No ‘Bored’ in Board Games
Calgary’s newest board game café had us expecting nothing, but we enjoyed everything
Robyn Welsh, Staff Writer
Being the kind of person who enjoys board games but doesn’t play them very often, I walked into Pips Board
Game Cafe feeling slightly inadequate. Did I have to have a plethora of triumphant board game wins under my belt? No. Would people judge me for choosing a “lame” game? I wasn’t sure. To put it bluntly, I had no clue what to expect. All I knew is that it was my first time at a board game cafe and I was determined to have a good time.
Pips was small but bustling. There were about 10 tables around the room, and only one — much to our luck — was available. I sat down with my friend Will at the two-person table beside the board game library. Over 400 games were packed into about five bookshelves that reached up to the ceiling.
At first, the abundance of games to choose from was daunting, so I looked to Will for help. He was equally overwhelmed by the game library so we stood silently, staring up at title after title. When I looked down there was a man outfitted in a Pips t-shirt who had come to help us choose a game. He showed us his favourite two player games and answered questions we had about the ones on the wall until we finally settled on Kulami. The amount of knowledge he had about the games was amazing.
The wonderful Pips man knelt down by our table and began helping us set up the game board while he explained the rules. Rather than having a standard board, there were about 15 wooden pieces with dips in their surfaces — kind of like dominos — that we could put in any pattern before starting to play. Each of the dips fit a marble, and we were to take turns placing ours in the board. Thankfully, this game only had two rules and didn’t involve too
Before starting, we looked down at our menus and went through salads, sandwiches and other home-style meals, regretting the fact that we came with full stomachs. We ordered some drinks and yam fries to share then began to play.
Kulami was very easy to get the hang of. Though it was straightforward, I found myself exploring new thrilling strategies as each game went on. If I placed my marble in one spot, it would dwindle the number of options that Will had in his next turn. Experimenting with different options for each move was exhilarating and made me consider my subsequent turns as time went on.
Time passed extremely quickly in the cafe. Before I knew it, we had finished three rounds and the ice in my Vanilla Coke was melting. Sadly we had to pack up the game and head out, but we vowed that we would return.
Overall, the experience was amazing and I would recommend that anyone who remotely likes board games make their way over to Pips. If it is a weeknight, call them and reserve a table so that they will be ready for you when you arrive.