How many kids can remember spending rainy days indoors with siblings, huddled around classics like Monopoly, Uno, or Sorry!
These can be treasured childhood memories and for $2.50 an hour, people can revisit those times when they walk into Water Street’s Mochanopoly Board Game Café, pull out any of the 300 plus games that line the shelves, and sit down at a table to play with friends or strangers.
Owned by Leon Chung and his brother Erich, the doors first opened at their downtown location back in December 2015 and ever since, business has been good. While they usually have a steady flow of customers, this April 29th is expected to be the busiest day of the year.
It will mark the 4th annual International TableTop Day, which was started back in 2013 by the YouTube channel “Geek and Sundry” as a way to celebrate board games on a global scale and raise money for charities. Mochanopoly participated last year and according to Chung, it was a big success. The café raised $600, which was donated to the Janeway Children’s Hospital. It was also the busiest he’s ever see the café and Chung is expecting to draw an even bigger crowd for 2017.
TableTop Day is “Basically a worldwide celebration of a love of board games,” Chung explained, with board game stores and board game cafés hosting events. “It’s the busiest day in the entire world, where everyone just shares the love of board games … I think it’s going to be a big hit.”
“We’re donating all profits from that day to a charity of our choice, which is Easter Seals.” They will also be giving games away every two hours. “It’s a great way to give back to the community.”
For Chung, board games are a tried-and-true way to spend time with old friends and or make new ones.“It’s kind of like a timeless tradition.” While video games are everywhere – from personal computers, to tablets and phones – there’s something enduringabout the experience of sitting around a kitchen table with a group of friends to while away a few hours over a board game.
It’s also a good way for people to get to know one another, and Chung has observed plenty of first dates at Mochanopoly. People forge friendships over the games they play.
Board games don’t have the same media presence these days, “Where video games have commercials and stuff, board games are kind of word-of-mouth, which I love ‘cause it’s the whole point of this café,” Chung said.
“We were trying to get people to put down their phones and really interact face to face with one another. So I think that’s the beauty of board games, it’s that really word of mouth and face to face, friends and friends, and that’s what brings people together, in my opinion.”
Downtown Comics and Escape Quest have donated prizes: every two hours on April 29, the cafe will be giving away passes for Escape Quest as well as games from Downtown Comics.