Category Archives: Game Talk

Finding Just The Right Game To Give.

By Raelle Richard (Game Guru, Barista and Geeky Blogger)

Gifting Games

It’s that time of year again! You know what I’m talking about: the season of shopping. Most of us have a list as long as Santa’s with names of our family and friends that we intend to buy gifts for. If you are still in need of some ideas then don’t worry because we have got you covered! This Christmas, give the gift of fun with a board game. Board games are the perfect gift for anyone and with hundreds of games to choose from, there is bound to be something for everyone on your list. We have a few suggestions to get you started!


In my opinion, the best games for kids are games that adults can enjoy as well because how many of us actually like playing Candyland after a certain age? Qwirkle is a great game that kids can play with their parents. Qwirkle is a game that we have described as Scrabble but with shapes and colors. Adults can enjoy Qwirkle because there is a decent amount of strategy involved while young kids can play it almost like a matching game.

Qwirkle: A Great Game for Kids and Adults

College Students

Party games are great gifts for college students to take back to school with them and play with their friends after break. One of the games my friend group played frequently during my college days was The Resistance. The Resistance is a bluffing game in which everyone is working together to take down an oppressive government. However, there are a certain number of players who are secretly spies trying to stop this from happening. The fun of this game is trying to figure out which of your friends are on your side and which are not.

Bluffing – Intrigue – Fun for all!

Geeky Friends

We all know at least one person who loves superheroes and, chances are, you’ve bought them one too many shirts with Batman on it. One of our favorite games, perfect for any superhero-lover, is Marvel Legendary, a cooperative deck-building game staring some of Marvel’s most popular superheroes. In it, players work together to defeat the villain by building up their decks with hero characters then using them to attack the villain and his henchmen and rescue civilians. This game is cooperative so either everyone wins together or everyone loses together, but the bad guys you fight also give you victory points if you are a competitive group and need to know who has the most points.

Great Card Drafting Game. Full of Geeky Goodness.


We have plenty of two-player games that would be a perfect gift for any couples in your life, but one of our favorites is Patchwork. Patchwork is a game in which players are competing to create a “quilt” in a Tetris-like fashion. We like Patchwork because it is easy for anyone to learn despite the surprising amount of strategy involved in the game. Patchwork is perfect for any age whether the couple you have in mind has been together for many years or they’re younger or recently married. This game is also a great idea for your own significant other if you are looking for games you can play together.

Couples Love to Play Patchwork at The Cafe


Whether the family in question is your own or not, we have plenty of great games that any type of family will enjoy playing together. One of my personal favorites is Ticket to Ride, a game that I even managed to teach my own non-gaming family. If my family can not only understand and play Ticket to Ride, but also have fun while playing it, then any family can. Trust me on this one. In Ticket to Ride, players are trying to place trains on a map of the United States in order to connect two cities and finish their routes. Another great thing about Ticket to Ride is that there are many different maps to choose from so if your family is already familiar with Ticket to Ride, try picking up one of the other boards for something new.

Ticket to Ride is a must for families.

All of these games and more can be purchased at The Game Table Café. Here you can find a game for anyone on your list, no matter who they are or what they like. And from all of us here at The Game Table Café, have a wonderfully merry Christmas and a happy holiday season.

Merry Christmas from The Game Table Cafe


What Is a Board Game Cafe

By Raelle Richard

Above all else, a board game café is meant to be a fun social place for people to hang out, play board games, and enjoy good food. Following the growth in popularity of board games in recent years, board game cafes are popping up all around the country.  Board game cafes are a way to get out from behind the computer or tv and interact face-to-face with family and friends in a more personal and meaningful way. They are an inexpensive option to the ever-rising costs of movie tickets or even a night of bowling. So what exactly is a board game cafe?

A Couple Enjoying a Date Night at the Cafe

During the week of Thanksgiving in my junior year of college, my Intro to Game Design professor announced that we would be having class the day before Thanksgiving, but it would be a bit different. Instead of meeting in our usual classroom setting, anyone who hadn’t already traveled home for the weekend would journey down to the cool new gaming café just a block down from the university’s library. Of course, I was one of those who would already be on a train home, but I heard from my classmates what a fun and unique experience they’d had and gathered up my own group of nerdy friends for a trip to New York City’s The Uncommons.

This was my first experience with a board game café and it certainly wouldn’t be my last. In fact, it was those many days spent in that cramped, little café in Greenwich Village that inspired me to approach Tom about a job when I saw that The Game Table Café was opening up in little old Mechanicsburg.

So, what is a board game café? Each café varies in how things are done, but essentially, when you break it down to its most basic parts, a board game café is a regular café with a great menu of food and coffee that also contains a library of board games available for customers to play. In addition to coffee and espresso drinks, some cafes will serve food, snacks, or even alcohol. And nearly every café charges some form of cover to play games. Most, like us, take the flat fee approach, charging a fee that allows you to stay all day and play as many games as you like while others will charge per hour or per game. Unlike cafes such as Starbucks that make their money by getting people out of the door as quickly as possible, we want you to stay and have fun.

The Game Table Cafe in Action
The Game Table Cafe in Action

Board games are more popular now than they’ve ever been which means that more and more games are being made with plenty of smart and unique concepts. Beyond the classics of Monopoly, Apples to Apples, and Sorry; there are a host of new titles coming out each year.  Most cafes only have a few hundred games available on their shelves, but there are thousands of them out there.

If the word “thousands” makes your head spin then you aren’t alone. We have a lot of regular gamers who are familiar with most games in our library, but more frequently we get customers who come in and stare wide-eyed at our wall of games and say, “I had no idea any of these games even existed.” They know Monopoly and Life, but, for the most part, two-thirds of our library is foreign territory for them. If this sounds like you, fear not! Board game cafes employ “game gurus” who are more than happy to pick a game for you based on your past gaming experiences and teach it to you. You can learn a new game without even opening the rule book.

Family Learning a New Game

The Game Table Cafe strives to help everyone connect.  We have a great selection of food, coffee and baked goods just waiting for you to enjoy.  Our game library is just over 400 games and we are here to help you find just the right game and perhaps connect with a new or old friend.  Watch our Calendar of Events for special events going on each week.  With thousands of games to choose from, there is a game for everyone and a board game café is a great place to find a good game, connect with a friend and enjoy great food and coffee. It doesn’t matter if gaming is one of your great passions or simply a casual hobby; everyone can enjoy an evening with friends or family at a board game café!

Come to Our New Year Gala
Come to Our New Year Gala

The Popularity of Dice Masters

“The latest Dice Masters set includes cards from the popular Green Arrow and Flash series.”
“The latest Dice Masters set includes cards from the popular Green Arrow and Flash series.”

At The Game Table Café we believe in combining great food (sandwiches, baked goods and Coffee) with great board games.  One of the games that gets a great deal of play in the Café is Dice Masters.  We always have a great turnout for our tournaments and see plenty of boosters being opened. But what is it about Dice Masters that makes it such a popular game? What about the game attracts players? While I do not regularly play myself, there is a genuine interest in the game and our players from Central Pennsylvania truly enjoy playing it.

“Here are some of the Dice Masters starter sets we have at The Game Table Café”
“Here are some of the Dice Masters starter sets we have at The Game Table Café”

So what is Dice Masters? Dice Masters is a collectible, dice-drafting game for two players. It combines characters from many different franchises from DC and Marvel Comics to Dungeons and Dragons to Yu-Gi-Oh.  You collect cards and matching dice and assemble a team of characters to battle other players.  You play by rolling your dice and then either using them to draft character-specific dice to add to your pool or deploying them to attack your opponent. The player who depletes their opponent’s 20 life points wins.

“Raelle’s Favorite”
“Raelle’s Favorite”

When I first started working at The Game Table Café, I briefly ventured into Dice Masters, buying the booster packs in the hopes of owning the Nightwing card. Nightwing is my favorite superhero and with boosters being only a dollar, why not try for him? This desire to own my favorite character’s card is something that I have in common with a lot of Dice Masters players. I have watched as customers bought dozens of packs and then sat down and opened them, excited to see what they would get and eager to trade with friends. With the rise of Magic the Gathering in the 90’s, many have tried to emulate the success of the collectible card game and few have succeeded. Dice Masters is one of those few. There is a great deal of fun simply buying boosters and collecting your favorite characters. With so many different characters to choose from, there are hundreds of different combinations you can try when creating your Dice Master team.

“Just Imagine Avengers fighting it out with X-Men”
“Just Imagine Avengers fighting it out with X-Men”

For me, one of the most enjoyable aspects of Dice Masters is that you can finally answer this age-old question: “Who would win in a fight?” For whatever reason, superhero fans love pitting their favorite characters against each other. While Captain America and Superman can’t exactly fight to the death in comics, in Dice Masters, you can make that happen. What if Harley Quinn and Iron Man teamed up to take on Wonder Woman and Doctor Octopus? What would happen if we pitted all of the Bat family characters against all of Earth’s Green Lanterns? What if all of the superheroes suddenly had monsters from Yu-Gi-Oh cards at their disposal? These questions may never be answered in comics, but you can play out these and many other exciting scenarios in Dice Masters.

But enough from me. I asked our resident Dice Masters expert and some of our regular players what they enjoy about the game. Of course, one of the popular answers was collecting characters and Dice Masters is fairly inexpensive compared to other popular CCGs. Dice Masters players enjoy using these characters to experiment with different teams and then see how their teams stack up against the teams of other players. The strategy element of the game was cited as another important aspect of the game. There is a bit of luck involved in the game between the blind drawing of dice from your bag and then rolling said dice, but the strategy comes in when deciding what to do with those dice. Do you want to spend energy to buy more dice or send dice out to the field? Do you want to risk re-rolling dice? Do you want to attack even if you know you’ll get blocked? There are many choices to make during play so that players can turn even a bad roll into good, strategic gameplay.

“Add to your team using boosters like these in the booster box display at The Game Table Café”
“Add to your team using boosters like these in the booster box display at The Game Table Café”

Well, there you have it! If you enjoy strategic, nerdy, collectible, battling games for two people then Dice Masters would be great for you. Over the past few months, I’ve seen many different types of people playing this game—men and women, adults and children. Families come in and play together. Only two weeks ago a father and his daughter came in wanting to learn to play. While Dice Masters may be a strategic or even competitive game, it can be learned by anyone and anyone can have fun playing it. We have a starter set in our library so if you fancy a game of Dice Masters come to The Game Table Café and we would be more than happy to teach it to you!

Halloween Games

Betrayal at HouseI love Halloween. I mean, what’s not to love? The weather is perfect, the decorations are incredible, and there’s candy everywhere. Halloween is a great day to show off your creative side. You can put together any costume you want and be someone else for the day. And, of course, Halloween is a day for all things spooky. Most of us have our favorite movies that we pull out and watch every year—personally, I am a fan of Hocus Pocus and Scooby Doo

on Zombie Island—but not everyone has a go-to spooky game to play. With the scariest day of the year right around the corner, now scooby-doo-zombie-islandis a great time to talk about some of the newest horror games available for you to play on Halloween.

Scooby Doo on Zombie Islan
Scooby Doo

We’ll start off with one of my all-time favorite games that now has an expansion sure to make it even bigger and better: Betrayal at House on the Hill. I was introduced to this game at college by my sophomore year floor-mates. We would get together often for the sole purpose of playing this game, even when we no longer lived together. It is one of my favorites because, despite how many times I’ve played it, each time is completely different.

In case you do not know how this game works, you play as one of several characters who venture into a haunted house and begin exploring it. You will encounter many creepy things as you make your way through the house until, eventually, one of you will turn traitor. At this point, the whole game changes. Instead of exploring the house you are now collaborating to survive “the haunt.” Or, perhaps you are the traitor and are trying to kill the other explorers. You won’t know what is going to happen because there are 52 different possibilities and the chances of playing the same scenario twice in a row are slim. In one game, you may be running away from a horde of zombies while in another, an alien is trying to take you and the house back to his home dimension. You never know what sort of horrors await you in the house on the hill and Avalon Hill has now added an expansion with even more haunting scenarios to play.

bahothh-widows-walkBetrayal at House on the Hill: Widow’s Walk comes with two haunt books containing 50 new haunts full of new monsters and creatures. Players can now access the roof, a previously unexplored level of the house with 20 new room tiles. Finally, there are 30 new omens, events, and items and 76 new tokens. The game is officially available as of October 14 and I, for one, am excited to check it out.

Dead of Winter is a game that I have wanted to play for a while. It has been on our shelf since we opened, but I have yet to get the chance to play it. Dead of Winter is a story-centric game taking place in the post-apocalyptic world where zombies have plagued the earth. Players work together to find a way to survive, fighting off zombies and finding food and supplies. It is possible to play with a traitor who is trying to sabotage the rest of the colony which adds another level of chaos to the game.

Plaid Hat Games recently published a stand-alone expansion for Dead of dead-of-winter-long-nightWinter called Dead of Winter: The Long Night. As a dead-of-winter-long-nightstand-alone expansion, The Long Night can either be played by itself or it can be added to the original game to enhance gameplay. The Long Night features a new colony location as well as new characters, new zombies, new items, and new objective cards. If you’re a fan of the zombie apocalypse genre then this is a game worth checking out.

The final game on this list is Mansions of Madness Second Edition. Mansions of Madness is a co-op game inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft. In it, players explore the mysterious world of Arkham and encounter plenty of monsters and strange scenarios along the way. There are plenty of characters to play as, each with their own stats. Mansions of Madness is another game that I haven’t played. In fact, I hadn’t even heard of it until the second edition arrived at the Café. However, now that I have learned more about it, I am intrigued and would love to break this game out sometime.

mansions-of-madnessSo, what’s new in the second edition? Essentially, Fantasy Flight Games have incorporated the use of technology into the game and created an app to run the game for you, removing the role of the Keeper from the previous version, making the game fully cooperative and allowing for easier setup. The app generates each scenario and all of the tiles and events. The second edition can also be combined with any monster figures and map tiles you have from the first game using the conversion kit included with the game. The app is available for iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows and can even be used on Steam.

If you’re looking for a game to play on Halloween, all of the above are perfect options. Widow’s Walk, The Long Night, and Mansions of Madness Second Edition are all available for purchase at The Game Table Café while Betrayal and Dead of Winter are available in our library to play so drop in and check them out or come join us on the 29th for our Halloween Costume Party!