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Courtesy Mike Procee

Stay2Play brings board games to cafés and bars

By Rachel Woodward, May 26 2016 —

Four months ago, Calgary blogger Mike Procee joined forces with David Minken, the founder of Connect More — a local organization focused on connecting corporate groups through board games — to try and find a way to bring board games to more bars and cafés in the city.

The result, Stay2Play, will launch on June 4. The concept aims to promote board games in different venues by making them more available to bar and café-goers. Stay2Play involves a package of curated board games alongside staff training and resources to make games accessible and engaging.

With 12 businesses already on board, Procee hopes Stay2Play will spread beyond Calgary.

“It’s launching in Calgary but [will give] everybody across Canada the tools to run their own board game bars or events,” Procee says. “This hasn’t been a new concept, there’s always been board games sitting in the corner, but they are just gathering dust.”

Stay2Play will feature in bars and cafés across the city, including Good Earth, Second Cup, and  Beans on Bow.

“There is something really special about connecting with people and being off your phone and being in the moment, and there’s no reason why it needs to be limited to just either a specific board game bar or your house,” Procee says. “Anybody can do this and anybody can offer this service. It’s just about having the right games, the right people and the right promoting.”

Procee and Minken hope Stay2Play will give patrons a wide selection of board games to choose from, and an atmosphere with staff who are trained and passionate about the games.

“We have two package sizes right now, a smaller one — which is about 12–18 board games, then a larger one, which is about 25–30 board games,” Procee says. “Depending on café size, they’ll be fitted with one of those, and they are kind of all the hottest games right now, or the games that involve the most communication and social skills. They are quick to learn and easy to play.”

Games such as Cards Against Humanity and Settlers of Catan are included in the packages.

Procee and Minken will also set up guides for the games during the summer so patrons can play them quickly without spending time working through instructions.

Procee says Calgary is an ideal place to start changing the role of board games in social settings.

“I think Calgary is perfect, just because there are three board game cafés open right now. People are a little bit thirsty for it,” he says. “They are just sort of experiencing this and just being exposed to it, and I think the more and more exposure we get, it will just keep growing.”

For more information, visit stay2play.ca

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