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Fredericton to get its own board game cafe

During the winter, it can be hard to find indoor activities that go beyond bowling or movies. However, if your idea of a good time is a night of trading sheep in Settlers of Catan, you’ll soon be in luck.

Announced in early January, Fredericton will soon be home to Unplugged, its first devoted board games café. The news has already proven popular on Facebook, where Unplugged’s page has accrued more than 2000 likes and dozens of positive comments.

Aiming to provide Frederictonians with an alternative entertainment venue, Unplugged promises to be just that — a place where personal electronics are verboten in favour of face-to-face contact. Over 200 games will be present, from Checkers to Cards Against Humanity, as well as snacks and beverages of the alcoholic & non-alcoholic variety. A $5 cover charge allows players to stay and game to their hearts’ content.

Unplugged is the brainchild of Jeremy Ames and brothers Travis & Adam Grant. Travis, a Fredericton native, filmmaker and self-proclaimed geek, decided to open the café after hearing about board game cafes in Ontario, where more than a dozen have sprouted up over the past five years. To them, Fredericton’s large student population makes it an ideal location for a niche-appeal establishment like Unplugged to thrive.

“Students have a lot of free time on their hands, and a lot of disposable income that they might like to use,” said Grant. “There’s not a lot of places to be entertained in Fredericton, and we thought this’d be a great place for everyone to get together and have some fun and make a few memories.”

While the name may indicate that they’re not fans of digital devices, Grant said that it’s more about emphasizing human contact.

“It’s always nice to take an hour or two, put [the phone] down, and talk to some people face to face — that’s where the name Unplugged came from.”

In a FAQ posted to Facebook, they explain the rule came about “because [they] think board games are fun and because we think that hanging out with your friends is fun too. We’ve got nothing against it, but we think that people should get together to hang out in person sometimes.”

While the process of opening the café has been taking longer than expected, their game library and menu are almost complete, and Grant hopes Unplugged will be opening before spring. Ultimately, their hope is to unite people over a shared love of simply getting together and throwing some dice around.

“If more people played board games, the world would be a better place,” says their Facebook page. “Bring your most hated, sworn enemy to Unplugged for a night of games. We guarantee that after that evening of games, you’ll be best friends (unless you’re playing Diplomacy).”

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