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Survey results #6: Gaming events, cafes, and BoardGameGeek

by | published Monday, March 28, 2016

Although the board game community is small compared to some other hobbies, there’s a strong sense of community. Conventions and gaming events are a huge part of that community, so we asked what events people attend – be they larger conventions or what’s on at their Friendly Local Game Stores. We also specifically focus on if folks are gaming at board game cafes, as they have become quite prevelant over the last few years! Following that we’ll move to an online community – BoardGameGeek (BGG)! We asked who uses BGG, and what for. (And next week we’ll take a further look at online communities for gaming in our social media breakdown.)



Here is a breakdown of what is in the graphic above:

Do you attend conventions?

40% overall don’t attend conventions. Out of the other responses, 19% attend general geek culture cons, and 23% attend general geek culture cons with a board game aspect. And a small 6% attend invite-only conventions.

If you do attend either game-specific conventions, or cons with gaming, which do you attend?

The breakdown by popularity (and don’t forget the North American bias that the survey suffered from even when we tried to be inclusive with this list!):

N/A 29.10%

GenCon 19.20%

Other 14%

Essen Spiele 10.60%

Origins 9.30%

BGG.CON 8.40%

PAX Prime 5.80%

UK Games Expo 4.70%

The Gathering of Friends 4.60%

PAX East 4.20%

Dice Tower Con 3%

DragonCon 2.70%

FanExpo Canada (Toronto) 2.70%

World Boardgaming Championships 2.20%

PAX Australia 1.80%

Unpub 1.80%

Geekway to the West 1.50%

BGG.CON Spring 1.20%

PAX South 1.20%

Protospiel (any location) 1.20%

Sasquatch 1.20%

Kublaicon 1.10%

Lobster Trap 1.10%

Breakout (Toronto) 1.10%

Cancon (Canberra) 0.90%

Prezcon 0.80%

Fallcon (Alberta) 0.40%

BGG@Sea 0.40%

Halcon (Halifax) 0.30%

Conquest (Melbourne) 0.20%

Write-ins for ‘other’ included: Phoenix Comicon, Eugene Games Gala, TotalCon, Strategicon, Terminal City Tabletop Convention, Metatopia, Fastaval Denmark, SaltCON, Dragonflight, Viking-con, ORCAcon, LexiCON, Zuiderspel, BunnyCon, Concentric, GeekGirlCon & many other local cons!


How often do you attend larger (200+ people) gaming events?

43% of us get out there for large events once or twice a year, which is awesome!

N/A 46.8%

Once a year 27.7%

Twice a year 15.4%

Three times a year 5.9%

Four times a year 2.1%

5+ times a year 2.1%

Do you attend board game tournaments (either at FLGS’s or conventions)?

We lean more toward just playing than competing – but organized play and tournaments on the rise, so it’ll be interesting to see how this changes in the future. 18% attend these events, and 82% don’t’.

Do you attend smaller, more regular gaming events where you live?

52% of people attend smaller and more regular gaming events where they live – it seems like there are quite a few thriving gaming events happening in communities outside of regular game groups. 48% of people don’t attend these sorts of events, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t regularly gaming!

Do you game at board game cafes?

Yes 764 32.6%

No 1582 67.4%

If you have, or do, game at board game cafes, which do you go to?

We asked people to write in the board game cafes they visited or have visited, and here are some of those results (and a lot of responses where people will look for cafes when they travel if they don’t have something near them!):

Mox Boarding House, Bellevue

Randolf pub Ludique, Montréal

Knight Moves Cafe, Boston

Snakes and Lattes, Toronto

Face 2 Face, Toronto

Castle Games, Toronto

Pizza Ludica – Vancouver

Storm Crow – Vancouver

Geeksboro, Greensboro

Empire Board Game Library, Albuquerque, NM

Malted Meeple, Hudson

Bastard cafe, Denmark

Emerald Tavern, Austin

Card Kingdom – Cafe Mox, Seattle

Boards & Brew, College Park

The Uncommons, NYC

The Side Quest. Lakewood

Tabletop, Cleveland

Thirsty Meeples, Oxford

Aarhus Brætspilscafe, Denmark

Board Game Island, Galveston

Hobro Boardgamegeek Café, Denmark

Crossroads, Waterloo

The Adventurers Guild, Kitchener

Cardboard Cafe, London (Ontario)

AFK, Seattle

La Revanche, Québec City

Uncles Games, Bellevue

Gameporium Uptown Espresso, Seattle

GameHaus Cafe – Los Angeles

Gamers@Hart, Hartlepool, England

Game Corner, Christchurch

Alchemist’s Refuge, Melbourne

Spielbound, Omaha

Kingmaker, Columbus

Go Lounge, Brisbane

A-Game, Toronto

The Dice Cup, Nottingham

Chit Chat Play, Markham

Across the Board, Winnipeg

Victory Point Cafe, Berkeley

Comic Book University, Indianapolis

Interactivity Board Game Cafe, Victoria

Dice and Donuts, Preston, Lancashire

Hungry Hippo Board Game Cafe, Adelaide

Monopolatte, Ottawa

Enchanted Grounds, Denver

Old Game Cafe, Seoul

The Hub, Edinburgh

Spiele Bar, Vienna

Draughts, London

The Hexagon Board Game Cafe, Edmonton

Volver Cafe, Naples

Games Lab, Melbourne

Caca City, Taipei

The Board Room Game Cafe, Halifax

Portland Game Store, Portland, OR

Guardian Games, Portland, OR

Le Dernier Bar Avant La Fin Du Monde, Paris

Goblin Cafe, Istanbul

Guild Restaurant, Canberra

Board, Exeter

The Loft Board Game Lounge, Ottawa

Cafe Meeple, Kyoto

Des*s*art*spoon, Osaka

Hello, Otsu

Ludo, Quezon City and Makati City

Makati Beer & Boardgames, Makati City

DyceNDyne, Pasig City

Boardgamecafe, Hungary

Tarsa’s Jatek Bar, Hungary

Spielwiese, Berlin

Settlers, Hamilton, Scotland

Cakes n Ladders, Auckland

Dungeons & Drafts, Fort Collins

The Haunted Game Cafe, Fort Collins

Meepleville, Las Vegas

Cafe Myriade, Perth

King Me Boardgamery, Saskatoon

Qarfa, Aalst (Belgium)

Café Taktik, Gothenburg

De Loge, Ghent

Hotsy Totsy, Ghent

Spilavinir, Reykjavík

The Rook and Pawn, Athens (GA)

Tipsy Beans Unplugged, Pasig City

Puzzles Boardgame Cafe – Bonifacio Global City

The Library Pot, Richmond (UK)

Bampot, Toronto

Bruixes y fades, Valencia

Oh My Game, Valencia

——————– is the largest online board gaming resource, so we wanted to capture its use and importance within the community in this survey!

Do you use (BGG)?

No 8%

Yes – but I am not a registered user 15%

Yes  – I am a registered user 77%

Over 3/4 of respondents are registered users on BGG – and a further 15% use the site but aren’t registered – so what are they using BGG for? (Multiple selections were allowed in this section, but only a handful of people selected one use – usually game info, reviews or rules)

What do you use BGG for?

Reviews 82.90%

Game information 80.90%

Ratings 77.90%

Game rules 75.20%

Forums 64%

Collections 56.90%

Finding images of games 49.70%

News 45.20%

Links to videos 43.10%

Geeklists 42.20%

Wishlists 39.70%

Logging plays 37.40%

Looking at the hotness 30.40%

Guilds 23.80%

Contests 21.50%

Links to podcasts 12.60%

Other 6.70% – write-ins included the Essen list, running blogs, collecting microbadges, “it’s my homepage”, “going full nerd”, print & play games, marketplace, geek buddies, math trades, rule clarification, custom rules

Organizing game groups/finding people to game with 6.60%


  • Nicole H.

    Nicole had played a lot of backgammon, Life and Monopoly when younger. She started playing hobby games in University after trying out D&D 3rd edition, and then joining her University game club. After a while she gravitated towards board games as a casual gamer. After moving to Toronto in 2009 she started gaming more and met her (former) partner Adam through the hobby and hasn't turned back. It's hard for her to pick a favourite game, but if you really stared her down she might pick Castles of Burgundy. When not gaming, Nicole enjoys cooking/baking, reading comics, watching tv/movies and visiting museums! And cuddling every dog she can.

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