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Top New West spots for your next board game sesh

New West locales where you can play board games while noshing on pizza, swigging beer or petting pups
New West has a bunch of options where you can connect with people over a board game

In the age of Minecraft and Red Dead Redemption, one might think that the modest Monopoly doesn’t stand a chance. Turns out, that's just not the case.

All those who squeezed in a game of Scrabble between Zoom meetings during the lockdown would agree that the pandemic forced people to dust their stack of board games and get their dice rolling again.

A study by market research company NPD Group showed that the demand for good old board games peaked during COVID, as reported in the Washington Post. And two other market research companies Technavio and Imarc projected a growth of seven to 11 percent for the industry in the next five years, as mentioned in the Post.  

Over the last three years, though the pandemic concerns have waned a bit, the new-found interest in board games hasn't. A bunch of new board game meetup spots have sprung in the city in the recent times — all inviting people to set up their boards and socialize.

Scroll down to see the list of places — including an art studio, a pub and a pet academy — where you can discuss Battleship strategies and Ticket to Ride train routes with other board game enthusiasts. 

Arrieta Art Studio

Arrieta Art Studio (707 Front St.) is a newbie to hosting board game nights. Those who have been following the young studio’s journey since the time they launched in July 2022 would know that they are known for their art shows, paint nights and poetry events.

Founder Mishel Arrieta's vision is to build a space that would nurture local artists and encourage community interaction, as she told the Record in an interview. A board game night is line with this vision. 

Launched in March 2023, the board game meetups have seen a host of people join in to play Sushi Go, Cascadia, Dominion and a few other party games. “Usually guests bring a few games themselves to share; we all collectively decide what to play together,” said Arrieta.

“It’s a very chill night; anyone can come!”

The next meetups are on Thursday, April 20 and Sunday, April 23, between 4 and 9 p.m. Follow Arrieta Art Studio’s Instagram page or the meetup page for updates.

Rain City Games

Did you know that the local game store Rain City Games (810 Quayside Dr.) turns into a buzzing board game meetup spot during the weekends? On Saturdays, anyone can “pull up a table and crack open a game” at the store, without being expected to purchase one, as per their website.

For a ticket price of $5, participants can choose a game from the hundreds of titles at the store, and spend four hours (between 1 and 4 p.m) playing with their friends. And if they decide to stay beyond that, they can be part of the Dungeons and Dragons Saturday meetup — open to both advanced players and those who are new to the world of role playing games.

On Sundays, the store offers a space for fans of Magic: The Gathering Commander to settle down with their decks of cards, and stamp out their opponents with magic spells. 

The meetups were introduced post pandemic, about nine to 18 months ago (depending on the event), the store confirmed. Follow Rain City Games’ website for more updates.

Kelly O’Bryan's Restaurant Carlos O'Bryan's Pub

The Irish pub (800 Columbia St.) is not just a favoured spot for lattice-style fries and St. Patrick’s stew, but also for a catch-up with friends over board games and brunch. The Vancouver Gaymers, a social group for Vancouver’s LGBT community, meets up at the pub and restaurant once a month primarily to play some board games.

At the pub, you can pore over the rules of Scythe while washing down a meal of prime rib and prosciutto chicken with a swig of Irish whiskey. In fact, they encourage the dine and game mashup.

“We definitely allow for anyone to bring in cards or certain games for them to play while dining with us. We also have a box of assorted games of our own that we can offer to our guests!” said Amanda Tubbs, assistant general manager at the resto-pub. 

Follow Vancouver Gaymers on Facebook to find out the next meetup date.

Wonderpup Academy

Play a round of Monopoly while being surrounded by puppers who want to be petted. The human and canine enrichment education centre Wonderpup Academy (9 Sixth St.) plans to morph into a pooch-friendly board game meetup spot for college students once a month.

The centre, which organizes body movement awareness and potty training workshops for dogs, experimented with its first-ever board game meetup on April 7; their next meetup is on May 19. 

According to their Instagram page, for a ticket price of $15, participants and their furry friends can spend two hours (between 6 and 8 p.m.) playing games such as UNO, Jenga, Ring Toss, Plot 4 and more, while in the company of the academy's own "wonderpups."

For updates, follow Wonderpup Academy’s Instagram page.

Pizzeria Ludica 

Here is a spot that pays as much attention to its thin-crust pizzas as to its collection of board games. Boasting more than 550 board and card games at its New West location (601 Carnarvon St.), this eatery is for anyone who likes to pair their meal with a game — be it the quick and easy Chinese Checkers or the more challenging City of Horror

Each board game at the restaurant has a sticker on the bottom-right corner of the box lid indicating the complexity and “thinkyness” of the game — choose the ones with a red sticker if you take your games as seriously as your ‘za and choose the ones with a yellow sticker if you just want a distraction while you wait for your pie and two-cheese bread sticks.

Check out the entire games collection on Ludica Pizzeria website.

Hops, A Northwest Pub

Have you ever tried removing a Jenga block from a tumble tower after a few swills of a frothy beer? Hops Northwest Pub (48 8th Street) wants people to come in and try just that — and more.

The pub that specializes in micro-brews from the Pacific Northwest is giving 10 percent off on drinks to anyone who hops into the pub on a Tuesday and tries their hand at a game like Jenga, Uno, Monopoly, etc.

If Tuesdays don’t work, you can make a beer and board game night out of any other day at the pub. But remember, their Shake Lime Margaritas and the drink discount are only a Tuesday special. 

Check out Hops Northwest Pub’s Instagram page for updates.