The Wait is Over, Gamers: Tabletop Café Opens This Friday



Great news for everybody who enjoys having a few drinks while playing games with friends; Tabletop Board Game Cafe in Ohio City (1810 W. 25th St.) finally is set to open its doors following a series of frustrating delays. Doors officially open to the public this Friday at 7 p.m.
The popularity of cafes offering 100s if not 1,000s of board games is on the rise nationwide. In Northeast Ohio, Tabletop joins The Side Quest in Lakewood and Malted Meeple in Hudson, each combining games, socializing and a selection of food and drink.

Many in the field credit – or blame, as the case may be – our increased reliance on technology as the force behind the rise in popularity of board games and board game cafes.

"Most of us have an iPhone and iPad around us at all times," explains Jim Reed, owner of the Malted Meeple, which stocks 100s of games as well as beer, wine, cocktails and snacks. "They have become a part of our everyday life. That's what makes it all the more important to have some time to disconnect and spend quality time together. A lot of the board games that we have — and the ones that are my personal favorites — are not about the pieces or cards; they're about you interacting with the person across the table from you."

Tabletop’s games inventory approaches a staggering 1,000 titles, according to owner Shiva Risner. Types range from rowdy party games like Cards Against Humanity to strategy-based civilization-building games like 7 Wonders. Some games are cooperative, others are competitive. Some require a mastery of pop-culture trivia; others, like Iron & Ale, reward brute physical strength and an unquenchable thirst for beer.

But all of them, she notes, are an opportunity for people to interact on a personal level.

"Being online all the time is convenient, but it's also exhausting," Risner says. "People are wanting to take a breather and socially interact with friends face to face. Board games are a great way to do that. For some, it's a novel concept to not be connected."

In addition to the board games, Tabletop will feature weekly trivia nights and monthly DIY design sessions in its on-site maker space. The 75-seat café will sell beer and wine and a few simple, healthy sandwiches.

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