Try Something New at the Board Games Cafe
This is an interesting idea from Malaysia:
Your heart is racing. A shotgun is at your disposal, but you're almost out of bullets. Zombies pallid figures with sunken cheeks and skeletal eyes are catching up to you, slowly but surely. Over the wall, 20 steps ahead of you, you are sure, is the helipad.
Do you go for it? Well, you'll just have to roll the die and see.
Zombies!!! is an award-winning strategy board game just one of the many that you can try, if you're willing to give your iPhone or iPad a break. But if you'd rather not fork out RM169 for something that needs three to six players to jumpstart, you can hang out at Boardgame Depot, a book rental-turned-board games café in Bangsar, KL.
"Games on iPad are only US$3.99 or US$4.99 (RM15); if it's crap, you can just discard it," says tax consultant Yeo Eng Ping, 40. "Board games are almost RM200 to RM300 each. I would never buy one unless I knew for sure that it was fun."
The board games café, it seems, offers Yeo access "to all kinds of games without the cost." Previously known as City Book Rental when it was located just a few blocks away from its current location the store reopened to a new name and concept in March, boasting over 800 titles in American and European board games, in addition to their library of books.
According to co-director Lucas Tho, 26, the change took place in light of the extra space available. "And I knew a lot of friends who were into board games," he says.
Boardgame Depot exudes a homey atmosphere housed on the second floor of a corner shophouse lot, the café offers simple snacks and food cooked by Tho's mother, Irene Siow, who has been operating the book rental for the past 18 years. Colourful boxes of board games take up one full corner of the room; the rest is occupied by wooden tables and stools.
To be a Boardgame Depot "member", you just have to pay a RM30 annual fee, which comes with six hours of free game play, and subsequently RM2.50 per hour for each session; non-members are charged RM4 an hour.
Of course, many board game shops allow you to play games before you buy them – that's not unique. But adding food, well, that's a fine idea.
Killing zombies is hungry work!
There's lots more good stuff in this article: "I didn't realise that board games had moved on so much since I played Monopoly 30 years ago they're now really, really clever," Yeo enthuses.
"Many people think board games are slow probably because they can't be bothered to read the rules," Yeo continues. "But what I really like about this place is that Lucas helps the kids learn how to play. They tried a new game today, Wasabi!, and within half an hour, they got it."
To Nik Harris, computer games, especially Internet-based ones, lack the essential warmth of human interaction.
"You don't get to see the rest of the players face-to-face so strategising among your team members would always be held before, not during, the game. In a board game, you get to strategise along the way and make the best moves. And then, of course, when someone screws up, there's the verbal jousting, which is always entertaining. Every time you play a game, even if it's the same one, it feels different."
"The human touch in entertainment is still very real and quite necessary for people," he says.
Learn more from the Boardgame Depot's Facebook page.