The board game café is the first of its kind in New Mexico.
Rory Veronda, the owner of Empire Board Game Library, said he was influenced by board game cafés in Europe and Canada. The Empire Board Game Library contains more than 600 games, including iconic games like Monopoly and Risk as well as the various themed boards.
“The idea is that we want to build a board game community and build a collection,” he said.
Veronda said the café owns games that may be seen by some customers as unapproachable; however, for only $3 an hour, customers have access to hundreds of games.
“I wanted a place where you could come in a have exposure to these games, learn them and get a game on the table,” he said. “So, you can come in here to play Dead of Winter, which is an $80 game. You can get it and you can try it before you spend that kind of money on a board game.”
The hosts are classified as game specialists, as they are available to answer any questions a person might have about how to play the game. One game specialist, Victor Armand Hall, a UNM alumnus, said the café features a variety of game genres, from family games to steampunk strategy games.
“The main focus is definitely the library,” he said. “The idea is that you come and sit down and play. Some of these games are really long.”
Hall said due to expansions and gameplay, some games, such as Twilight Imperium, can take time to finish. The Empire Board Game Library hosts the original games as well as their expansions.
Eloiza Silva, a customer, said she saw the grand opening sign and came in out of curiosity.
“The service was really, really good,” Silva said. “The guys helping with the games are really amazing, so we are really thankful for that. It helps you get into the game really fast — otherwise you are stuck reading the game instructions for a while.”
Imani Lambert is a freelance reporter for the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @DailyLobo.
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