We are Monopolatte, a board game café based out of Ottawa, Ontario. We've had a lot of support from the Reddit community (especially /r/ottawa) and we thought we would try to give back. We're more than happy to answer even the dorkiest of questions about board games, running a small business, or life in a niche industry. Ask us anything!

Proof, from our official Twitter account.

Comments: 310 • Responses: 70  • Date: 

stealth_jeffersonian36 karma

What's the single worst board game ever created, and why?

Monopolatte66 karma

We have a sexist, awful thing called About Us: Grown-Up Girls that the manufacturer dropped off at our place, hoping for exposure. Trivia game about women, which you win by building a full outfit. Exclusively refers to women as "grown-up girls". Truly miserable; we only pull it out when people ask this exact question.

TheSambassador2 karma

Are you sure it's not a bit satirical? Ladies and Gentlemen is a pretty great game that pokes fun at the Victorian Era gender roles and is definitely a bit tongue and cheek. Your game does sounds pretty bad though.

Monopolatte2 karma

Not in the least. It's 100% serious.

SouthernJeb27 karma

Do you ever just get board of it all...?

Monopolatte51 karma

You didn't Risk much for that pun.

SouthernJeb17 karma

Well I couldnt really, as most other Redditors usually have a monopoly on the pun threads...

Monopolatte29 karma

You run into Trouble being so late to the comment sections. Honestly, you don't have a Clue.

Dustinj19911 karma

please reply with sorry please reply with sorry

Monopolatte6 karma

We already made that joke for Canada Day!

Frajer22 karma

Are you worried about pieces going missing?

Monopolatte70 karma

It happens all the time, of course- you can only keep so many games perfectly organized. We have a bag of ~mystery pieces~ that our collossally dorky staff can usually identify and send back to their homes.

When pieces are gone for good, we usually borrow pieces from our back-up sets. We're also working on getting our 3D printer up and running- which we are hugely excited about.

voiceadrift13 karma

For your missing pieces, Fantasy Flight makes sets of coloured game pieces that can be used to replace nearly anything: http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/edge_minisite_sec.asp?eidm=86&esem=2&esum=127 and http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/edge_minisite_sec.asp?eidm=86&esem=2&esum=182

Monopolatte2 karma

They also do amazing sleeves. They're just great in general.

4861707079204e65772017 karma

Cool! I've seen a couple similar concepts, and they always have trouble commercializing their vision. How do you take an inherently difficult-to-monetize product and turn a profit? What's your strategy to turn the social board game experience into a product?

Monopolatte16 karma

We have a couple things that make our lives easier. The service industry is tumultuous, so we have to be prepared for big fluctuations in customers on any given night. To that end, we have a small capacity and a waiting list, instead of a huge dining hall that's mostly empty half the time. Combined with our location, we're paying a small amount of rent, which is great... overhead is a killer.

As for turning a profit, we charge a cover to maintain the costs of our library. Being licensed to sell alcohol helps a lot.

4861707079204e6577208 karma

Definitely a smart move to opt for a small space you can always fill up. Have you considered doing a 'season ticket' type deal where repeat customers can pay a discounted rate for a set number of slots? That could help make your revenue structure more robust for when you have slow months, especially if you have a lot of repeat customers (I'm assuming most are repeat customers given the product).

Monopolatte12 karma

This is a very cool idea. We get a lot of new customers, but our regulars are pretty much the best group of people you can have. Maybe setting up a "season pass" would be a good idea- we're always looking for new ways to connect.

WolfImWolfspelz16 karma

How big has a city to be for a board game cafe to make sense?

Monopolatte31 karma

An example might be best for this. Our city has a population of over a million people, so it was a no brainer that there would be support from our local geeks. But the smallest city I know of with a board game café is Sudbury, with Let's Scrabblatte ("let's grab a latte"). Their population is just over 150,000... really rather tiny! But they seem to be doing alright for themselves.

eye_assassin5 karma

We have a board game café here in Oxford, UK.. Our population is about 150k too _^ It's not too successful though because it is quite expensive to eat/drink. They also charge per person on entry, something like £9 each. How do you charge?

Monopolatte10 karma

We do a $5 cover charge to keep our library up to date. Nine pounds seems like a lot!

MLBfreek355 karma

Do you really spend all that money on keeping your library up to date?

Monopolatte3 karma

Certainly not all of it. Our covers go towards our operating expenses as well. But board games are expensive-- some of the more serious ones, or those with miniatures, can go for upwards of $100.

desafortunada14 karma

What's your most popular game?

Monopolatte43 karma

Cards Against Humanity, hands down. It markets itself as Apples to Apples for horrible people. And that's pretty accurate-- it's more of a conduit for dirty jokes than a game, but it's insanely, rabidly popular.

picc123311 karma

Wow, Congrats to you guys. What game do you find is the most mentally engaging? Im looking for a good strategy game that is more than just luck!

Edit: Wow, thanks guys, I have a whole new direction to look in. /u/timotab, thanks for the tip on /r/boardgames. I own settlers, and I love it. Keep rolling in with any outstanding game ideas you have.

Monopolatte25 karma

That's such a hard question! There are hundreds of gorgeously designed modern board games that try to bend your brain in the most delightful ways. The kind of luck-averse games you're looking for are usually called Euro-style board games, and they're all about optimization and direct strategy. Some good board games to introduce yourself and your friends to Euro-style gaming are the immensely popular Settlers of Catan; train-loving Ticket to Ride; puzzle-like French town builder Carcassonne; and, the beautiful Alhambra.

If you're already familiar with these kinds of games, then I would recommend Tigris and Euphrates, a brilliant war over the rivers of ancient Mesopotamia. It's one of the more brain-bending ones we have.

slow56k5 karma

The most mentally engaging? That's a tall order!

Android: Netrunner is a two-player card game, by the designer of Magic: the Gathering. The distribution model eliminates any time of random boosters, and chasing rares.
It is an awesome game. There is still some luck, but you mitigate it with your decisions - and there are plenty!

If you haven't played a modern board game (made in the past, say, 20 years, and with the designer's name on the front), you should check out The Resistance: Avalon. It's like $15 on amazon. I'll buy it from you if you don't like it. This one is all about social deduction for 5-10 players. No player elimination, so you're all playing until the last, climactic moment!

Monopolatte9 karma

Backing this person-- while I personally hate Netrunner, it's an extremely well-designed game, and some of our regulars really like it. The Resistance is a great place to get into the hobby, but you need a group of at least 5 willing to play it.

CaptainChewbacca10 karma

My friends and I are trying to start a similar business in California. How did you decide table size and game selection? Any advice you would offer to some entrepenuers?

AsianSailBoat2 karma

Would love to see this question answered. It is very practical

Monopolatte2 karma

You're right. We took care of it here.

Monopolatte2 karma

It's a hard decision. What we aimed for with our tables was modularity-- our space allows for a bunch of our tables to be pushed together to accomodate for fluctuations in group size. We have tables of four that turn into tables of eight, etc.

Game selection is more tricky. A lot of our one-offs and vintage stuff got picked up from local thrift stores on the cheap. The rest of our selection either came from our owner's personal library, or were carefully chosen based on a few factors:

  • Balance among amount of players, level of strategy, and price.
  • Level of popularity amongst board game dorks, and with the general public.
  • In the future, we would have gotten less expansions off the bat. Most people just want the base games, and it wasn't the most finely tuned investment.

ducky-momo8 karma

A board game cafe just opened in my neighborhood and it's all the rage right now. I haven't gone myself, but I hear my friends raving over the same games again and again. What are some games you personally favor, that you would love for people to play, but aren't so popular with the masses?

Congratulations, by the way!

Monopolatte11 karma

There are two kinds of "the masses", here-- the board game geek community, and the average person who walks into our store.

For the average person, looking to try some new things: Coup, a short role game where you lie to your friends, and then try to kill them (I know what you're thinking; it's nothing like Monopoly!); King of Tokyo, which is basically battle Yahtzee with giant monsters; Rampage, where you are physically destroying the game board and it is amazingly fun; and, Ticket to Ride, which is admittedly very popular, but a lot of people still haven't played if they don't have friends into boards.

For the board game geek, things are significantly trickier. They're well-read! I tend to recommend Machine of Death, a cooperative game where you're all assassins getting creative to take out your victims. People also tend to enjoy Nothing Personal, a small-release mafia game that takes a while to play but has enough deep strategy for seasoned gamers.

Mustangarrett2 karma

How do you keep Rampage clean? I figure it would be covered in beer spittle.

Monopolatte3 karma

There are marginally too many rules in Rampage for the truly drunk.

Jux_8 karma

How are your financials looking?

Monopolatte8 karma

We're lucky enough to be in the cheap-rent part of town, so things are going pretty well. It's a balancing act keeping overhead down and juggling low prices with high-quality service, but like most small businesses we do our best. Helps a lot of have devoted staff who really care about the place, and regular customers who support us.

kornholyoyo7 karma

Do you feel the amount of resources required to start up this type of business is worth it? How long is the ROI for a business like this.

Monopolatte7 karma

"Worth it" for us is the pleasure we can give people by showing them the hobby we love. If you're in it for the profit, you're picking the wrong industry.

Amator7 karma

I love the idea of opening a shop like this in my medium sized city (we have around 250,000 in our four-county-area with around 7 hobby game shops, so things are spread out, but lots of gamers) so I'm going to bore you with questions.

  1. What kind of food/drinks do you sell?
  2. What are your hours and how many employees do you have now?
  3. Can you give a brief estimate of your startup costs? How many months operating expenses did you bankroll before starting out?
  4. Do you also sell games or game accessories?

Thanks!

Monopolatte12 karma

  1. We sell mostly sandwich fare. We do a lot of grilled cheese and paninis. People want something easy to pick up and eat while they play. As for drinks, we take pride in our espresso beverages, and we're also fully licensed to sell booze.

  2. We're open a loooong time most days. 12 PM - 2 AM on weekdays, 11 AM - 3 AM on weekends. We have about nine people on staff.

  3. I'm not sure how candid I should be with our finances (I know, I know, I should have done an AMAA,) but there's a significant investment for this kind of business. Not only do you have the standard equipment costs of a café, you're also dealing with amassing a huge library. It adds up. The more capital you have, the better.

  4. We do sell games- though it's a modest part of our profits. We like people to be able to stir their love of gaming with their friends who don't like to go out as much, so we keep some games on hand for sale.

PromoPimp7 karma

Do you avoid rules heavy games like Axis and Allies or (a game I recently purchased and haven't had the multiple hours needed to set up/learn) Arkham Horror?

Also... do you have Diplomacy and has there ever been a fight over it?

Monopolatte7 karma

Great question. A lot of our heavier games spend more time sitting on the shelf because they're just too much for what our average customer is looking for. A lot of people just want to get nostalgic over a few beers, and don't want to intensive, all-encompassing board game experience. When people ask us about big games, we let them know what they're getting into... and if they still want to try it out, we're more than happy to help.

Diplomacy doesn't get played much! Great game, but it's been out of the spotlight for a while, so people don't think to pull it off the shelf.

amightyrobot3 karma

Diplomacy doesn't get played much!

This one's not too surprising - I'm sure your cafe is very nice, but not everyone is going to want to spend 8-12 hours there. Twilight Imperium probably doesn't get a whole lot of play either!

Monopolatte3 karma

Definitely seen TI pulled off the shelf more times than Diplomacy. It's probably in part just the age of it.

DamoclesThread6 karma

How many people come out on an average night?

Monopolatte9 karma

Maybe 80 people? Our capacity is 38 (including staff). We get pretty packed, but we're open late, so there's a lot of opportunity to stay and play.

two_off5 karma

Which game brings out the most shouting from its players?

Monopolatte33 karma

Probably The Resistance, where some of the players are spies trying to convince their friends that they're still working on the same team. Lots of cries of YOU'RE A SPY countered by NO, YOU'RE A SPY!

But the noisiest game has nothing to do with shouting-- Hungry Hungry Hippos is a plastic cacophony.

rb6125 karma

How has the digital age changed your customer demographic and café's goals?

Monopolatte11 karma

We think people still like the idea of putting down the smart phones and picking up the cardboard. People do still ask us if we have WiFi, but our answer is no: we're trying to create a space for face-to-face interaction. We think it's important-- if you've got a beer in one hand and a phone in the other, what do you hold the dice with?

Speaking personally, I went to board games in part because of the slow decline in local split-screen multiplayer video games. So we get a lot of people who just want to play with their friends in the same room like they did growing up.

Some people want to go nostalgic and play Trouble- others are hardcore cardboard lovers. We get everyone from college kids to middle-aged coworkers to young families, and they all feel at home in different ways. It's pretty heartwarming, honestly, and we feel like we do good work because of it.

Catha_Edulis5 karma

So, how many times have you seen someone flip a monopoly board and storm out?

Monopolatte13 karma

Never, actually. Maybe it's because we're a public space, but I've never personally seen anyone get angry enough for that sort of thing.

brosciencealliance4 karma

Since I am only familiar with board games that reached mass popularity (Monopoly,Scrabble, etc) What is a board game that you would recommend that I probably haven't heard of?

name_with_a_y9 karma

Not OP obviously but most people start with Ticket To Ride, Settlers Of Catan or Dominion.

Some of my favorite "intro" games are Star Realms, Lords Of Waterdeep and BattleCON: Devastation of Indines.

Monopolatte3 karma

Backing these; name_with_a_y knows their stuff.

Monopolatte1 karma

As you might have gathered from these replies, there's a whole world out there. You might want to check our /r/boardgames. They're an amazing community, and a good place to start (and be amazed).

Hatless3 karma

What's your favourite board game that isn't (yet) at Monopolatte?

Monopolatte6 karma

I brought in my own copy of it, but I have to say Machine of Death. You're trying to work together as assassins to take out a target. It's a storytelling game, though, and it can get to totally delightful levels of ridiculous.

thebluebeagal3 karma

Two questions: Why aren't you in Dallas and when will you be opening one in Dallas?

Monopolatte6 karma

This is adorable. I wish we had more plans to expand. You guys sound hungry for board games.

ParrotSTD3 karma

Have you guys ever played Singularity Chess? And how long was your longest game of anything?

Monopolatte7 karma

The longest game I've seen in house was a full six-eight hours of Twilight Imperium. Loooong game, and everyone was getting really into it. We have a lot of games that have ambitious runtimes, but people don't usually look for that.

I haven't tried Singularity Chess, but from a Googling it looks extremely cool.

Droviin3 karma

How hard was it to start? Do you need to replace copies of games frequently, or do you still have the ones you started with? Do you have the original pieces or do you have big bag of replacements?

Also, congratulations and good luck!

Monopolatte9 karma

A lot of our games are the same ones we started with-- but that's partly because we make an effort to keep them safe. We sleeve the cards for our most popular games, and we keep backups that we raid for pieces. Some of our games have needed replacements, though-- most notably, Tsuro, which is beautiful beyond all reason but was loved to death.

tothegarbage23 karma

As a fellow small business owner, I say congrats. People dont realize how hard we work.

So how was profitability in your first year? Board game bar would be the sort of thing I'd love to open but I dont live somewhere that could support something like that.

Monopolatte3 karma

There's a lot of up-front investment for our particular niche, so we did have to deal with that early on. I can't speak to the long-term future of our business yet- just like any one year-old, we still have a lot of growing up to do. But we're very proud of what we've managed to accomplish so far, and only looking forward.

wolfkin3 karma

How much hand holding do you do? Do you give people trouble if they ask for trouble? Do you guys ever try to suggest more contemporary games they might be interested?

If so what games have you had the most success with introducing new players to?

Speaking of what's the atmosphere like in terms of what's played? Are you getting a lot of classic players looking for Monopoly or newer players looking to try the latest and greatest before they buy.

Monopolatte7 karma

We help people as much as they need it, and as much as they can. My governing rules for teaching games: answer questions as soon as they're asked (try not to provide "I'll get to it later"s); don't make their moves for them; make sure everyone is on a level playing field by making it into a dialogue, not a monologue.

Some of the best games for introducing casual visitors into the board game world are Ticket to Ride and Carcassonne, both cornerstones of Euro-style gaming. Lots of people love these right off the bat.

We get about 70/30 social, casual folks and hardcore game lovers. We try to do the best we can to help both with what they need!

Auth3nticRory3 karma

Do you shy away from keeping games with too many pieces? (Caverna) and what are your table sizes? can you have tables for 7 player games?

Monopolatte3 karma

No, we have plenty of games with a lot of pieces. People are pretty good about putting things back the way they are. Even when they're a little beer-addled, our customers are sweethearts who take care of our games.

We have a small café, but we've still had some huge groups in. We regularly have tables of 8, and I've seen as large as an 18-person megatable. What a huge game!

MrSatirical3 karma

I live in the GTA and am going to university in Ottawa next year.

I enjoy playing strategy games like chess, and especially Go (Igo, WeiQui, Baduk), however I find that whenever I play online: -Either I am demolished and the person leaves immediately after(or they tell me how trash i am, and re-challenge me) -Or once my opponent finds them self in a slight disadvantage, they leave.

This as you can imagine can get to be quite annoying, and I've been looking for places where i can play people face to face (outside of tournaments).

Is your cafe a place where i could play a friendly game of Chess, or Go with a stranger? Is that something that you see happening consistently there?

Monopolatte5 karma

We get the occasional person wandering in for a game with a stranger-- we always try to encourage it when it comes up. More often, people are coming in with friends. To make it work a little more smoothly, we hold a drop-in night every Tuesday, where people can make new friends and try new games without the stress of having to find a group to bring. That would be the night for you, I think.

DoctorDetroit83 karma

What is your age/class demographic? What type of music do you play in the background?

Monopolatte3 karma

We get a lot of college kids- but our customers range from young families to old couples. We try to be eclectic in our music selection so no one feels out of place.

Funch3 karma

What are some of your rarer games you keep stocked? More importantly, do you have King Maker?

Monopolatte6 karma

You weren't kidding about obscure! No, we don't have King Maker. But we do have a fair shake of rare games in stock. We keep the original Bruce Lee and Wonder Woman games around, in spite of very little interest in them. They're from the seventies, and they're more historical pieces than other things.

But we also have some off-print but actually well-loved games. San Juan might never get a reprint, but we have it proudly displayed on our shelves. Betrayal is a crowd favourite, but it always seems be be between printings. Some of our older editions are pretty hard to get your hands on, too.

shotgun_ninja1 karma

Betrayal as in "Betrayal at House on the Hill"?

Monopolatte2 karma

Yes, that's the one.

AlexBerghe2 karma

Is it difficult to run a small business ? :D

Monopolatte6 karma

Of course! Every small business runs into challenges and unexpected twists and turns. It's all a process of gradually understanding and becoming familiar with the challenges of your particular industry. It really helped to have a close friend in our management who worked in the service industry, and knew some of the biggest hurdles.

But challenges come from unexpected places. None of us thought we would need industrial equipment for our small bar... until one after one, our "civilian gear" all broke down under heavy use. Industrial restaurant stuff is more expensive, but our fridges and grills are a heck of a lot more resilient now than our former appliances.

Morvis422 karma

I have no experience in running a small business but I love boardgames. What advice could you give if I wanted to maybe open up a cafe like this in my town?

Monopolatte3 karma

You need to have experience in the hospitality industry if you want it to work. All the board game knowledge in the world won't help you if you can't balance a checkbook, juggle local rules and regulations about your industry, and understand the unique challenges to your situation. If you're really serious about it, you could partner with someone who has experience-- but I would really recommend delving into the unglamorous reality of restaurant/bar management before you open your own place.

DamoclesThread2 karma

What is the process by which you would take in a new board game?

Monopolatte3 karma

We have a "request" box on our website, which is a decent place to start. Sometimes our board game teachers notice people asking about a particular game, and if we get it more than a couple times, we'll look into investing. Other times, people donate games they're not interested in keeping, which boosts our library. We take in less games these days because we have a very solid foundation, but we pay close attention to the industry.

DamoclesThread4 karma

That sounds quite awesome, you seem to have a good eye for what makes a good board game. I was hoping you could take a look at the board game we are kickstarting, we are hoping it will take off and become popular, in places such as yours. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/673212907/tempters-an-infernally-clever-board-game

Also keep on trucking, the board game cafe idea is amazing!

Monopolatte3 karma

If you want board game cafés to recommend your product, you need a couple of things. The first is a damn solid game, because you have a lot of competition out there. The second is a personal connection and/or a café discount. If you come in and show a café your game, they'll know you, and get a sense of where your excitement is coming from. If you send us your game as a gesture of a good will, it's a heck of a lot less effort for us to pull it off the shelf and say "hey- try this out." Best of luck with your Kickstarter!

CocaCole2 karma

Do you have like a "menu" with all your available games? Or do people ask you for a specific game?

Monopolatte1 karma

People who are looking for something in particular will usually ask, though we encourage our customers to explore the library. We often find that people are open to recommendations, and try to guide them personally based on what they tell us they enjoy.

We also have a "games menu" that gives some recommendations based on what people have played and liked before. Our website has our full list of games, which is getting to be pretty darn long.

userinthehouse2 karma

Do you keep card games as well like UNO cause I found this old game called vantage from the UNO parent company and have some doubts about some rules?

Monopolatte3 karma

We absolutely keep card games. We don't have Vantage- I know that it's a 1985 game that didn't see a lot of reprints. When rules are unclear and there's no help from Googling, we usually house-rule our games, and tell people what we think the ruling should be.

2feetorless2 karma

Do you buy Boardwalk and Park Place?

Monopolatte12 karma

Always buy orange and red, never buy green.

Robert_Cannelin2 karma

How do you know the rules to so many games? It doesn't seem possible.

Monopolatte7 karma

Hahaha, good question. Speaking as one of the board game teachers, I can confidently, expertly teach about 105 board games-- not counting expansions, re-skins, or re-releases. I might still have to glance at the instruction booklet for minor clauses or setup information, but I have it pretty down-pat. I've played maybe 50 others.

Our owner knows about 400. Still not all our games, notice. Some of the 800 are not as good as the rest, and some will never be pulled off the shelf. But I'm confident that we can provide the information our customers need when they ask for it. Remember, board games are our hobby, but they're also our job: we strive to know as much as we can about our passion and our trade.

android472 karma

In my area, people usually arrive in groups of friends for e.g. pub trivia, but at the LGSs people will show up solo and look for pickup games. What's the environment like at Monopolatte? Is it mostly distinct groups of people? Or is it a lot of pickup games and mixing?

Do you run leagues for any particular games?

Monopolatte4 karma

We mostly have groups of friends coming in! One day a week we have a "drop-in" evening, where solo gamers can join existing groups or form one of their own. We also host monthly RPGs, which are open to anyone who comes by.

We don't run leagues. Attendance isn't great outside of Magic, and they already have their own places for that in the city.

name_with_a_y2 karma

That's odd that not many people come out for leagues that aren't MTG.

At my FLGS, Netrunner nights are much busier than Magic nights.

Monopolatte1 karma

Part of it is that we get a lot of casual people just looking to try something novel. Hardcore gamers don't make up the majority of our demographic, though we love them to bits when they come in.

Flutterwry2 karma

I played Catan a few times with some friends, do you have any recommendations to more fun board games that can be found internationally?

Monopolatte5 karma

Part of that depends on where "internationally" is! There are a lot of games recommended as "gateways" to the gaming world. Ticket to Ride, Carcassonne, and King of Tokyo are all great introductions for people curious about the world of gaming. If you're curious about more suggestions, especially local to you, try checking our /r/boardgames. Great people there, always willing to help. And their wiki is amazing.

alpha-bomb2 karma

What is your favorite old game (30+ years)?

Acquire and Rail Baron are two of my favorites from back in the day =)

Monopolatte2 karma

Othello is still excellent today. Some of the ancient abstracts need to be mentioned-- Go, Mancala, and Chess can't be ignored with a question like that.

EvyEarthling2 karma

My boyfriend is a manager (and now part-owner) of a board game store/clubhouse type place. He puts a lot of effort into making his store a good place for people to spend time. What's the most important thing he and his co-owners need to know about maintaining their business and customer relations?

Monopolatte13 karma

Some basic rules that are easy to overlook:

  • Never make a cheap investment now that will cost you more later. This is hard to do without much capital, but buying cheap equipment because you want to get off the ground can end up causing trouble.
  • Pay attention to social media. People will talk about your store by word of mouth-- but word of keyboard is just as powerful. Be charming. Be accessible. And for goodness's sake, be humble.
  • Don't hire anyone who loves board games more than people.

supes12 karma

Do you have any board games that have never been played? Maybe even games still in their original plastic wrap?

Monopolatte3 karma

Actually, yeah. Some are just too big for the casual gamer. Others are gems buried under awful box art. When a game doesn't get played much, but is approachable enough for us to recommend, we draw people's attention to it.

One that I noticed had never been played is the well-loved Euro game Troyes, which looks awful but is an excellent game.

Leo42 karma

How do you charge customers? Do you charge them playing time or count on them buying drinks and food as revenue?

Monopolatte3 karma

We charge a $5 cover, and people can stay as long as they want. It's obviously helpful when people order things, and we wouldn't be afloat if they didn't. But it's nice just having people in!

Amator1 karma

Do you also provide Wi-Fi for people with time to kill between games?

Monopolatte17 karma

Nope! We want people playing with their friends- not their phones.

HonkyMahFah2 karma

What brings in the most revenue for you guys? Game sales, cover charges, food & beverage, special events? Basically, what is helping you make rent the most?

Monopolatte2 karma

It's an even split between covers and alcohol. Without either one, we would have a rough time.

DoctorDetroit81 karma

How do you handle customers gambling on board games?

Monopolatte1 karma

It doesn't happen. Or if it does, the customers are nice enough to be real sneaky about it.

UberChrisOfUltraWah1 karma

In the future would you consider expanding? Say to little old England

Monopolatte2 karma

Little old England has some cafés of its own! That said, if we're ever a multi-national conglomerate... we'll have to keep you in mind, haha.

exeterman1 karma

How often, if at all, do arguments happen, tables get flipped etc?

Monopolatte2 karma

Boring answer, but basically never. Our customers are great.

eekbah1 karma

I walk by you guys every day. I like board games but.. Why should I play there? What's the cost? Are you licensed? What is the average group size that comes in? Thanks

Monopolatte2 karma

There are a lot of reasons someone might choose to play games in their own homes, instead of in the middle of our bustling café. The biggest advantages of gaming with us come from our staff. We hire intelligent, friendly people who really know their stuff. Besides saving you from the tyranny of the instruction booklet, we can help with recommendations of new avenues you might not have thought to pursue yourself.

We charge a $5 cover, and try to keep low prices for our food and drinks. We are absolutely licensed. An average group is around 4-5 people, but we get a lot of dates, too.

Harlem100271 karma

Will you ever set up shop in NYC? We want people like you, too many sports bars, and hipster disneyland bars here.

Heres to hoping drinks and rolls a die

Monopolatte2 karma

That sounds badass, but I don't think our expansion plans are that ambitious right now! If you're in NYC and looking for dorky fun, you should check out the Barcade, if you haven't already. Excellent fun with some ancient arcade delights, and the beer selection is unbelievable. Scary bouncer though. That guy was intense.

Brill8521 karma

Have you considered/do you already make space for table top wargamers? (Warhammer, Historical Wargames, etc)

Monopolatte1 karma

We get very few hardcore wargamers. They're a cool bunch of cats, but I think they like to huddle up in their carefully positioned basement setups. We like to accommodate special events whenever we're asked to, but the wargamers stick to their own.

LoweJ1 karma

what's your favourite little known game?

Monopolatte2 karma

For one of our board game teachers, it's Tomb. It's got that old-school adventure video game feel- brings him back to that dungeon crawling roguish exploration of games gone passed. You end up collecting a lot of shinies to rack up points, and it's pretty straight-forward fun.

michaelg231 karma

Do you get a lot of students from Carleton University in your establishment?

Monopolatte1 karma

We do! We love our student customers, and they're always up for new games. We try to hold specials that help people on student budgets; our cover-free Monday is a feature we run to keep costs down and spirits high.

CaptinSpeedo1 karma

Do you carry Betrayal at House on The Hill? If so, is there a large demand for it? If not, I would higly recommend it for any bored game cafe.

Monopolatte1 karma

It gets played a lot. I think all of our staff can teach it at this point. Very much a horror movie in a game.