P.E.I.'s first board game café is scheduled to open this spring, brought to you by a couple of self-professed game geeks who've attended and hosted board game parties for years.
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When they heard about the popular Toronto café Snakes and Lattes, Julian Taylor and Jennifer Campbell decided to open something similar on the Island.
"Now that board games are becoming more popular, and you can see them around town, the game groups are getting bigger, we thought it was the perfect time to open this and offer this to Charlottetown," Taylor said.
Whether it's toppling towers of wooden Jenga blocks or saving the world from a pandemic, Taylor said it's a good opportunity to leave phones behind and connect with other people.
'We have to stay away from fried food, they destroy the games with greasy fingers.' — Jennifer Campbell
And you don't have to be an experienced gamer to enjoy the café — it will be designed for novices as well.
Patrons will be offered help from a game guru, someone who is well-versed in at least 30 games. Acting as a sort of sommelier of the game world, the guru will suggest games based on patrons' personality and preferences. They'll explain the instructions, and even play a round or two if needed.
Campbell and Taylor have spent countless hours becoming gurus, watching how-to videos online, and re-reading instructions.
"We try to learn a new one [game] a day," said Campbell. "We're trying to get our repertoire up."
That kind of expertise is why the café is called Small Print.
"It's so daunting to open up a new board game," Campbell said. "You have this big rule book with all these small rules and everything. Why not let us take care of the small print?"
The café will have more than 300 games in different categories, including word games like Scrabble, classics like the Game of Life, light strategy like Ticket to Ride, and in-depth strategic games like Settlers of Catan and Pandemic.
The café will also serve speciality coffees, local beer, wine and some appetizers.
"We have to stay away from fried food, they destroy the games with greasy fingers," said Taylor.
"We have to Scotchgard all these games and sleeve all the cards, so that we don't have to continuously buy them," Campbell added.
ACOA pitching in funds
Both Taylor and Campbell are under 30 years old, which has allowed them to tap into small business support programs through the federal government, including ACOA's Urban Seed program.
But the business partners are financing most of the business on their own, something they say they wouldn't have been able to do without financial and emotional support from friends and family.
"I'm extremely excited. This is the portion where a lot of the manual labour is coming into play," said Taylor. "We're going to be building new tables and building a bar … we are just getting ready to work."
The pair plans to open the Small Print Board Game Café on Grafton Street in April.