Any board game player will report that a player's true personality comes out after hours hunched around a game table, locked in competition. Many friendships and memories have been made as armies are built, dungeons explored and mysteries are solved by a group of folks gathered around a board game. Geek City Guides lists many game stores and board game cafes throughout the US, but someplace a little different has sprung up in Omaha, Nebraska. Spielbound Board Game Cafe had their official opening at the beginning of October after working out the kinks during the month of September. Their mission and approach is a little bit different than other board game cafes.
Spielbound is establishing itself as a not-for-profit organization that hopes to "educate, entertain, and create community through board games" by creating a family friendly and welcoming environment. The cafe offers a complete menu including a full coffee bar, as well as beer and wine. There is no admission fee to enter and browse the library and enjoy a meal. The real fun begins with a membership to utilize the expansive game library and Spielbound offers several options for participation.
The library was born from the personal collection of CEO, Dr. Kaleb Michaud, who wanted to establish a place were folks could find and play rare or hard to find titles, as well as enjoy the classics. Currently, the library has well over 1000 titles, with new additions coming almost daily. To have access to the library, patrons can either purchase a day pass or full membership. Membership payment comes with both monthly or yearly options and family plans are also available. Initially, Kaleb reports, “ I have pushed for memberships so that people will come in and play a game at any time and not just come in with a group on Friday or Saturday night for 5 hours and not return until that happens again. I want to remove barriers to try something new”. There are several rooms available for reservation and rental to accommodate groups of any size.
The locals have already discovered Spielbound and according to Aleksandra, one of the staff members, Friday and Saturday nights have had a full house with all the tables utilized. She relates that the library serves gamers of all ages and that a variety of patrons can be generally found exploring the library. Kaleb also reports that “the young professional crowd is the most common demographic, but we definitely get the full range (newborn to elderly) every day.” The fact that the cafe offers a full menu, promotes extended gameplay. There is generally a combination of employees and volunteers to answer questions and help out any noobs with acclimating.
This is just the beginning for Speilbound. The leadership plans to expand into other avenues of growth and community support but are currently focusing on the cafe and website. Again, Kaleb reports that “[Spielbound doesn’t] aim to be a geek haven, rather we want to be a place where everyone feels welcome to come. We aim to grow the number of people exposed to these games and help prove that everyone is a gamer, without actually calling them that. :-)” What a fantastic and inclusive goal. Spielbound should be on your travel agenda when traveling through Nebraska so you can stop in, have a drink and experience some great new games and an enthusiastic community.