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“You learn a lot about a person while playing games. I think they expand upon your relationship and going forward, you start to learn a few things you didn’t before. Games bring that out in people.”Co-Owner, John Tam

John Tam hopes his new board game café will give people a chance to put down their phones and get to know people face-to-face.

AARON CHATHA / METRO
Board game café
rolling into Calgary

John Tam hopes his new board game café will give people a chance to put down their phones and get to know people face-to-face.

The dice rolls a four. You land on Park Place and have to pay rent. Unfortunately, that was your last $500 and you’re bankrupt. Your opponent wins, you order another beer and wander to the wall to see if any of the other 499 board games capture your interest.

This December, PiPS Board Game Café hopes to open in Marda Loop.

“We just want you to come in, have a good time – spend some time with people, looking at them, actually in conversation, and having that board game as a medium to generate that conversation,” said John Tam, co-owner.

Tam said the café, modeled after similar establishments in cities like Toronto, is designed to provide an alternative to Calgary’s bars, restaurants and coffee shops for a night out.

A game master will be on-hand to help groups learn the rules to new games, or even help select games based on time, group size and interests.

Tam said it will be a great location for groups – or for a date night.

“You learn a lot about a person while playing games,” he said. “I think they expand upon your relationship and going forward, you start to learn a few things you didn’t before. Games bring that out in people.”



Check out what Q107 Great hits and Real Classic Rock has to say about PIPS BOARD GAME CAFE!

http://www.q107fm.ca/

 

SARAH LAWRYNUIK / CBC News

Meet Calgary’s Games Master, the sheriff of board games

The increasing popularity of board game cafes in Calgary has prompted one establishment to hire a Games Master.

Justin Acierto mans a collection of more than 500 board games at Pips in Marda Loop. He also helps customers branch out and try something new.

“I’m the Netflix of board games. I’m like, ‘You’ve played this? Oh, try this game.”

The job was a good fit for Acierto, who owns more than 100 games himself.

His vast knowledge of the rules of Scrabble, Sorry and Monopoly come in handy when players call him over to their table to settle disputes when things get a bit “intense.”

But by no means does he have all the answers. In fact, he spends a lot of time studying game manuals.

“That’s my night reading. I don’t read novels. I will honestly read a manual just to understand it better.”

Master and matchmaker

When providing suggestions for games, Acierto says he’s always considering the dynamic going on between his customers.

“For instance, if I see a couple and they’re trying to get to know each other — I will actually pick … cooperative, two-player games that kind of get the conversation going,” he said.

Highly strategic games are better for friends — but never for large groups.

“They’re energetic and that would just kill the buzz.”

There are four cafes in Calgary with a sizeable collection of board games — Pips, Hexagon, Metal Galaxy and Boxcar. Three of those businesses opened in the last year.