Game Café Etiquette #002 – How Many Games to Bring Back to Your Table

When I first arrive at a game café, I love trawling through their collection to see what they have. It’s an embarrassment of riches! At the same time I’m weighing my mood and the mood of my group to decide what we should play first. It’s so exciting for me – especially when we hit a new café with a new collection to explore.

I imagine it must be hard for other people, too. It’s so hard to pick! I know! Some people, in fact, seem so excited that they take a stack of games back to their table with them.

This, however, is not cool.

We need remember the lesson we all learned as five year olds, and make sure we are sharing with others.Game café etiquette # 002 – How many games to bring back to your table

Board games can last from 15 minutes to 5+ hours; longer if you are learning it for the first time (Hello, Le Havre!), and most are generally 45-90 minutes in duration. I often see people with several hours-worth of games stacked up at their table.

If you are at a café and are planning to invest an hour or so into a game, I guess you might want to do a short warm-up game before playing your ‘main event’. Maybe you’re even waiting for others to arrive. I can understand these situations. So, I propose some rules in order to maintain courtesy when taking two games back to your table.

1) Take no more than 2 games back to your table;
2) Make one of these a short-duration game (i.e. 30 minutes or less);
3) Play the short-duration game first; and
4) Return the game to the shelves immediately after you’ve played it.

You may have come to the café with a plan in mind. I agree, a great use of a game café is to hunker down for a few hours and learn or simply play a good, long game; I’m thinking Dominant Species, or either of the Cthulhu-ian horrors; Arkham or Eldritch. If you find the game you were looking forward to playing is being used, and no other copies remain, well, then, bummer. That’s the way it works. Come back later or, even better, find another great game to play! To see it, however, sitting neglected on someone else’s table while they are mired into another game is not a good feeling.

Taking several games from the café shelves back to your table is poor-manners. This limits the ability of others café patrons to enjoy games – the whole reason they came to a café to begin with!

is an avid table top gamer with an affinity for dice-rolling Ameritrash style games. However, he is very easy to talk into pretty much any style of game (just don’t mention Jenga). He is especially fond of games that center around a theme of science, superheroes or evil professors – which pretty much sums up his interests outside of games. You’ll probably see him wandering game cafes judging your choices, or seeking out the newest local stout on tap. Always an extrovert, feel free to stop him to talk about the game you’re playing or what you think of the café and you may find yourself featured in a post.

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