Tired Of Screens? Try A Board Game Cafe


Steven Senne/AP

When we hear about games these days, it’s usually about games that are played on screens.

There are phone games, Facebook games, video games …

But whatever happened to good, old-fashioned tabletop games like Monopoly or Jenga or Clue?

Turns out, they haven’t gone anywhere.

“We have at least four dedicated places to play tabletop games, and that’s not including the retail outs and game stores that allow the games to be played,” Mike Prevatt, associate editor for Las Vegas Weekly, told KNPR's State of Nevada.

Prevatt looked into the growing tabletop or board game culture in Las Vegas for an article he wrote in July

“As far Vegas is concerned, we’re obviously a city of entertainment and diversion, it makes sense that we have things like that here,” he said.

Plus, the extreme summer heat means a lot of people are looking for something to do indoors, and Prevatt said Las Vegas has a growing geek culture that has embraced tabletop games.

Timm Metivier owns Meepleville Board Game Cafe at Sahara Avenue and Decatur Boulevard. He said he first heard about a board game cafe in 2010, and opened his own a couple of years ago.

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He believes there is not one type of person who plays board games. 

“As far as I’m concerned, that crosses any demographic whether you’re young, old. It doesn’t matter. Socio-economic level or anything because pretty much everybody has played board games or card games," he said.

His cafe offers beer, wine, coffee, snacks and more than 2,000 games to choose from. People can play games and buy games at his store.

“We’re kind of an entertainment venue/store," he said. "At Meepleville, our primary product, you would say, is an experience."

Brooke Rutledge is the manager at Little Shop of Magic at Flamingo Road and Durango Drive. She has seen an increase in interest in board games, both classics like Monopoly, Clue and Risk and newer games known as "Euro games," over the last 10 years.

She said people will come to the shop to play a classic game but move on from there. 

“For a lot of people, that’s their jumping off point. They are already comfortable there. They already know it there. But it’s easy to go, ‘Well from Monopoly, have you tried Ticket to Ride? Have you tried Settlers of Catan?'”

She said Euro games are more about strategy and having a better strategy than your opponent, while American games are more about direct conflict and going head to head for resources or control of the board.

Metivier agreed and noted that most Euro games have a definitive end unlike something like Monopoly, which can go on for hours.

Rutledge believes the increase in interest is because of our near constant screen time and connectivity through social media.

“As more and more people get screen time and increase screen time, they're missing out on that face-to-face interaction with people and are looking for new ways to engage people in that way,” she said.

Prevatt agreed that as he researched the story he found people were involved in tabletop games because it brought a sense of community.

"The number one thing I kept hearing over and over again … is that we’re talking about something that most people associate most with so-called 'nerd culture' and the stereotype is that nerds are anti-social, nerds don’t leave the house … but you couldn’t be further from the truth when you talk about these board games,” he said.

He said board games give people meet face to face. 

"The social aspect is very key and that, by its nature, is building community," he said.

If you're interested but not sure where to start, Rutledge said people shouldn't be intimidated. She suggests people go to a shop or cafe and ask questions. 

“We get a little over excited sometimes because we know it and we’re always excited to have new people come in and experience our world,” she said.


Mike Prevatt, associate editor, Las Vegas Weekly; Timm Metivier, owner, Meepleville Board Game Cafe; Brooke Rutledge, manager, Little Shop of Magic

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