Great games for you to bring to the table this Christmas.

Let’s face it we love to play games. As you gather with your others to celebrate this season you all know you want to bring out some games and try and get people to play.   Sure, some will be more interested in football or catching up on the latest gossip. However,these games are sure to be inviting and perhaps help you gather people around the tabletop for your favorite pastime.

Short and Immersive.
Some people are convinced that our hobby only offers games that take hours to play.  They grew up playing Risk or Monopoly and have no idea what great games are available today.  A short game works perfectly before the family feast.  These games have a short play time but also keep people continuously engaged.


Lanterns: The Harvest Festival.  Playtime 25-30 minutes. On your turn you place a tile to decorate the Chinese Emperor’s Palace Lake with beautiful floating lanterns. Every time a tile is placed everyone at the table receives a lantern tile. Based on the arrangement you just made you can draft cards to ultimately score points. The game moves quickly. Players are drawn into the game by the beautiful array being created and the fact that you are watching to see how other players’ placements will impact your options when it is your turn. This game has been a big hit with families at the café.

Curios: Playtime 15-20 minutes. Let me just say for a 20-minute game you will not find anything better than Curios. Fast, immersive and a hoot-lotta fun. In Curios you are illegal treasure hunters searching the worlds famous archaeological sites for lost artifacts (curios). However, the market value for each type of curios is only partially known by each player. You know some but not all the facts about this shifting market and as each player acts to move their treasure hunters from one site to another you can gain additional information based on their actions. Curios is an immersive game of deduction, bluffing, and quick decisions like no other. This simple and intuitive game is quick to learn and even quicker to play!

Easy to Understand Game Mechanic.

Sometimes we just want a game that you can pick up and play within minutes of opening the box. Especially when introducing games to non-gamers. Here are two of our top choices.

The Mind: One of the biggest hits this year is The Mind.   In the Mind you have to mind-meld with the other players around the table to place cards in the correct order. It is more than just a game. It’s a magical experience, an experiment, a journey in which you can’t exchange information, yet will become one to defeat all the levels of the game.  The Mind was nominated for the Spiel des Jahres award and won the Origins Award for best game.

Silver: A fast and engaging traditional card game with a werewolf twist! Everyone starts the game with five face-down cards, with everyone being able to see two cards of their choice. On your turn you draw a card. Play it for its effect or use it to replace one of the cards in your village triggering that cards effect. Your goal is to rid the village of werewolves. When you think you have succeeded you call for a vote. Several expansions with additional cards are soon to be released.

Themes to draw them in.  Here are a few games where the theme helps draw in new players.

Forbidden Dessert: The is an awesome cooperative game where you have crash landed in the desert and must work together to survive and fix your airship. You’ll need to coordinate with the other players and use every available resource to survive the scorching heat and relentless sandstorm. Find the missing parts and escape before you die of thirst. It plays up to 5 players and since it is cooperative new players can freely ask questions and seek advice from the other players.

Fuse: Fuse is a timed cooperative dice game. There are 20 bombs aboard your ship and you have ten minutes to disarm them. Dice are rolled, players select dice to resolve their part of the disarm requirement, and you succeed or fail as a team. It is a race against time that is sure to have everyone scrambling and working together.

Millennials and the Board Game Revival

What’s a Millennial?

As a Millennial, I hear the whispers in the dark surrounding me. Millenials are lazy, burdened by debt, and they’re killing cable and brick-and-mortar stores. They’d rather have craft beer and avocado toast than a house, and they’re always staring at a screen.

But by definition, they are the generation that first grew up with technology. Born between 1981 and 1996, Millennials spent most of their formative years surrounded by gaming consoles and computers. We remember our first Gameboy and our late hours playing The Sims on the family’s first computer.

Fast-forward to today, Millenials are in a tough spot with low employment levels, crushing student debt, and rising costs in healthcare. Millenials reject the notions of yesteryear in favor of cost-effective and progressive solutions.

gaming with technology

Tabletop doesn’t mean unplugged.

So what draws a Millenials into tabletop gaming? Millenials are not swapping screen time for face-to-face fun. They’re not ditching their phones to play a round of Clank in Space. Odds are, their Twitter feed and Snapchat followers are going to know they’re playing. Games like Werewolf require a mobile app to play, and I know too many people with their character sheets and spell lists tucked on their laptops.

Millenials want to escape into alternate worlds, beyond their student loans and tiny apartments. They have an affinity for nostalgia and cost-effective entertainment.

zelda clue

Fantasy is Main Stream

The line demarcating a nerd of the 70s and 80s – pushing up his glasses and rolling a D20 – is dead. Millenials grew up alongside Harry Potter, and they watched The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars in theaters. Today, Game of Thrones is one of the most popular TV shows in history, and Marvel is knocking comic book movies out fo the park. Fantasy is no longer reserved for nerds, and Millennials are soaking themselves in these worlds away from life’s burdens.

From Controllers to Dice

A lot of Millenials have fond memories of spending time with a friend or sibling while they play A Link to the Past on their Super Nintendos. Though Millennials have grown up on video games, they have changed drastically within the last decade. Companies are doing what they can to milk every penny out of each game. Between additional downloadable content (DLC), subscriptions, and paid loot boxes, playing video games is expensive.

On top of that, to play with other people, they also need to purchase a copy of the game. Though a board game and a console game can both run around $50, only one person needs to buy it for a group to enjoy. They are easy to pick up and play with your friends or even your grandparents.

dungeons and dragons at game table cafe

Gaming Cafes and Bars

Millennials can’t afford big purchases like houses, so they use their money for experiences rather than things. That means delicious food, enjoyable company, and entertainment. Places like The Game Table Cafe offer all these things at affordable prices.  From strategy, card games, roll-and-move, and cooperative, there’s a tabletop game for every taste. And you can jump from Settlers of Catan to Monopoly to something weird like Exploding Kittens. The options are endless, and so is the fun.

3 Benefits of Tabletop RPGs

Lucian Huang, at your service. I am but a humble servant of Deneir on my own quest from my late master. I found refuge in the city of Orm in this treacherous land of Agasteel.  Journeying with me are two rangers, a bard, and two druids.

A farmer to the north needed our help dispatching a giant wolf that made a meal of his flock. After getting our mission, we followed the tracks to a cave. Inside, a glowing pair of red eyes greeted us and out stepped a wolf twice the size of a cow. We knew this was not a normal wolf. And while he growled at us, we had to make a decision on what to do. Do we rush in an attack? Use the druid to talk to him? Look around for anything useful? Run away? These kinds of decisions make Dungeons and Dragons an exercise in creativity, problem-solving, and teamwork.

dungeons and dragons player handbook

1. Learning New Things Helps Your Brain

Studies have long been pointing to the benefits of continual learning through a person’s life. From delaying cognitive decline and improving memory, life-long learning keeps your brain active. Before the game even begins, it requires learning the game, reading about your characters, and a bit of research into the possible combinations of skills, abilities, armors, and weapons.

It may seem a bit overwhelming, but a good Dungeon Master, or game host, will guide you in your comfort level. You can settle with a pre-made character (drafted by your DM), pick the recommended configurations from the book, or create a combination all your own.

For those who love Dungeons and Dragons and want to dive deeper into the game, there are innumerable styles of play, lore, and nearly two-dozen official books to widen your horizon. Or you may go so far as learning to be a DM yourself.

dungeons and dragons minifigures
We used someone’s dice case for our cart.

2. Harnessing Your Creativity & Problem Solving

Creativity alone has many benefits which is good news for a game centered on designing your own story. To start with, creating your character involves much more than numbers on a page. What do they look like? What’s their backstory? What are the mannerisms that define them?

Everyone is capable of creativity. It’s freeing, stress relieving and promotes self-awareness and self-expression. When you play, get into character if you want to. Speak like them and make choices based on what they would choose, not you. I had a Cleric character named Laucian. He was very devout and saw all beings as innocent until otherwise proven. On behalf of Laucian, I refused to fight in instances involving animals and I ran headlong (stupidly) into battles against known enemies.

Creativity also boosts problem-solving capabilities. In D&D, you build your own story. How will you face obstacles? What’s the solution to the puzzle lock on the ancient temple? How will you get information from the barkeep?

A DM friend of mine played the same campaign for two different groups. In the campaign, we had to rescue captives in a large goblin and ogre camp. My group used a combination of spells between multiple people to project a symbol of their deity in the sky and use a thunderous voice to mimic him. Basically, we incited a goblin riot against the Ogres and snuck people out during the fighting. The other group made a giant construct to scare them out of the camp. Either way, we both succeeded in our objectives.

There are no multiple-choice questions in D&D, and as long as it’s within the rules, you can approach any task in whatever way you wish. Sometimes, the most creative solutions are the most fun and make for great stories long after the game is over.

dungeons and dragons arena
2v2 player versus player

3. Working Together & Improving Communication

Forget those Escape the Room games for your company Team Building days. The time limits and pressure to be puzzle wizards don’t exist in Dungeons & Dragons. What does exist is working together to dispatch foes or navigate an abandoned mine. As I mentioned from the example above, it took all of us to put on that light and sound show to free those captives.

And it will take your whole team to figure out how to cross a rickety bridge when half of you are wearing heavy plate armor. Have an idea? Speak up. Make decisions together. Lone wolves will get themselves killed. And for heaven-sake, never split the party!

Often a bad roll or a bad decision can make situations dire. I was in a group during that rickety bridge scenario. A plate-wearing dwarf tied herself to a team-mate. Neither expected the dwarf to fall and sink to the bottom like a stone. And as physics would dictate, the teammate was ripped from the bridge thanks to her tether. It took quick thinking and a lot of rope to get them to safety.

Final Thoughts

Table-top role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons promote creativity, learning, working together, problem-solving, and communication. These elements are great for the brain and important to life. Grab a group of co-workers, friends, or meet some new people and settle down for a game. Unlike other team building and “get to know you games,” you can drink coffee and eat delicious food while you bond over how you’re going in infiltrate the enemy base.

How did the wolf story end? The druid noticed that not only was he injured, but the wolf was actually a she. As he drew close to tend her wound, he discovered that she was a mom and her pups were missing. After some prodding, the wolf told us about the humans that kidnapped her puppies. If we struck first, we would have never discovered the real enemy3

Join us Every Day For A Sandwich

Join us any day or night for great food and coffee. The Game Table Cafe has much to offer anyone looking for a great sandwich for lunch or diner in Mechanicsburg or Camp Hill. We are a unique restaurant because besides great sandwiches, we have the library of games for people to play. Many people think of us as a destination location or a great date night restaurant. We are a great place to meet up with friends and family for an outing, but first and foremost we are a cafe. As a restaurant in Mechanicsburg, PA; we have some of the best sandwiches and lunch and dinner options in the area, made fresh and with love! We love it when people pop in for lunch or dinner. We can make it to go, if you need to grab and go, and we also are happy for you to get a bite before or after the movies, or chat with friends over a latte and a scone.

Best Coffee in Mechanicsburg

Our sandwiches are made with high quality ingredients and are made to order. We have several original sandwich options, such as our Dominion sandwich – a toasted sub sandwich made with 4 meatballs in a creamy, mushroom and onion stroganoff sauce and topped with provolone cheese. Our Scoville sandwich has the perfect blend of creamy, spicy and crunchy! Colby Jack cheese, cream cheese, chopped jalapeños and crushed blue corn chips on a ciabatta roll and pressed until hot and melted. All perfect for that quick bite to eat during lunch or for a late snack after the movies. You won’t find anything like these sandwiches in Mechanicsburg for lunch or dinner except at The Game Table Café. Simply the best sandwiches around.

Meatballs to dream about
Stroganoff Meatball Sub

What is better to go with your sandwich than a good soup or salad. Our soups are made in house in our Mechanicsburg kitchen, we offer a variety of delicious choices. Unlike many area restaurants who purchase pre-made frozen selections. Our soups are made with fresh ingredients and our customers rave about them. Gluten Free? Many of our soups are gluten free. Additionally, we can transform any of our sandwiches into a salad. We have salads and frittatas which also satisfy the diner who is avoiding gluten.

Soups Made Fresh

How about wrapping up that quick lunch with something sweet. After a sandwich or soup, you should definitely check out our baked goods. We have a selection of scones, muffins, brownies and cookies all made right in our Mechanicsburg ovens. These pair nicely with our freshly roasted and brewed coffee and espresso drinks. Many people in Mecanicsburg claim that we have the best cold brew coffee on the West Shore. Our coffee beans are freshly roasted and are used in all of our coffee and espresso drinks. We have soy, almond and coconut milk for those who would prefer that to milk or cream. In the warmer weather, try our sugar added fruit smoothies and creamy frappes. If you are in Mechanicsburg or Camp Hill and you need something to cool you off our smoothies and frappes are the best. No better way to cool down than to stop into The Game Table Cafe!

We make cupcakes all the time.

If you own a business in or around Mechanicsburg or Camp Hill; we would love for you to consider The Game Table Café for your next lunch meeting or office outing. We love it when people come in to play games, but we are very happy to just feed you some of the best food in Mechanicsburg! We have a catering menu and will do whatever we can to satisfy your needs. We have a cake decorator on staff that would be happy to make you a birthday cake, cupcakes or giant cookie.

Where are you eating lunch today?

The best lunch in Mechanicsburg is found at The Game Table Café. Read our 5 Star reviews on Yelp, Google Plus, and Facebook. Our lunch menu is full of fresh and delicious sandwiches, soups and fine coffee! There is no better place to get a meal made to order, served with a friendly smile! We have a variety of items that are perfect for your lunch break! Sandwiches, soup, frittatas, salads, snacks, and baked goods. As well as coffee, teas, smoothies, frappes and a selection of bottled drinks.

Best sandwich in Mechanicsburg
The Catan Sandwich
Best Espresso in Mechanicsburg
Fruit Smoothies to go with your Sandwich

Don’t forget about our freshly roasted and ground coffee! Lattes, Cappuccinos, Macchiatos, Mocha Lattes and brewed coffees provide you with the boost of energy you need for the afternoon ahead. Our hot chocolate and Chai lattes are creamy and delicious. Try our “Potion of Glibness” for a little extra kick! Espresso, espresso and then flavor….Bam! What! As the weather warms, don’t forget that we have the best cold brew coffee in Mechanicsburg, Camp Hill or anywhere on the west shore, and freshly brewed iced tea. Our chocolate frappes and fruit smoothies are cold and refreshing. Try a shot of espresso in the vanilla frappe for the flavor of coffee ice cream, and if you like pumpkin pie, our pumpkin frappe is top notch.

Craving the best sandwich in mechanicsburg pa
Jalapeno Popper

Nowhere else can you find sandwich recipes that are as unique and original. Where else in Mechanicsburg can you find a stroganoff meatball sub or a jalapeño popper grilled cheese ciabatta sandwich? Our tasty soups are made in house. The selection of frittatas changes weekly, made with fresh ingredients. We have gluten free, low carb, and vegetarian options available. We are happy to take any of our sandwich ingredients and create a salad for you. This is the place for a great lunch in Mechanicsburg.

Then, there’s the baked goods…a little something for everyone’s taste…scones, cookies, muffins, brownies, cinnamon rolls… mouthwatering treats to satisfy your sweet tooth! Most of the baking is done during the daytime hours so you may be lucky enough to get something right out of the oven when you come in for lunch. Where else in Mechanicsburg can you get a Boss Monster cookie for lunch. Our Boss Monster cookie is a giant cookie with a variety of tasty goodies like chocolate chips, butterscotch morsels and caramels hidden inside. The Lembas bread has been known to sustain many a traveler at the Cafe. Our brownies magically disappear, particularly our specialty brownies that are covered in peanut butter, mint or espresso icing. The Game Table Café is a must stop for lunch and a great sweet treat after lunch.

Monster Cookie for a monster game
Also try our Boss Monster cookie!

We understand that life is busy and sometimes you just don’t have time to stop for lunch to eat, but we are happy to make your meal “to go” if you need to get back to the office. You can even call ahead and we’ll have it ready for you when you come by. If you do have a bit of time for lunch, the daytime atmosphere at the Game Table Cafe is quiet and relaxed. It’s the perfect place to catch up with a friend over a great meal, use our free wi-fi to catch up with your e-mail, or even catch a quick game from our extensive library. If you’ve been here for Friends and Family night, or for another gaming event you know that we have a lot of fun playing table games, but now it’s time to remember that beyond the games we have really good food. Come out during your lunch break and get a great meal right here in Hampden Center in Mechanicsburg.”

10 Health Benefits of Playing Board Games

In recent years, the popularity of board games has skyrocketed. Of course games like Monopoly and Life have been around for a while (and I’m sure they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon), but within the last five years or so, board games have had new life breathed into them with an influx of Euro Style games like Settlers of Catan. Why have board games become so popular? There is a growing desire to interact and socialize with family and friends without screens getting in the way. Board games are the perfect way to do that because you have to be present if you don’t want to lose. Also, board games are just plain fun! Board games are a great form of entertainment and just like there is a TV show for everyone, there is a board game for everyone.

So why am I telling you all of this? Basically, if you haven’t already hopped on the board game bandwagon, you really ought to. Did you know that there are actually quite a few health benefits associated with playing board games? Yes, that’s right! Playing board games is not only fun, but healthy!

1. Strengthen Relationships

This may seem counter-intuitive if you’re playing with a bunch of really competitive people, but it’s true. One of the best ways to develop trust and intimacy with another human being is to share laughter and fun. Having a regular game night with your loved ones can be a great way to strengthen your bond with them. I try to get my family together semi-regularly for a board game night and while arguments do break out sometimes, we’re all usually ready for the next game night shortly after. In addition to strengthening your existing relationships, board games can help create new friendships. We’ve seen plenty of complete strangers become good friends with a little help from gaming.

2. Improve Social Skills

Remember what I said about no screens getting in the way? Exactly! I’m sure we’ve all heard those accusations that young people don’t know how to socialize because of modern technology. Play more board games with them! Additionally, not all board games are competitive. There are plenty of cooperative board games like Pandemic or Castle Panic that can be great for team-building and teaching cooperation. Playing board games can also help ease social anxiety. We’ve had a lot of regular customers tell us that they’ve been able to overcome crippling social anxiety when they’re playing board games with others.

3. Laughter is Good for Us

They say that laughter is the best medicine, so it logically follows that playing board games may be the best medicine too, right? Maybe that’s leaping to conclusions, but science does show that laughter is good for us. Laughter releases endorphins, the “feel-good” chemical in our brains. These are the same chemicals that are released after physical activity like exercise or a physical contact with another person. These “feel-good” chemicals not only make us happier, they also make us more tolerant of pain. To induce laughter why not start a game of Coup or Cash ‘n Guns?

4. Reduce Stress

All of this quality time with the people you love most and the release of all of those endorphins will hopefully lead to reduced stress. In fact, according to a study from RealNetworks Inc., 64 percent of those surveyed said they played games to relax while 53 percent said they played games for stress relief. If you’ve had a hard day at work, perhaps a quick game might be the perfect way to de-stress.

5. Lower Blood Pressure

In addition to reducing stress, endorphins can be helpful in lowering blood pressure. It is believed that endorphins help to relax the muscles, thus allowing blood to flow easier, which is likely to lower blood pressure. This, of course, will help lower the risks of problems associated with high blood pressure like heart disease.

6. Can be Therapeutic

With all of the above benefits, it naturally follows that board games could be used as a type of therapy. Board games can help increase motor skills and basic functioning for those who are mentally or physically disabled. Just check out what The Bodhana Group does using tabletop gaming to help kids!

7. Teaches Goal-Setting and Patience

If you want to win, you’ll need to set goals and then be patient as you work to achieve them. Most modern games require a lot of strategy. Almost every turn you need to reassess the situation and maybe even adapt your goals and ultimately your strategies depending on what other players have done since your last turn. This can especially be a great benefit for children (of course you may want to use Catan Junior instead of regular Catan in this case), but I’m sure we all know adults who could use a lesson in patience as well.

8. Stimulates Creativity

There are a lot of board games that require you to build or create something (like Junk Art or Kingdomino) and even board games that require you to use your imagination (like Once Upon a Time or Mysterium). Even putting together a deck for Magic: the Gathering requires a bit of creativity. If you’re into role-playing games, Dungeons and Dragons can be one of the most creative games in which players need to put themselves into the shoes of their characters as they play through the game. Getting in touch with your creative side can help bolster your sense of individuality which in turn can boost your self-esteem.

9. Increases Memory and Cognitive Functioning

I’m sure we all know the stereotype that people who play Chess are smart and nerdy, right? Well, there might be a little truth to this stereotype because playing Chess has been proven to improve test scores of middle-schoolers with learning disabilities. Of course different games will involve different skills depending on what the ultimate goal is, but for the most part, board games challenge your problem-solving and decision-making abilities. Each game you play will encourage you to strategize and make calculated decisions to get you closer to winning. Some studies have even shown that board games increase your focus and speed up your response time.

10. Decreases Risk of Mental Disease

Because of your increased brain function, you will be at lower risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s when you grow older. I’m sure you’ve heard of the studies that show that solving puzzles like crosswords or Sudoku help lower these risks as well, but have you seen this study from The New England Journal of Medicine on board games? In it, 469 people aged 75 and older were asked to list what activities they did in their free time. Ultimately, 124 of them developed dementia, but the study showed that those who listed gaming as one of their activities were less likely to develop dementia.

So there you have it! Just in case you needed any more excuses to make your way out to our cafe, here they are. In fact, maybe even take a lunch break and come grab a sandwich and play a quick game-it’s great for your health after all. In the words of Irish playwright, George Bernard Shaw, “we don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”

Love Catan? Here are Five Other Versions to Check Out!

Even if you aren’t a gamer, chances are you may have at least played Catan. It is simple to play with a decent amount of strategy, making it a game that can be enjoyed by anyone. It is the perfect game for players new to the hobby, casual gamers, and even a classic for more seasoned players to keep coming back to. Catan was first published in Germany in 1995 by Klaus Teuber. By 2015 nearly 20 million copies had been sold in 30 different languages. If you haven’t played the original Catan, I would definitely recommend pulling that off our shelf the next time you are in. On the other hand, if you’re a self-proclaimed Catan expert, perhaps it is time to graduate to one of the many other versions. Here are some of the Catans we have available right now.

Catan: Seafarers

Seafarers introduces sailing to the world of Catan. Now, settlers can travel across the sea to build new settlements on nearby islands. This expansion adds several variant setups that include a lot of water tiles in addition to the familiar resource tiles. Each setup includes some new rules and slight variations on game play. Seafarers also adds ships, which are a lot like roads, and a pirate, who acts like the robber. Otherwise, the mechanics are the same, but the win condition will vary for each setup. If you’re looking to add just a little bit to your regular game of Catan, check out this expansion!

Catan: Traders and Barbarians

Like Seafarers, Traders and Barbarians is an expansion that you can use with the base game, but it is slightly different in that it is a compilation of small expansions and variants in one box. It comes with several different scenarios that you can play including The Fishermen of Catan, The Rivers of Catan, The Great Caravan, Barbarian Invasion, and the titular Traders and Barbarians. In addition there are a few minor variants included as well.

Catan: Merchants of Europe

Merchants of Europe is part of the histories series of Catan. This version uses a real-world map of Europe for the board that has been divided into the familiar hexagons of Catan. Players are no longer settlers in a new land, but instead are merchants trying to establish trade routes and deliver their commodities across the continent. In order to do this, players will need to set up trading posts to gather more commodities to sell. There are no victory points in this version, either. Instead, you’ll want to be the first player to deliver all of your commodities. If you are looking for a Catan that is a little more strategy-intensive, definitely check this one out.

Catan: Baden-Wurttemburg

This version of Catan was made for the sixtieth anniversary of the merging of three German states into one. For the most part, it is a lot like other versions of Catan with a few differences. For one, the board set in stone so the set-up of the game is always going to be the same. Second, the robber is now an inventor. Why inventors are going around stealing resources from people, I’m not entirely sure, but the Inventor development cards are pretty cool in that each one depicts a different inventor and what their most famous invention is. Another new element is the landmarks. Instead of upgrading your settlements to cities, you can build landmarks. These are actual landmarks found in this region of Germany like Heidelberg Castle.

John and I picked this Catan up in a board game store in Germany. When we brought it up to the register the man gave us an odd look before saying, “this is Baden-Wurttemburg  Catan, yes?” Because why would two English-speaking Americans want a German Catan? But we knew what we were doing when we brought it up to the register; a German Catan is the perfect souvenir for two board game nerds.

Catan: Games of Thrones

This is a Catan that I am certainly looking forward to playing, but with the $80 price tag I know I probably won’t be buying it anytime soon. This Catan is set in the world of Game of Thrones at the wall that protects Westeros from the Wildlings of the north. The Brothers of the Night’s Watch are seeking a new leader and if you want to claim that position, you’ll need to use your resources to strengthen the infrastructure of the Gift, the underdeveloped area south of the Wall.

Incredible game of thrones catan

The general idea remains the same as other Catans. You will still be building roads and settlements to be the first to gain ten victory points to win, but this Catan adds an extra element of danger with occasional Wildling attacks. In addition to the roads and settlements, you’ll also need to post guards at the Wall to keep it safe from the attacks. Also, each player will control a member of the Night’s Watch. Each of these characters has a special ability that can be used twice during the game. If you can’t wait for the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones to premiere next year, definitely check this game out to get your Westeros fix!


Six Great Stocking Stuffer Games

Can you believe Thanksgiving is already two days away?  I know I can’t, but I’m ready to eat some turkey and mashed potatoes. And after Thanksgiving comes the biggest shopping weekend of the year. Sales are going on everywhere for looking to get their Christmas shopping done. We’ll even be hosting a sale of our own on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday (check out our Facebook page for more information on both of those!). As far as what games you should buy this weekend, I’ll be looking at the perfect stocking stuffers. These are games that are small enough to fit into stockings that are still tons of fun!


Timeline is one of our most popular breadstick games. It’s an incredibly easy game to learn, but it can be a lot of fun. The way Timeline works is that each player has a hand of cards that they are trying to fit in a chronological timeline. For example, if you’re playing the American History version, each card will have an event on it that you must decide where to put on the timeline. Once you place your card, flip it over to reveal the date and see if you were right. The game gets harder as more and more cards are placed and you have more and more options to place cards.

Not a fan of history? Don’t worry! There are several different themes for Timeline. Maybe you would prefer Music and Cinema or Inventions? There is a Timeline for everyone. Timeline is especially great for people who love trivia or are good with dates. It can even be a useful tool to help children learn important dates. Timeline is a great option for anyone on your list.

Sushi Go!

Sushi Go! is a game I talked about before in my blog about Japanese-themed games, but it’s also the perfect, stocking-sized game to give to your family and friends. It is easy to learn and quick to play, making it a great game to play with your family on Christmas morning. Sushi Go! is a set collecting game in which you take a card from your hand to keep before passing your whole hand to the next player. This continues until all of the cards are gone. You get points depending on which types of sushi you’ve collected and how many of each type. After a few rounds, the player with the most points is the winner.Sushi Go game great with lunch

Ninja Camp

Ninja Camp is one of my favorite easy-to-learn and quick-to-play games. I love it because of the cute and playful premise, but it is also a fun game! The idea is that players are all different animals attending Ninja Camp. You will be learning new ninja moves and using them to compete for the favor of the Monkey Sensei. Each move gives you points and the player with the most points at the end of the game earns the privilege of becoming the apprentice to the Sensei.

Like I said, Ninja Camp is fun in part because of the cute theme. I’ve taught it to a lot of groups in the Café before and they’re usually sold when I tell them that they get to play as an animal at Ninja Camp. The set-up is always different due to the lack of an actual board. Instead, you lay out a grid of cards that then becomes your board. The board will constantly be changing as players pick up these cards and add them to their hands, creating holes in the board. With a variety of different moves you can collect and play, there are a lot of interesting choices you can make when moving around the “board,” giving this cute, simple game quite a bit of strategy.


Big fun in a tiny package, Coup is the perfect party game for anyone looking for a great time of bluffing, deduction, and backstabbing your friends. In Coup, there are five different roles that players can possibly be and each role has an action that can be taken. Each player is given two roles that are to be kept secret. On your turn you can take any of the actions of any of the five roles (no matter which roles you have) or you can take one of three actions available to everyone (including paying enough coins to stage a coup against another player and take them out). You can tell the truth about what you have or you can lie. You have to be careful, however, because if someone correctly accuses you of lying, you lose an influence (one of your roles). If you lose both of your roles, you’re out of the game. The last player standing wins.

Spot It

Spot It is a great one for kids to help hone their matching skills. In Spot It, each card has eight pictures and any two cards will always have one matching picture. Players have a card in their hand and there is a deck of cards in the middle. You have to be the first one to find a match between the card in your hand and the top card of the deck, call out the picture, and take that card into your hand. The game is over when the deck runs out and the player who has collected the most cards is the winner. In order to succeed at Spot It, you need to have a quick eye and quick reflexes to grab cards before other players do. There are also several versions of Spot It so there is something for everyone.

Star Realms

If you’re looking for the perfect stocking stuffer for someone who would enjoy a more strategic game, look no further than Star Realms. Star Realms is a space-themed deck-building game for two people in which players are trying to get their opponent’s Authority (health) down to zero. Each player starts with the same deck of 10 cards, but will use those cards to purchase new cards to add to their decks. There are different types of cards belonging to four different factions. Players use these cards to make themselves stronger and to attack their opponent.

Star Realms is a great game for fans of deck-building games. It’s also an easy game to learn and quick to play. The base game only comes with cards enough for two players, but it is possible to buy multiple sets and combine then to allow more players to join in the fun. There is also an expansion that adds more cards and, if space isn’t your thing, the makers of Star Realms also created a game called Hero Realms. It’s also a deck-building game with some added elements. Either of these games would be perfect for the gamer on your list.

If you’re interested in checking out any of these games, they are all in our library and in our retail section. This weekend is also the perfect time to buy them with all of our sales going on!

Our Favorite Spooky Games for Halloween

There are less than two weeks until Halloween so that means we’re playing a lot of horror-themed games! There are a lot of scary board games out there, but these are some of our favorites that we have in our library. All of these games will be featured at our Halloween Party on Saturday, October 28th so come out to play some of them!

Betrayal at House on the Hill

If you’re looking for a game full of horror and frights, then enter the haunted house on the hill… if you dare. Players will venture into this chilling mansion to uncover what mysteries lie within. As you explore the house and discover new rooms, you will encounter a variety of strange things. The game starts out fully cooperative, but eventually, during your exploration, one of your companions (or maybe it will be you!) will turn traitor and unleash an unspeakable evil upon the house. The rest of the game becomes a fight for survival as you try to either destroy the evil force threatening the house or you are the evil force trying to kill the rest of your companions.

It’s rather fitting that one of my favorite games is perfect for one of my favorite times of the year. I talked about Betrayal at House on the Hill before in last year’s Halloween post. I love Betrayal because of the excellent replay value; with 52 different scenarios, chances are rare that you’ll play the same one twice. There is also an expansion with 52 additional scenarios that you can add to your game. Looking for more Betrayal? This year Avalon Hill teamed up with Wizards of the Coast to bring us Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate, a game combining classic Betrayal with Dungeons and Dragons. As of writing this I haven’t played it, but I’m definitely looking forward to it!

Dead of Winter and Zombies!!!

If you like zombies, you’ll like the next two games, Dead of Winter and Zombies. In Dead of Winter, players are trying to survive the winter in a post-apocalyptic world full of zombies. Dead of Winter is cooperative so you will be working together to gather supplies, fight off zombies, and survive. There is also a story element that comes into play with certain cards. Each player also has a secret objective that they are trying to complete in addition to the main objective. This secret objective could cause you to make tough choices between what is best for the colony and what is best for yourself or it could even make you a traitor as you try to sabotage the rest of the colony! If you’re looking for a more in-depth zombie game, definitely check this one out.

Where Dead of Winter is more about survival, Zombies!!! is mostly fighting zombies head on. In Zombies!!! players lay out tiles to create a town that you will be moving through. In the bottom half of the tile stack is a Helipad that you can use to escape town (after killing all of the zombies on the tile). If you do this, you win, or you can be the first to kill 25 zombies. Unlike Dead of Winter, the only two resources you need to worry about are your bullets and your health and, if you do happen to die, you “respawn” with only half of your previously collected zombies. This game is not designed to be cooperative (although you could theoretically play it that way), meaning that you have to use your cards and move zombies around strategically to try and hurt other players. But, of course, you also don’t want them to kill 25 zombies and win before you do. If you would prefer to just shoot a bunch of zombies instead of dealing with the intricacies of the rest of your colony, this may be the zombie game for you.

Fury of Dracula

Fury of Dracula is a one vs everyone else game where one person is playing Dracula while other players take on the roles of the characters (like Van Helsing and Mina Harker) trying to hunt him. Dracula moves around Europe in secret, creating other vampires and wreaking havoc in different cities across the continent. The hunters search for him as they travel across Europe, trying to follow his trail of devastation. If one or more hunters are in the same city as him, they fight. Dracula wins when he spreads enough of his influence across Europe and the hunters win when they cause 15 damage to Dracula, thus defeating him and ending his reign of terror.

I have only played this game once, and we were still trying to figure out how everything worked so I would definitely like to play it again. If you like the one vs many format in games like Betrayal or Letters from Whitechapel, this is another good one to try!


Mysterium is a game I only recently learned to play and I love it! Mysterium is a cooperative game in which one person plays as a ghost and the others play as psychics. The ghost is trying to communicate the circumstances of its violent murder to the psychics on Halloween night when the when the link between worlds is strongest. However, you only have seven hours to solve the murder and the ghost can only communicate in vague, abstract visions that the psychics need to correctly interpret. If the psychics can solve the murder, you all win! If you can’t solve the murder, the ghost will not be able to rest peacefully and you lose.

Mysterium is one of those games that you’ll want to play over and over again. I recently learned to play it with a few of my coworkers and we played it four times in a row to make sure everyone had the chance to be the ghost (and I’ve noticed our customers do this as well). It’s a great game for groups looking for something fun and cooperative.

One Night Ultimate Werewolf

If you like party games like The Resistance or Mafia, then One Night Ultimate Werewolf is another game you should check out. Every player is given a secret role with anywhere from 0-2 players being werewolves. Each game takes place over one night. Every night, everyone goes to sleep and an announcer (or the free app!) calls each role to wake up and perform an action before going back to sleep. Once all roles have done their actions, everyone wakes up and you get only a few minutes to deliberate and decide who you think the werewolves are and choose someone to lynch. The catch is that your role may have gotten changed overnight so you may have started as a villager, but become a werewolf by the end of the game and you have no way of knowing that until each player discusses what cards they switched or peeked at over the course of the night. The villagers win if they kill at least one werewolf (or if there were no werewolves and no one is killed). The werewolves win if there is at least one werewolf and no werewolves were killed. One Night Ultimate Werewolf is fast, fun, and engaging, so you’ll want to keep playing again and again.

Story Line Scary Tales

This last game is probably geared more towards younger players, but adults can certainly have fun with it too. Scary Tales is a game that plays like Apples to Apples or Cards Against Humanity, but with a story developing over each turn. There are two stories containing fifteen cards that you can choose from. Each card has missing information (either character, place, feature, object, or action) on it that players are supposed to provide. At the beginning of each turn, the narrator draws one of the story cards. All other players have to choose one of their cards to turn in to the narrator who then chooses which card he likes best and the person who played that card gains a token. The narrator position then passes to the next player and the game continues until the story is complete. The player with the most points on their tokens is the winner. 

These are just a few games that are perfect for Halloween, but they’re some of our favorites. What are some of your favorite Halloween games?

Sandwiches, Sandwich Pairings, Pumpkin Spice and More in Mechanicsburg

Pumpkin Spiced Latte. Yum!!

Being one of the best restaurants in Mechanicsburg, Pa requires us to stay on top of the trends and pay attention to our customers.  We have some of the best sandwiches in the local Mechanicsburg area and we are going to keep it that way.  We like to keep it fresh and we do that by regularly offering different sandwiches and other tasty items to keep people coming back.

Next time you are in the Mechanicsburg area and looking for a sandwich near you, stop in and try our newest addition, The Karuba.  The Karuba is a luscious pulled pork barbecue sandwich with over 1/3 of a pound of delicious pulled pork flavor.  We offered this sandwich over the past two weekends and both times we were sold out by early afternoon on Saturday.  This will be a permanent addition to our sandwich menu in the near future.  In the meantime it is only available as a sandwich special on the weekends.

Best Pulled Pork Barbecue Sandwich in Mechanicsburg, Pa


Soup and sandwich pairings are also a big deal for some of our customers.  One of the best seasonal soups we have available for our soup of the day offerings is our home-style tomato soup.  Made with fresh ingredients and super tasty we find that our customers really enjoy pairing our tomato soup with our Scoleville sandwich.  The Scoleville is one of our most popular panini grilled sandwiches.  The Scoleville is a jalapeno/Colby Jack grilled cheese sandwich.  Mechanicsburg locals refer to it as the J-pop sandwich.  It has just the right amount of “pop” from our fresh jalapeno cream cheese spread that pairs perfectly with the Colby Jack cheese.  This is quite honestly the perfect sandwich to go with a fresh hot cup of our tomato soup.  It will war you all the way down to your soul.

So what else is new at The Game Table Café?  Well how about a few options that are perfect for sharing after you have had your fill of great sandwiches.  Besides our regularly offered bags of chips and pretzels that go with your typical sandwich restaurant, we are in the process of creating a new category on our sandwich menu.  It will be the “To Share” section of the menu.  This is still under development but we are already offering popcorn and chips & dip to go with your post sandwich snacking requirements.  These are great sharing plates that we bring out to you so you can share them with your friends while you enjoy one of the great games from our library.

Order something to share like our chips and dip. Best Lunch in Mechanicsburg, Pa.

Are you ready for the Fall drink frenzy that usually hits this time of year.  Well, being one of the best restaurants in Mechanicsburg, we are certainly ready.  The tastes of Fall are filled with pumpkin spice, cinnamon, apples, nutmeg and of course hot tasty coffee.  Our Fall drink selection goes perfectly with our sandwiches & soup, and will fill you with warm and wonderful feelings of Fall.  First up is our own version of the Pumpkin Spiced Latte.  We make ours from actual pumpkin pie filling giving it a hearty and flavorful Fall taste experience.  Just like having a good slice of pumpkin pie…..who can resist seconds.  Many customers in Mechanicsburg come back for a daily cup of our Pumpkin Spiced Latte throughout the Fall, some even getting two a day.  Pumpkin spiced lattes are a must for the Fall, but have you had our hot spiced apple cider.  Yum!!!  Its fresh tasting and filled with warm cinnamon flavors and the sweet taste of ripe apples right off the tree.  This is a guaranteed Fall taste experience that does not disappoint.

Another Fall Drink…Not Pumpkin Spice, but just as good. Hot Spiced Apple Cider.

So next time you are looking for the best sandwich in Mechanicsburg or a great pumpkin spiced latte be sure to visit us at The Game Table Café.  Our new Karuba sandwich will be available this weekend and will soon be added to our regular list of great tasting sandwiches.  Starting this Thursday, the first day of Fall, our Pumpkin spiced latte and the hot apple cider drinks are available.  Stop in and enjoy great tasting sandwiches and the fresh taste of Fall drink

Central PA’s Only Game Cafe