors. There are places my friends and I go to that rank lower on numbers 5 through 2, but win out on location. There are only two places we frequent with great regularity and they are both in the downtown area close to where we work. Depending on how we feel some days, the guarantee of free parking and a shorter trip home after makes the evening more relaxed. No matter how great numbers 5 through 2 are I can’t imagine a massive detour out of our way after work for a slight increase in other variables. Thankfully we don’t have to make trade-offs and the establishments that meet our location needs are of the highest quality.