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Subject: Newly Announced Board Game Cafe in Calgary (Pips) rss

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Pauly Paul
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I read about this new board game cafe coming to Calgary. Based on Snakes and Lattes and similar stores. Calling themselves Pips. Could be cool, I think it's the first of it's kind in Calgary?
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Re: New Board Game Cafe in Calgary (Pips)
venrondua wrote:
I think it's the first of it's kind in Calgary?
Except for now defunct Trilogy Games; in it's second to last location it had a good dedicated food service counter and tables. You might also count Dickens Pub https://www.facebook.com/gamersundays/ although it's only one day a week.

It isn't the first time this type of business has been proposed or announced in Calgary, not by a long shot. For example of one of the latest: https://www.facebook.com/Krowns ,plus I know of two others preparing to open in Calgary south. These establishments never seem to get off the ground, beyond the promotion/announcement stage. The problem with Pips is it may be too close to Sentry Box and it's large free gaming area. A lot will depend on the the gaming area, the size and conditions of the (expected) cover charge, and hours of operation. If it's just a pub with rectangular tables, gateway games on a shelf, and closing at Eight, I'd pass. If it gets the formula right the place could be great.
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Pauly Paul
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Re: New Board Game Cafe in Calgary (Pips)
flapjackmachine wrote:
venrondua wrote:
I think it's the first of it's kind in Calgary?
Except for now defunct Trilogy Games; in it's second to last location it had a good dedicated food service counter and tables. You might also count Dickens Pub https://www.facebook.com/gamersundays/ although it's only one day a week.

It isn't the first time this type of business has been proposed or announced in Calgary, not by a long shot. For example of one of the latest: https://www.facebook.com/Krowns ,plus I know of two others preparing to open in Calgary south. These establishments never seem to get off the ground, beyond the promotion/announcement stage. The problem with Pips is it may be too close to Sentry Box and it's large free gaming area. A lot will depend on the the gaming area, the size and conditions of the (expected) cover charge, and hours of operation. If it's just a pub with rectangular tables, gateway games on a shelf, and closing at Eight, I'd pass. If it gets the formula right the place could be great.
I'm not sure about that. I went to Snakes and Lattes when I was last in Toronto and the place had a totally different vibe than Sentry Box does. They are going after different markets and can easily co-exist. To be honest I would game at a Snakes and Lattes type of place over a Sentry Box type of place myself.

Whether the first or not, I'm excited to see that type of location popping up here. I hope they (and any others that open) do well.
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Re: New Board Game Cafe in Calgary (Pips)
venrondua wrote:
I read about this new board game cafe coming to Calgary. Based on Snakes and Lattes and similar stores. Calling themselves Pips. Could be cool, I think it's the first of it's kind in Calgary?
Would you kindly edit the subject to indicate that a cafe has been merely announced for Calgary? I'm sure I'm not the first to have read the current subject and subsequently thought that the cafe was already in business. Thanks in advance!
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Jon Baxter
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Neither Trilogy or Dickens were or are game cafes, they really aren't that close.


Trilogy had snacks, toss in some ice cream and a microwave mostly.

Dickens has occasional gaming with a limited selection of games and bar food (funny enough being a bar).

Krowns was, well, we can just say it was an idea and leave it at that. whistle

There's also the cafe Pete and I had been working on though it's never been far along the early progress stage. I'm not willing to bite the bullet without more money to deal with opening and in this economy it's a bit scary.

My thought is that a game cafe will go gangbusters in activity and will almost certainly be successful if done right, however it really needs to have enough money to support it in case that takes longer time to get going than expected.

Pips I think has some good opportunity for success, however they really need a core team of people that know a lot about games, they also need to actually be a board game cafe- it needs proper atmosphere and ambiance, and so much more. The location is a huge problem, it is nice and accessible from Crowchild and with good bus service, no train access will hurt it but it does have a nice demographic and alright foot traffic.


Sentry Box has always been the Achilles heal of a Calgary games cafe, however it's really not as big of an issue as people might expect. While it certainly has the space it does not have the atmosphere or ambiance, harsh lights and foldout tables does not make for the best gaming, although this is far and away better than the days of the exploding lawn chairs (boy those were fun to watch).

Neither does the Sentry Box have a large selection of games to play, it does have lots though and of course the best selection in town to buy from. I've really enjoyed gaming there many times since the 90's and have got to say that the owner, Gord, has been a great asset to the community and his desire to offer so much free gaming space has been amazing. The decor is getting much better than it once was but is not what I'd consider for a games cafe.

The Sentry Box is a great place for gamers to go, however gamers are not something that forms a large part of a games cafe clientele. So there is not a huge amount of crossover for people wanting to play games.

Quite frankly games cafes are likely going to be what replaces most game stores, especially in large metropolitan centre, with online sales just killing a lot of local retail it's also a more secure financial choice for most people that are looking at the choice of opening one or the other.

While Pips would be relatively close to the Sentry Box, the Box is mostly at capacity a lot of the week as it is, and as I mentioned the people that frequent cafes are predominantly not hardcore gamers. So there's a chance, probably the best chance at the moment, and being first to market is absolutely huge, and if they did open that's their best chance of success.

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Metal Galaxy is also looking at opening a game Cafe/Bistro on MacLeod

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Jon Baxter
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We'll really only know what is going to happen when we get a good look. There won't be a full kitchen from what I know- which isn't much. I'm interested to see how it looks and if it'll have the atmosphere of a cafe or a store. I'm personally not a fan of harsh florescent lights for a cafe, I'm sure they'll think of something interesting.

 
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Pauly Paul
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I agree they will need good "gaming guru's" if they want to be successful. Someone to correctly assess the needs of an individual and suggest the right title for them. When faced with a wall of selection a little guidance to narrow down the choice is key.

When I was at Snakes and Lattes I got to meet Steve Tassie. I was spoiled for choice there and he suggested the right game for us (just me and my girlfriend with only a little time to spare).

I did think the place was cool. You paid your cover and then got to pick s game off the shelf to play. Great opportunity to try before you buy.

I agree with Jon though. Sentry Box is a different market and one that might not last. That would be sad as I have memories of going there back when they were in Marda Loop.
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venrondua wrote:
I agree they will need good "gaming guru's" if they want to be successful. Someone to correctly assess the needs of an individual and suggest the right title for them. When faced with a wall of selection a little guidance to narrow down the choice is key.
Pretty sure it's not just going to be individuals one at a time, but groups who come in together, no?

Quote:
I did think the place was cool. You paid your cover and then got to pick s game off the shelf to play. Great opportunity to try before you buy.
Hmm, as a prospective client, I'd balk at a cover charge as there are already great gaming events around town that impose no cover and provide the same opportunities to try before buying. Yet I'm perfectly willing to purchase food and drink, if available, at the venue.

Gamer Sundays at Dickens is probably the closest thing Calgary has to a game café, as noted above, and they don't impose a cover. They don't need one: the event became profitable for the bar very quickly after it began, and it's going strong—its 4th anniversary is later this month.

Quote:
I agree with Jon though. Sentry Box is a different market and one that might not last. That would be sad as I have memories of going there back when they were in Marda Loop.
Seems premature to be discussing the potential decline of the Sentry Box when no café has even opened yet.

Does anyone know of other cities' FLGSs that have experienced a decline in business as a result of a gaming restaurant or café?
 
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Shane
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B Factor wrote:
Does anyone know of other cities' FLGSs that have experienced a decline in business as a result of a gaming restaurant or café?
I think it was mentioned already, but it's online sales that will kill LGSs, (and FLGSs), not game cafes. Something will need to change to the pricing structure of games if physical stores are to survive into the distant future.
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Matt J
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SD40 wrote:
B Factor wrote:
Does anyone know of other cities' FLGSs that have experienced a decline in business as a result of a gaming restaurant or café?
I think it was mentioned already, but it's online sales that will kill LGSs, (and FLGSs), not game cafes. Something will need to change to the pricing structure of games if physical stores are to survive into the distant future.
I agree with this. I don't see a cafe as a huge threat to the local shops. The online pricing is the killer. I try to support the local guys whenever I can, but sometimes it is just too much of a difference... But that is a completely different conversation.
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B Factor wrote:

Quote:
I did think the place was cool. You paid your cover and then got to pick s game off the shelf to play. Great opportunity to try before you buy.
Hmm, as a prospective client, I'd balk at a cover charge as there are already great gaming events around town that impose no cover and provide the same opportunities to try before buying. Yet I'm perfectly willing to purchase food and drink, if available, at the venue.
Unfortunately, from what I've seen, not everyone does make a purchase.

I think having a minimum purchase is perfectly reasonable.
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Pauly Paul
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B Factor wrote:
venrondua wrote:
I agree they will need good "gaming guru's" if they want to be successful. Someone to correctly assess the needs of an individual and suggest the right title for them. When faced with a wall of selection a little guidance to narrow down the choice is key.
Pretty sure it's not just going to be individuals one at a time, but groups who come in together, no?

Quote:
I did think the place was cool. You paid your cover and then got to pick s game off the shelf to play. Great opportunity to try before you buy.
Hmm, as a prospective client, I'd balk at a cover charge as there are already great gaming events around town that impose no cover and provide the same opportunities to try before buying. Yet I'm perfectly willing to purchase food and drink, if available, at the venue.

Gamer Sundays at Dickens is probably the closest thing Calgary has to a game café, as noted above, and they don't impose a cover. They don't need one: the event became profitable for the bar very quickly after it began, and it's going strong—its 4th anniversary is later this month.

Quote:
I agree with Jon though. Sentry Box is a different market and one that might not last. That would be sad as I have memories of going there back when they were in Marda Loop.
Seems premature to be discussing the potential decline of the Sentry Box when no café has even opened yet.

Does anyone know of other cities' FLGSs that have experienced a decline in business as a result of a gaming restaurant or café?
I feel like you're picking on me with my wording. Perhaps "individual" wasn't the right word. The meaning was someone to help guide people (if they want it).

Snakes and Lattes wasn't a Sentry Box. They are different places with different experiences (although similar and with some crossover). I has no issue paying the cover (which is not per game). However just like how some bars or clubs charge a cover, not everyone is going to be okay with that. Sounds like you're already getting an experience that offers value and enjoyment for you. That's awesome. This new cafe probably isn't for you.
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David Minken
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This is excellent news for all of us. I live by the philosophy that a rising tide lifts all ships. I wish the owners great success and look forward to supporting them!

The location of the cafe is particularly dear to me as I hosted "Boards 'n Bites" every Saturday night at the previous establishment - The Loop - for about 6 months a little while ago. It was wildly successful - the staff looked forward to these nights because they were always their busiest and most profitable. We had many repeat customers and even hosted birthday parties for the local kids! Sadly the restaurant itself had problems launching an appropriate evening menu and has subsequently closed.

What type of clientèle did I observe at Boards 'n Bites? They are what I call "executive dad" and "soccer mom". (If you situation is "executive mom" and "soccer dad" cool...please don't be offended by my terms). They have money (or at least like to spend it); they have kids; and they often don't know what to do with either.

This is the clientele that lives in walking distance in Marda Loop. This is the clientele that does not know that they like board games yet. This is the clientele that is willing to pay for an amazing experience for their family in a contemporary environment (i.e. a starbucks environment) in which they are accustomed to. They do not want to sit in a basement. They do not want to hang out in a game store. These are not environments that they frequent. Sure, a lot of us here on a BGG forum feel comfortable in these environments and would not pay to go to them. But we do not represent the typical Marda loop person or young executive.

I have a great relationship with the Sentry Box. I buy a lot of games and over half of them are purchased from the Sentry box. I am firm believer in "shopping local". Plus they give so much to many of the events that we frequent, I feel obliged to want to give back and support them. I host a lot of events around Calgary through Connect More (Meet.Eat.Compete.) and I give coupons to The Sentry Box at every event. Originally when I gave the coupons the feedback I got was that "soccer mom" went, walked up to the door, saw that Magic Lady on the front, then left without going in (I told Greg this...she isn't there anymore!). Again, it is about the environment and about feeling welcome and comfortable.

A board game cafe provides an entry point to a very large, untapped market in Calgary. A comfortable environment to those who don't want to be gamers - they just want fun with their families and are willing to pay for that experience.

For those of you that know me personally you will know that I have many, many more detailed thoughts. I would prefer we just meet for coffee and chat than babble on here!

As Gamers and Calgarians I would encourage all of us to fully support the store (to the best of our ability) and to shop local.

I trust you guys/gals will have an amazing day in the best city in the world!

Cheers,
David Minken
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Pascal Espinosa
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Metal Galaxy will be opening in early January and featuring a Bistro style menu, board game cafe concept as well as a "traditional" FLGS all in one. So, you could say a Hybrid store
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Cool, that is about 2k from my house.

A bit of an odd location but it is near a, (my OLD), high school. Nothing like that Magic crack ... just kidding

Also close to some competition, (Imaginary Wars - no food).

Wish them all the best and will definitely check them out!
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ConnectMore wrote:
Originally when I gave the coupons the feedback I got was that "soccer mom" went, walked up to the door, saw that Magic Lady on the front, then left without going in (I told Greg this...she isn't there anymore!).
That's what happened to Magic Lady? You monster.
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speltor wrote:
ConnectMore wrote:
Originally when I gave the coupons the feedback I got was that "soccer mom" went, walked up to the door, saw that Magic Lady on the front, then left without going in (I told Greg this...she isn't there anymore!).
That's what happened to Magic Lady? You monster.
The iconic 1980's metal fantasy art is no longer relevant to the gamers of today. While kitschy and cool to geeks, it's scary and un-welcoming to the 'average' parent, and does not look to be a suitable environment to leave your kids in.

The current iconography, and clean logo design currently at the Sentry Box is slick, elegant, and very much in line with what modern parents expect from a common gathering place for themselves and children.

There's a huge, un-tapped market of gamers out there. I'm sure they would enjoy having their own hang out that appeals to their own senses.

I believe there's room for both game stores, and game cafés.

EDIT:

I'm going to add one last thing;

When radio came out, the newspaper was supposed to die.
When TV came out, it was going to kill radio.
When the internet began, TV was going to die.
When eBooks came out, print was supposed to die.

I think we're starting to see a pattern here. I know for fact that the physical store retail model is not going anywhere. There is plenty of room in the market for all kinds of retail models (FLGS, OLGS, Game Cafe, etc.), and while some might not be the giants they were of yesteryear, they will still be successful, and have room for growth....as long as they're done right.
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Jon Baxter
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Ghool wrote:

When radio came out, the newspaper was supposed to die.
When TV came out, it was going to kill radio.
When the internet began, TV was going to die.
When eBooks came out, print was supposed to die.


Newspaper is mostly dead.
Radio is mostly dead.
TV is mostly dead.
Print is mostly dead.



Other than that, I agree. whistle
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jgbaxter wrote:
Ghool wrote:

When radio came out, the newspaper was supposed to die.
When TV came out, it was going to kill radio.
When the internet began, TV was going to die.
When eBooks came out, print was supposed to die.


Newspaper is mostly dead.
Radio is mostly dead.
TV is mostly dead.
Print is mostly dead.



Other than that, I agree. whistle
I work in a book store. The past two years have seen large amounts of growth in print book sales. eBook sales are slumping.

Newspapers are still around, albeit, smaller, and less prolific.

Radio is still around, just with more stations belonging to a single corporate group.

Cable/pay TV is dead, yes. But networks are still producing shows, and making tons of money. The only thing that changed is how people watch a show. On demand and streaming services are more popular than a service you have to schedule your life around.

I'd say my point is valid - the mediums have had to adapt and change, some have shrunk, but none are completely dead despite the doom bell ringing for decades now.

The threat of the OLGS has been around for close to a decade, and while some areas are harder hit than others, the FLGS model is still valid. Unless people stop leaving their homes entirely, the traditional retail model will still be around for decades to come.
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Jon Baxter
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Oh I'm sure those things are somewhat true and that your point isn't completely incorrect. Sorry if that came across that way.

The point is those media are mostly irrelevant. Comparatively that is, and especially in being the most useful ways to absorb what they offer when other, usually better options exist. Exceptions can apply, and obviously I'm not talking in every situation everywhere on the planet. Just the vast and overwhelming majority of situations.

Books are a tiny fraction of previous sales, has there been a tiny increase in book sales, sure, is that tiny increase relevant, not really- except how it relates comparatively to ebook sales and even that isn't that important in my mind. I'm glad to see that most of the bleeding has stopped, for now anyway, and I'd really hope that things improve more.

Radio is going to be around probably forever, with less and less meaning every second. I like radio, but it's filled with commercials and is hardly used at all compared to what it used to be.

Cable/pay tv isn't dead actually, far from it, but it is mostly dead until those involved wake up. On demand and streaming is relatively minor compared to PVR use, and such a great way to ignore commercials.

As I said, none of those medium are dead completely, just 'mostly' or are dying. Things are starting to accelerate for some of them and others may have occasional increases in relevance and utility, they're still mostly dead.


FLGS are going strong in lots of places, and in most places are getting hit very hard. OLGS is not going to kill FLGS, it's certainly going to maim and cripple them generally.

Saying FLGS as a rule will be around for decades to come is not that realistic, even if I'd like that to be the case. It took about 5 years for the entire video rental industry to completely die off (except a few stores here and there). That's a huge, fast, and dramatic change.

Every single day FLGS take a bigger and bigger hit, if only because more and more people are using online shopping in general. The best FLGS are going to survive by being able to make certain changes, such as loyalty programs, customer service, good selection, offering discounts for pre-orders, having a nice atmosphere, and being able to offer gaming space while running a variety of events and tournaments. In some cases FLGS will transition to a hybrid model of a cafe or offering more amenities.

The Sentry Box in Calgary is one of the best examples of moving steadily towards improving every angle of their business model by being there for the customers that have supported them over the years. Another good example is Mission Fun & Games in Edmonton.


So yes, FLGS aren't going to die anytime soon, it is however getting hammered hard.
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haha - I'm not sure that I can take credit. As already mentioned the team at The Sentry Box are pretty aware and alert to the changing times!

speltor wrote:
ConnectMore wrote:
Originally when I gave the coupons the feedback I got was that "soccer mom" went, walked up to the door, saw that Magic Lady on the front, then left without going in (I told Greg this...she isn't there anymore!).
That's what happened to Magic Lady? You monster.
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I dropped in today to visit, and to donate copies of Steampunk Rally, Super Motherload, and Coven. Their kitchen looks to be large and they will have a good selection of both games and food, and they will be licensed, apparently. I get a very good vibe from the owners and staff, and the neighbourhood is really cool... they have parking behind the store as well, which is at a premium anywhere in Calgary.

I would say that if anyone's going to succeed at this in this city, they will.

And there's plenty of room for both Pips and the Sentry Box in this city. I'm a massive Sentry Box fan, and I see no reason why the two stores should be in competition with each other at all.
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mind_ranger wrote:
I dropped in today to visit, and to donate copies of Steampunk Rally, Super Motherload, and Coven. Their kitchen looks to be large and they will have a good selection of both games and food, and they will be licensed, apparently. I get a very good vibe from the owners and staff, and the neighbourhood is really cool... they have parking behind the store as well, which is at a premium anywhere in Calgary.

I would say that if anyone's going to succeed at this in this city, they will.

And there's plenty of room for both Pips and the Sentry Box in this city. I'm a massive Sentry Box fan, and I see no reason why the two stores should be in competition with each other at all.
So are they open now then?
 
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