Charlottetown's first board game café opens

A popular trend in the café business has come to Charlottetown, with the opening of the Island's first board game café.

Small Print Board Game Café offers 300 games, including all the classics

It's all fun and games at the new Small Print Board Game Café in Charlottetown for owners Jennifer Campbell and Julian Taylor. (CBC)

A popular trend in the café business has come to Charlottetown, with the opening of the Island's first board game café.

The Small Print Board Game Café opened its doors on Grafton St. Friday, offering the usual beverages and snacks, but also there are 300 different board games customers can play.

"It's nerve-wracking but also exciting," said co-owner Jennifer Campbell of opening day. "We like to see the energy in the room so we're excited to see how it ramps up."

Board game cafés have become popular all over North America, as adult customers get to relive their youth, and younger players simply enjoy the atmosphere for their usual gaming.

The café offers some 300 board games to choose from. (CBC)
"You come in, there's a $5 cover charge, it's just added to the end of your bill," explained the other co-owner, Julian Taylor. "You can order coffee, beer, snacks, and we have a game library of over 300 games."

If a game looks interesting, you don't even have to read the rules, that's what the staff, or "game gurus" are there for.

"A guru can help you select a game, teach you a game, and go through a couple of rounds," said Taylor. "Or if you know the game that you want, you can go right ahead."

The café features a new kitchen and bar, plus large, custom-made red oak tables, perfect to set up the board of choice.

Then you can settle in, and make yourself at home.

"People can stay and play for as long as they'd like, they can have candy bowls to popcorn to a latté or an espresso, or a beer," said Taylor.

All the current games are on hand, plus most of the old favourites from those summer nights at the camp ground.

Some of the café's first customers are already caught up in a game. (CBC)
"Something like (Settlers of) Catan might take an hour, maybe an hour and a half, but you've got something like Jenga, and that might last only 30 seconds, so you can play multiple games," said Taylor. "We've got Trivial Pursuit, we've got word games, so Scrabble, family games, and those classics, like Operation, Sorry, and Trouble. There's something for everybody."

The owners did a trial run of the space earlier, holding a soft opening over a couple of nights to work out the bugs, with an invited crowd.

"They were non-judgemental friends and family, and the bottom line was they had fun, so that's all we cared about, really, at the end," said Campbell.

Game on.

With files from Lindsay Carroll