Boxcar Café offers delicious comfort food and a variety of unique games to players of all skill levels.
Boxcar Café, at 1215 1st St. S.W. in downtown Calgary, is home to a collection of more than 300 board games.
There is a charge of $2.50 per hour to play. However Monday through Thursday there is an unlimited play special for only $5.
Gary Wong, owner of the café, came to Calgary from Toronto about five years ago.
“I saw that there wasn’t anything here for that sort of product and I decided to open one up,” said Wong.
There are no televisions in Boxcar. The goal is to get people off their phones and start connecting with people.
“The atmosphere is very relaxing, very casual, very open, we definitely encourage more social interaction between people,” said Wong.
Boxcar hosts a monthly murder mystery as well as trivia nights and sometimes holds tournaments.
As well as encouraging social interaction, Boxcar and other board game cafés around the city are hosting a board game drive, and collecting donations.
“Right now we are in (collecting) in conjunction with other board game cafés in Calgary,” said Wong.
“Donations of board games go towards senior centres and other youth centres.”
Karen Chong, an employee at Boxcar for six months, says she has learned so much more about games since she began her job.
“I came in thinking, ‘oh I know board games,’ but I don’t know any board games.”
Her list of favourite games keeps evolving the more she plays.
Chong says board game cafés are a great place for university students to de-stress during midterms and exams as well.
“I think it’s because board games keep your mind engaged. You’re still active in your mind but just in a fun, light-hearted way,” Chong says.
She suggests it to any student who needs to take their mind off of school and enjoy a nice social atmosphere.
“Usually people who come here are university students or young professionals. The whole point of a board game café is for people to throw away the technology,” Wong says.
Board game cafés have been a great outlet for all guests who come. Players can put their game knowledge to the test and get out to meet new people.
The atmosphere is very relaxing, very casual, very open. We definitely encourage more social interaction between people. – Gary Wong
“Come play board games at Boxcar, come try all our awesome coffee,” said Chong.