Whether you love board games or wish you did, Victory Point is for you. For $5 per player (weekdays) or $7.50 per player (weekends), you can stay as long as you like, play up to 800 games and not leave with any of them.
My husband and I recently visited Berkeley's Victory Point Café, the Bay Area's first board game cafe, and had a great time. We had lunch, nibbled on snacks, and checked out a few new-to-us board games. Since our first lunch date, I've returned for special one-on-one time with each of my kids, ranging in age from four to eleven. While Victory Point is not specifically for families and children, they are always welcome.
Founders Derek DeSantis and Areg Maghakian wanted to combine their favorite things into a single destination: board gaming, community-building, coffee, and beer. With more than 800 games to choose from, it helps that they've labeled the games in clear categories and have an enthusiastic staff to guide you toward a selection. All the children's games are also listed online if you want to plan ahead. But c'mon, half the fun is in discovering what you don't know about!
If you've heard about a new game for your family, but aren't ready to commit, come on in and take it for a test run. My husband and I were looking for a good game for two players that we could enjoy during the span of a reasonable lunch break. The owner suggested Tsuro and explained the set up and strategy to us as we finished our sandwiches. Alec had heard of the game for several months on various gaming podcasts (yes, we are nerds!) but hadn't tried it yet. After two rounds, we were hooked and bought it on the spot. If you buy any of Victory Point's (limited selection of favorite) games while you're there to play, you can save 10%.
While eating and playing, you can request table service by clipping a little clothes pin on a special table stand (pictured above with one of my favorite games, Fluxx). It seems they've thought of everything.
Plan your visit
Location: 1797-A Shattuck Ave, Berkeley between Francisco and Delaware
Pricing: $5 per person for all you can play games during a single visit on weekdays or $7.50 each on weekends. And if you don't play, you don't pay. If you aspire to be a frequent visitor, you can level up and buy multi-visit passes to save as I have. There is also a cafe menu for you to purchase food, treats, and drinks.
Reservations: For $10 per person, you can reserve a table spot in advance. This is useful for busy evenings and weekends especially. All guests joining you will also pay $10 each.
Parking: Metered, it can be a bit of a pain in that part of Berkeley.
[All photos by Heather Flett]