With “a constant stream” of people contacting Toronto’s Snakes & Lattes boardgame cafe about how to start up similar ventures in other towns, Curator and head Game Guru Steve Tassie says the boardgame cafe will be releasing a series of videos over the next couple of months under the title “How to Snakes”. The series is focused on providing advice to other start-up boardgame owners. Although Mr. Tassie states he is not “a business person”, he expresses hope that the series will get game cafe developers to consider some elements of their plans that may not be readily apparent.

In the first video, Location, Mr. Tassie walks potential store owners through a few simple questions to answer about where to look in a city for your location and if your city is a good place to start. “Toronto is a big enough city that we actually had a number of different neighborhoods that we could have put down roots in,” he says. “And in fact, a number of those neighborhoods all have game cafes of their own now.”

The launch of the series was delayed by a month after the cafe’s video equipment was stolen. Hopefully, that won’t delay the release of the rest of the series.

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Gathering GroundsJust opened in the Denver suburb of Greenwood Village, Colorado is Gathering Grounds, the first kosher board game cafe. The menu is dairy (bagels, specialty coffees, sandwiches) and the restaurant is supervised by the Vaad Hakashrus of Denver (the Scroll K).

In terms of games, Gathering Grounds opened with a few hundred in its library—from family and party games like Dixit and Bananagrams, to strategy games like 7 Wonders and Agricola. The charge for unlimited borrowing privileges is $5 per day.

Gathering Grounds will also be opening a second location this April in Denver proper. I think I need to schedule a fact-finding trip!

Gathering Grounds Interior

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pic2329428_mdRavenwood Castle is expanding, and is a really awesome way. The Malted Meeple will soon be opening in Hudson, OH, and with it comes board gaming, mega milkshakes, and craft beer. The pub will be modeled after Ravenwood’s Raven’s Roost Pub, and will be a casual environment to play and enjoy a frosty beverage. This will be the first location, as the The Malted Meeple has plans to expand to more locations in the future.

The idea of Ravenwood Castle was already really awesome, and the addition of a separate pub is a fantastic idea. I wish them the best of luck, and desperately plead with them to be successfully enough to expand into Connecticut. I’d love some place like this to be local to me!

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Snakes & Lagers Grand Opening

logo-lagersSnakes & Lagers, the sister bar of popular Toronto boardgame cafe, Snakes & Lattes, has opened. Admission to the library of the games is $5, the same price at Snakes & Lattes. The boardgame bar located at 488 College Street, Toronto, serves beer, wine, and hard liquor, along with an assortment of pub food including crab cake sliders, pork belly banh mi sliders, and falafel. Although there are plenty of beer & pretzel games in the bar’s library, pretzels themselves are not on the menu.

More information, including the full menu, library listing, and hours of operation are available at http://www.snakesandlattes.com/bar/

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1461744_183019598562452_932684334_nTwo alumnae of the University of Maryland will be opening a 3000 sq. ft. game cafe at The Varsity, an off-campus student housing and retail space in College Park, Maryland. Board and Brew will be set up as a coffeehouse, with an hourly fee for the first three hours of gaming. The game cafe will have between 500-100 board games from family game night classics like Hungry Hungry Hippos to more current games like Through the Ages and Blokus. Ben Epstien, one of the partners behind the venture said, “I think part of the reason we came out with [the cafe concept] is there are plenty of places that are gaming shops … but they’re really just a game store that has some people come in and play games.” Board and Brew is hoping to fill a vacancy in the local entertainment scene by having the game cafe be more than just a game store, with weekly open mic events, singles events, and live entertainment in addition to game tournaments, leagues, and “learn to play” nights. Board and Brew is scheduled to open in late January.

For more information, visit the Diamondback’s coverage of the store and the partners’ informal announcement thread at Reddit.

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