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Playing Old-Fashion Board Games in One of Galveston's Newest Cafes
By: Richard Varr
Monday, February 24, 2014

I’m trying to remember the last time I played Parcheesi, or Chinese Checkers, or Monopoly. I don’t have those games at home and simply don’t know anyone who does. If this renews your interest in such board games, then you might want to check out one of Galveston’s newest and innovative cafes.

It’s called Board Game Island, and while sipping coffee or swigging beer, you can play the old favorites, children’s and card games, puzzles, and even sci-fi fantasy games.

“There’s been a surge in the last 10 or 15 years of new board games,” says Nick Hartnett, an islander who along with local entrepreneur Jeremiah Wagstaff opened the café in May 2013. “People are again starting to play board games. For a while the Internet kept people from being interest in board games because they were playing computer games.”

How did they come up with the idea for a board game café? Liking a wide range of games, they researched the idea and found that board game cafes were far and few in between. “The closest one we believe is in Colorado, so we decided to put the idea into action,” says Hartnett.

Hartnett says the café has close to 600 games, starting the collection by pulling games from their own personal libraries and then ordering others from board game distributors. The extensive collection includes card games like Monty Python Fluxx, the children’s classic Mouse Trap, family games Battleship Galaxies and Scrabble, and sci-fi/fantasy including Texas Zombies and Lord of the Rings.

“We have a good set of regulars, a fan base and a lot of people returning for vacation and choosing us again,” says Hartnett. “We’ve become a place they recognize because we’re very unique.”

“The café has a homey feeling – very relaxed with a very at-ease atmosphere,” he adds.

According to Hartnett, this board game café is one of the few that doesn’t charge a cover charge. The café serves coffee, teas, smoothies, beer and wine, and the menu features snacks, pizzas and sandwiches.

For more information:
Board Game Island
213 23rd Street
Galveston TX 77550
(409) 762-0144

Article written by Richard Varr

Richard Varr is a well-rounded freelance writer with more than 25 years writing experience. A member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW), he specializes in travel, feature and business writing and is the author (main contributor) of the Dorling Kindersley EYEWITNESS TRAVEL GUIDE TO PHILADELPHIA AND THE PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH COUNTRY. Richard currently lives in Houston and contributes to a variety of magazines and websites, with particular focus on highlighting destinations for cruise and RV publications. Visit his own blog at

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