A-Game Cafe is located above Me Va Me on Queen West by John St. While board game cafes and bars with games can be found all over the city now, this place has a great selection of titles and extremely friendly and helpful staff going for it.
Owners Gary and Derek Fung, two affable brothers who are clearly super into board games themselves, decided to open A-Game because they enjoy the social aspect of board game cafes and the prospect of building a community of players. This is their first small business venture, and there is definitely a very personable feel here.
Local artists' work can be found on the walls, like adorable superhero cartoon drawings by Knightmares & Daydreams (the Fung brothers even commissioned her to create the cute Harry Potter bathroom door signs).
The space seats 54 people, and the rates are reasonable: $3.50/hour per person or $7 for unlimited play. There are also weekday specials, where with any purchase of food or drink, it's $3 to play before 3pm and $2 every Tuesday.
Reservations are accepted, but walk-ins are welcome as well - in fact, the Fungs will play with lone walk-ins or match them up with others, and are more than happy to recommend games.
They tell me they have a collection of about 200 games so far, and it's always growing - it's already doubled since they opened. I take a look at what they have , and see that there are a lot of favourites my friends and I have played recently: Dead of Winter, Smash Up and my personal fave, Marrying Mr. Darcy (yes, a Pride and Prejudice card game!).
There are also some games I'm excited to try, like Exploding Kittens (along with the NSFW edition). A-Game's aim is to introduce people to new games they've never played before; during my visit, I learn about Imperial Settlers, one of the top games of 2014.
I'm also told patrons can even bring their own games if they need a place to try them out and/or someone to play them with. For those into serious competition, regular social events are held here, like Settlers of Catan leagues and Magic nights.
It's obvious the focus is definitely on the games, while the food and drink are secondary. A basic menu of sandwiches, snacks and beverages are available, with nothing particularly mindblowing. The cafe's collection of mugs however, is pretty adorable.
A London Fog ($3.75) arrives in a SpongeBob SquarePants mug, and the cookie platter with milk ($5.95), which includes a plate of 15 cookies - five each of chocolate chip, Oreo and fruit creme - comes with milk in a Cookie Monster mug.
I'll be back soon to play Exploding Kittens.
Photos by Jesse Milns