By Eric E. Surbano
IN a world obsessed with all things digital – iPads, laptops, smartphones and the like – it’s no surprise that many people think the traditional board game is dead. When the opportunity to play games with people all around the world is just the click of a button away, what’s the point in spending time and effort actually getting friends and family around a table?
Listed here are ten of our favourite board game cafes in the city. Each offers a wide selection of games to play, and each is owned and operated by passionate board gamers who’ll make you feel immediately at home. While some venues charge per hour for use of their facilities, others let you play for free. And the majority are stocked with games that you can buy to take home.
Disclaimer: We are not responsible for any friendships broken due to extreme competitiveness.
OPENED two years ago by passionate board gamer Fabian Weiner, Ninive Games is the reason why there’s a growing market for board games in Thailand. Not only does the store supply most of the board game cafes in Thailand, it also translates well-known international board games into Thai – the most famous title being Settlers of Catan (dubbed “the board game of our time” by The Washington Post).
1108/13-14 Sukumvit Plus Soy 1, Phra Khanong Nua. Tel: 084 763 1980
GAME OVER LOUNGE
NERD heaven exists, and it’s on Thonglor. Brimming with all things geek – think PS4 and Xbox One consoles, PCs connected to single and multi-monitors, a pool table and, of course, a stack of classic board games – Game Over Lounge is big on atmosphere and big on flavour too: an adjoining kitchen, aptly named NERD, serves up craft beers,
flavour-packed smoothies, and delicious charbroiled burgers from the renowned Daniel Thaiger. Membership is required for full access to everything Game Over has to offer, but non-members can still select from a vast array of free-to-play board games, including the super popular Jenga. If you want to play premium board games, like the newly-arrived Game of Thrones Monopoly, you’ll have to shell out. Don’t fret, though: a One Day Membership pass is available for just B500.
Liberty Plaza, Sukhumvit Soi 55. Tel: 02 170 7684 www.gameover.co.th
ON BOARD CAFE
ON Board Cafe is relatively new to the scene having been open for only about two months. No fancy designs or gimmicks, just a straightforward board game cafe, it stays true to the heart of why it was established in the first place: to take people away from their tablets, phones, and computers and have some face-to-face interaction over a board game. The store charges B30 per hour or B150 for the whole day and also serves a range of drinks and snacks. Plus, the store has a cool promotion that rewards anyone who buys a drink or a snack with one free hour of playing time. On Board opens daily from 11am to 9pm, but closing times are flexible depending on the last customers who are playing.
73/12 Soi Phahonyothin 64. Tel: 096 082 5668 www.facebook.com/onboardthailand
LOCATED in Mahatun Plaza (near the popular Osito and La Monita restaurants), Boarding Time looks like it’s flown straight out of smash-hit computer game Bioshock Infinite. The venue’s steampunk airship interior sets the perfect chilled-out atmosphere for some friendly board game action, while an extensive menu of snacks and drinks provides plenty of fuel for the fun. Popular games include Splendor (easy to learn but tricky to win), Warhammer (the classic tabletop wargame), and Ticket To Ride (an addictive railway themed adventure game). A day pass is priced B150. Pay B200, though, and you’ll also receive a B200 voucher to spend on food, drinks or board games.
Near BTS Phloen Chit Tel: 092 985 6673 www.facebook.com/BoardingTimeGames
BOX & BREW
WAFFLES and board games make a great combination. That’s what we discovered at Box & Brew, a bright and airy board game café on Phahon Yothin Rd., where gaming’s enjoyed in front of floor-to-ceiling windows and fuelled by cakes, coffees, Italian sodas, and some sweet, crunchy, hot and doughy waffles. Oh, and they also have milkshakes, and it is a scientific fact that they make everything better. Rates are B30 per hour. Open daily (except Wednesdays) from 10.30am-9.30pm.
1/29 Soi Phahonyothin 40, Senanicom (next to Family Mart). Tel: 090 996 7222 www.facebook.com/boxandbrew40
KOPI-O BOARD GAME CAFE
WITH its shelves loaded to bursting point with board games from all around the world, casino-style tables, and figurines of C3-PO and Master Yoda standing sentinel, Kopi-O is a great spot to annihilate your friends in a game of Splendor or two. The first hour is B100; each subsequent hour, B50. And rates include a complimentary drink. A variety of snacks and drinks are also offered so you don’t have to play Risk on an empty stomach. Open Tuesday-Sunday from 10am-10pm; Mondays from 12pm-6pm.
160/3 Sukhumvit 33, Klongton. Tel: 02 258 5580 www.facebook.com/kopioboardgame
LIKE to pair your board game action with some wholesome, tasty international food? It’s time to board the C Train. Aside from its large collection of international board games, this lively hangout also has a pretty rad food menu, with chicken wings, spaghetti, and Wagyu ribeye steak among the highlights. The games, of course, are the real draw, but a round of Istanbul or Splendor is made even better when teamed with a serving of high quality beef (otherwise known as a big, fat, juicy steak). C Train Board Game Cafe is open daily from 10am-10pm. Rates are B40 per hour for the first two hours, and you get the third hour free.
306/1 Puttha Bucha 38, Bangmod Tungkru. Tel: 083 446 1152 www.facebook.com/BoardGameCafe.C.Train
THERE’S nothing flashy about this homey establishment but its straightforward simplicity is what makes it so endearing: it’s simply a place to sit back, relax, and have fun. The shop’s general walk-in rate is B75 for the first hour, and B45 per hour thereafter. Membership is also available with rates at B65 for the first hour, and B30 per subsequent hour (all rates include one free drink). Popular with students from the nearby Mahidol University, as well as families looking for an inexpensive but fun day out, Lanlalen is open Saturday to Thursday (closed on Fridays) from 10am-9pm. It’s also a good spot to grab a coffee or snack (the chicken karaage – basically deep fried chicken – always goes down a treat).
99/90 Moo 6 Puttamontosai 4 Rd., Salaya. Tel: 081 850 1453
BANGKOK’S oldest and largest hobby and game center is a haven for both serious board gamers and noobs alike. Established in 2007, it belies its belligerent name by being a super friendly hangout where likeminded people can meet and socialise while playing quick rounds of cards or board games, or even spending a whole day immersed in an RPG (Role Playing Game). The store opens every Wednesday to Friday from 3pm-10pm, and on weekends from 12.30pm until whenever the last customer leaves. A nearby restaurant cooks up everything from finger food to a full rack of ribs and can deliver direct to your gaming table. You can even take your own food, if you wish. The owners are gregarious gamers whose main concern is on ensuring visitors have a great time. And best of all, they won’t charge you a baht for their facilities – all games are free-to-play, and you can even use one of their private gaming rooms for free.
71 Sukhumvit 101/1. Tel: 0 2 747 9719 www.battlefieldbangkok.com
MEEPLES & MORE
OPEN for a year now, this small shop on Soi Ruamrudee (and within walking distance of the Phloen Chit BTS station) boasts its own in-house Game Master who can help you select a board game based on your preferences and then help you learn the rules. Noobs like us found this particularly useful – and also liked that it saved us from having to thumb our way through a time-consuming rule book. Snacks, toast, coffee and soft drinks are all available, as well as hearty main dishes (Thai and international options). Rates are B50 per hour or B150 for the whole day. The store is open Tuesday to Friday from 2pm-11pm, and on the weekends from 11am-11pm.
Ruamrudee Village, Soi Ruamrudee, Phloen Chit Rd.
Tel: 02 651 4349 www.facebook.com/meeplesandmore