Boards of a feather

Boards of a feather

Come weekend, a few cafes in the city are buzzing with enthusiasm. Customers, a mixed bag, gather in corners and jog their brains. They are ready to battle it out even as they wait for their order to arrive. The strongest thing on the menu? The board games, of course!

Board games are seeing a resurgence of late and finding a pride of place in many cafes in the city. So what do they bring to the table?

Art Blend Café, the art boutique-cum-coffee shop in HSR Layout, is one such place with its own dedicated creative corner, board games being an integral part of it.

“When I conceptualised it, I wanted customers to have not just food, but spend quality time with their family and friends. So we introduced board games like ‘Snakes and Ladders’, ‘Pictionary’, Chess, ‘Ludo’, Carrom as well as art-based activities here,” informs Prateeti Shukla of ‘Art Blend Cafe’. It’s good to see grownups and kids enjoy board games as they wait for the food to arrive. When were kids, we used to play board games, but not many kids do that now. So when they play here, that rings in nostalgia”, she says.

“Certain companies are also encouraging their employees to play board games now. So we are planning to have dedicated corners for them on Saturdays, from 3 pm to 6 pm,” she adds.

‘Dice n Dine’ in Koramangala has an envious collection of boardgames. From ‘Scrabble’ and ‘Pictionary’ to modern day games... you can even purchase some! Says J Rangarajan, the owner, “The concept came from a close friend of mine. He wanted to start a club where we could rent out these board games. I was into food business. Last year, we renovated this place and changed the whole model. We now have more than 600 games in the restaurant.”

“We have very strategic games to games that can be finished in 15 to 20 minutes.” That include ‘Monopoly’, ‘Word on the street’, ‘Catan’, ‘Ticket 2 Ride (Continents) Pandemic’ etc.

Even at homes, board games are dusted and given a fresh lease of life. While new board games are making inroads, the classic ones are still a firm favourite.

Girish Nagpal, an entrepreneur, has been playing Scrabble for more than 10 years now. “I started by playing it online and it became addictive. When I moved to Bengaluru, I joined the ‘Bangalore Scrabble Club’. We meet very often and play together on all weekends. We also have a WhatsApp group,” he says.

Often, people play these games online when they are stuck in traffic jams or in the Metro. “But there is a world of difference when you are playing online and on the board. When you are playing online, your opponent would be sitting anywhere in the world and your scoring is done by the computer. But when you are playing on the board, you not only have to play but do scoring on your own. You also have to calculate the opponent’s move when you make a move,” he says.

“It not only improves your vocabulary skills but mathematical and logical skills too,” he adds.

These kind of games are no longer a solitary pursuit, but a social pastime too. There are parents encouraging their kids to pick up a board game. Suyash Manchali, all of seven-and-a-half, imbibed his love for Scrabble from his mother Shubha.

“I’ve played it all my life,” she says.

“He used to watch me all the time and developed an interest in it. He also used to play with his father on the mobile. But I wanted him to play on the board itself,” she says. “When I participated in a Scrabble contest and won a prize, his interest grew manifold. He is now in the ‘Bangalore Scrabble Club’ and plays there on all weekends. We also play at home late into the night,” she says. This interest
has enriched his vocabulary.

The renaissance of board games could well mean button-mashing is on its way out! If that is so, the table-top industry has lots to cheer about.

Throwing the dice, anyone?


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