MyJourney is a series about the people in the board gaming world. In this series, I invite people passionate about tabletop gaming, from gamers, reviewers, publishers, to distributors, and artists to share their experiences with board gaming.
Board game cafés are popular in many parts of Asia and Europe - a concept catching on pretty rapidly in the US as well. The concept is simple - customers pay a small cover charge, typically around $5-$10 and get access to a huge board game library along with food and drink options.
In this week’s MyJourney entry, I reached out to one of the Owners of Game Haus Cafe, Terry Chiu. Game Haus Cafe is located in vibrant and sunny Glendale, California. What started as an idea in June of 2013 on Kickstarter, came alive in August with 223 people backing the project to raise a total of $12,328.
Thanks you for joining us today Terry - can you please tell us about Game Haus Cafe ?
Game Haus Cafe is a board game cafe that was established in 2013. I started it with my partner Robert Cron after running a board game group on Meetup.com for four years in response to the lack of such an establishment in the Los Angeles area. We both came out of very different industries (costuming for film and TV and graphic design).
That is awesome! How did this idea come about?
We have been open almost four years. Our board gaming group on meetup.com had expanded to a thousand members and 60-70 people each gathering so we needed a space for our game days. We'd heard of board game cafes in Canada and Asia but they had not really happened in California yet so we decided to try out this concept in Southern California. People can visit us to play from over 1500 board games for a small fee as well as partake of cafe beverages and food.
Wow! 1500 board games is definitely enough to keep me someone like me coming back for more. How did you build your community?
It was almost all through word-of-mouth, social media and connecting with the large board game community in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles is a great place for such a cafe, and your yelp reviews are also fantastic. Was this something you expected to do growing up? How did you get started with playing board games?
Our board game group was my first true entry into gaming; we started out playing party games like Taboo and soon expanded to Euro games like Settlers and Agricola. My favorite game is Dead of Winter and Robert's favorite game is At the Gates of Loyang.
Do you have any new projects that you are working on that you could share with us?
Just improving on the model we've established here; we are adding beer and wine as well as more game titles.
That is pretty cool. Who doesn't like to grab some beer and chill with a fun game? Four years in business, you must have seen quite a few interesting events at the cafe. Can you share some?
We've had many first dates here and a gentlemen just came in yesterday who wanted to do an anniversary party for his date (they met at Game Haus!). Another time, a group of four guys came to play Twilight Imperium (an epic sci-fi game); they came at 11 a.m. and at 11 p.m. they were about halfway into the game. We saved it for them to continue the next morning!
I can't imagine playing for over 12 hours straight! Must have been one intense game. I hope your customers continue to have such fun experiences in your cafe in the coming years! Thank you Terry, for taking the time to talk to us at Muffin games. It was a pleasure sharing your story with our readers and with the board gaming community.
If you are in the area, stop by at: 1800 S Brand Blvd, # 107Glendale, California, CA 91204
If you are interested in locating a board game cafe near you, check out this cool Facebook page: Boardgame Cafe which has posted a link to map out board game cafes across the world with more being added by the day.
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