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Subject: New Board Game Cafe, The Uncommons, Coming To NYC rss

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Uncommons NYC
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Hi! We're proud to announce a new board game cafe, coming soon to NYC. A tip of the hat to the others who have blazed this trail and convinced us that it is possible.



The Uncommons (http://www.uncommonsnyc.com/) is aiming to open next month near NYU in Greenwich Village, downtown Manhattan. It's not going to be easy- these are some of the highest rents on earth. But we've got a great board game community here, and plan on operating much like a coffee shop for most of the day, then becoming a dedicated gamer-meetup/play space in the afternoons and evenings. We'll stay open late, offer a wide library of games, and charge a minimal cover fee of $5 per person to borrow and play in-store.

Definitely let us know what you think- any feedback is greatly appreciated. Drinks, food, must-have game titles? Groups we should reach out to?

Oh, and we've launched our Kickstarter, but promotion of it is prohibited here, so you'll have to search for it. Finally, I'm sure you're curious about the library- we plan to have most of the top 200 BGG or so titles for play.

Thanks,
Greg - The Uncommons NYC
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J C
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Proud to be part of the team, and looking forward to this project being a reality!
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Keith
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Awesome, Greg, good luck. I'll be up there when I can.

You forgot the Kickstarter link:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1460605990/the-uncommons...
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-=::) Dante (::=-
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KEW GARDENS
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uncommonsnyc wrote:
plan on operating much like a coffee shop for most of the day, then becoming a dedicated gamer-meetup/play space in the afternoons and evenings. We'll stay open late, offer a wide library of games, and charge a minimal cover fee of $5 per person to borrow and play in-store.


How do you envision working that?

Cover after a certain hour? If so, what about people who came in 30 minutes before that hour and are drinking coffee or eating food?

Or is it just $5 to use the library? So does that mean it's no charge if you bring your own games for others to enjoy?

Will you waive the cover for those that have spent x dollars in your cafe?

I think this is a fantastic idea, and am all for it being financially successful, just curious about how you're thinking of working the practicalities.
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Uncommons NYC
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Good questions, thanks! As you suspected, it's just $5 to use the library, anytime, but we suspect most gamers will come later at night (and fewer coffee drinkers tend to congregate at 10PM).

We haven't settled on a policy for those who wish to bring in games- they will always be welcome, but we do need to keep the lights on and the landlord happy. We have certainly considered waiving cover charges for anyone who spends money on food or drinks, but that's not certain yet. Most board game cafes charge a cover charge for both the library and space, as do spots like Fat Cat locally.

After all, would you bring your own pool cue and balls and expect to play at a billiards hall for free? Granted, it's not a perfect analogy, but seems fair. We also offer memberships at a reasonable price that ensure you won't have to worry!
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-=::) Dante (::=-
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Absolutely hear you, and am all for your creating a sustainable business model!

That said, the billiards analogy doesn't really work because people can't already play billiards at countless other city venues without a cover or hourly table expense.

Especially since you are going to operate as an actual cafe you need to remember this community has blossomed in recent years with gamers already congregating to play games all over the city without paying a cover charge.

We have over a dozen meetups a week at Panera, Cosi, bars, and coffee shops without a cover. Some ask a voluntary donation and the vast majority only ask that we consider ordering food or drinks.

Sure it will be cool to congregate in a space dedicated to the hobby, but other than special events and the busiest nights I think you'll find it's much more profitable to have an irresistible menu of kick-ass coffee, tea, specialty beverages, snacks and food, along with a library well stocked with games people are eager to try as income generators.

I've often seen even small mandatory covers dramatically lower attendance at social gatherings where voluntary donation + larger numbers often net more income overall. (and this is at gatherings where the venue earns all the money on consumables instead of the host)

I personally have no problem at all paying $5, but with decades of event promotion experience, in getting a new gathering off the ground (without a celebrity talent draw) it's always better to get the numbers in first and only add a cover when space is at a premium and you can afford to thin the herd.

Whatever you decide in the end, we'll surely be visiting. Just offering some food for thought on how to best generate a thriving loyal community that will more than keep the lights on for many years to come.
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Ricky Dang
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Well, one thing you can do is everyone that pays the $5 cover charge has a $5 credit towards the foods and drinks in the cafe. Having a kickass menu would be a great thing. It's true there is a lot of places that has no cover fees and has the space for games, but I would enjoy the place much more if they offered foods and drinks, especially good ones.

And on that note, do look into milk tea and bubble tea Could be worth your time adding that to your menu. They are prime targets for take outs by the students there.
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Brian
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NeoGenesisX wrote:
Well, one thing you can do is everyone that pays the $5 cover charge has a $5 credit towards the foods and drinks in the cafe. Having a kickass menu would be a great thing. It's true there is a lot of places that has no cover fees and has the space for games, but I would enjoy the place much more if they offered foods and drinks, especially good ones.

And on that note, do look into milk tea and bubble tea Could be worth your time adding that to your menu. They are prime targets for take outs by the students there.

I imagine that preparing food on-site would mean that they would mean that they need to deal with the Department of Health licensing and inspections.
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M M
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Interesting. What day are you thinking of opening?

I would say that your Kickstarter membership rates look reasonable. The monthly membership on your website seems prohibitively high. Coming in 10 days out of the month is a lot; coming in more than that to push it past break-even of $5 per time would be an awful lot.
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Greg S
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Best of luck on your endeavor!

I'll have to make a trip up there and visit!
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Uncommons NYC
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Thanks for the comments!
@M M - We're still settling on pricing, and you make a great point. We don't want to be prohibitive, and definitely want to build a community.

@Kevin - We do offer memberships, and right now the Kickstarter offers them at a deep discount!

@Brian - We already have to be health department certified, so adding additional items isn't (much) of a difficulty.

@Ricky - The $5 credit towards other purchases is definitely something that we're considering.

@Dante - I've attended most of the local meetups, and you're partially right about gaming being one of those activities that can happen elsewhere.

Most coffee shops won't reserve space though, require you to bring all of your own games, and staff/managers often get annoyed if you're there for hours nursing a single drink (or worse, have members that bring their own and don't support the venue). Snakes and Lattes (and most other similar cafes) require a cover fee, and we're largely borrowing from their experience.

@Greg - Look forward to hosting! Make sure to introduce yourself to staff, and we definitely hope to offer something extra to BGG members!
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Uncommons NYC
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Hi everyone! Great news: we open tomorrow, at 8am sharp!

It will be a soft open, to be sure, as we're still getting games and training staff, but we look forward to serving (and playing with) you!

There are still a few days left on our Kickstarter campaign too, and we're happy to have already been funded, but working towards our stretch goal.

Thanks!
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Ricky Dang
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Congrats on the opening! I may have to stop by this week to check it out and meet you guys. What's the shop schedule looking like for this week? I'm thinking of dropping in Thursday or Friday.
 
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Uncommons NYC
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We're open from 8am-midnight on Monday-Thursday, until 1am on weekends, and plan to close at 10pm on Sundays.

Hope to see you around! Oh, and we posted some pictures of the place- we had several groups of gamers visit and play for awhile, and have started scheduling events. There are still a couple of days on our Kickstarter project as well, and a brand new video.

Thanks!
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