I’ve been thinking for a little while now about doing pieces on Board Gaming culture in different cities. Like, whether they have cafes, bars, really awesome game shops or what game is really popular there.
So here is my first attempt: Board Games in Madrid
Before I went I did some research and found that there were a few board game cafes and a really interesting looking games shop that I wanted to visit.
It’s always a little risky looking at small businesses online, as they are infrequently updated, but Madrid is really easy to get around in, so I figured it was worth a stop on the Metro to check them out.
My first stop was to try and find some of the cafes. Now, I was only there a couple of days so I had to limit my search. I figured I’d hedge my bets and go to Lavapies area as it said there were two of these cafes.
It was a bit of a trek to find the first, Oestra Celeste. Finally we found it, or what would have been it if it hadn’t closed down. Yup, clearly I hadn’t done my research that well or I may have noticed something like that. Not to fret, I assured my friend, there is another just round the corner from here.
So we walked, I actually looked at Google Maps this time, but then were confronted by a different taverna than the one I was expecting. I enquired inside and asked if they still did Board Games, to which she showed me the small collection of very battered, over-played games.
Ah. We took a seat anyway and had some drinks. The place had a Bo-Ho without trying feel, and bookcases full of books, plus Louis Armstrong crooning in the background. A pretty cool place actually. Before we knew it it was late and way past dinner time, thanks to a lovely Spanish fellow chatting away to us about language and Independence.
As we were getting ready to go, I tried to ask the barmaid about the ‘Board Game Cafe’ which was online and what had happened. To which they both said Aaahh that’s just round the corner! The Taberna Encantada…But it’s closed now.
Alas, I was just not meant to try out their BG Cafes this trip; but the shop didn’t fail to impress!
They started out 20 years ago specialising in card games, which they still dedicate a lot of the store to.
They have a large gaming area out back for around 70 people for games nights.
I got chatting to the guy and he explained that the Spanish gaming industry has really taken off. That so many board games, classic and new, are being made in Spanish now rather than just English. It was really fantastic, they do stock a lot of less-known games, some independents, but he explained that crowd sourcing sites are making it more difficult for them to do this. They still do, but it’s a lengthier process.
I wanted to buy so many of them but alas 20kg allowance just wasn’t going to cut it. Plus, my Spanish is passible for getting around, but I’d struggle to play a game in it!
I thought I’d picked up a sort of card game with figures, like say Munchkin but Zombie Crows. It was light and cheap, and seemed to be in English. Alas, yet again, I was mistaken.
It wasn’t until I got it home that I realised it was an expansion pack (and in Spanish) for the game Zombicide! Incidentally that game looks amazing and I’ll hopefully have it for my next review!
One thing that I noticed was that Force of Will, the trading card game, is hugely popular there. The guy in Metropolis was quite surprised I hadn’t heard of it. It has apparently taken Spain by storm. My boyfriend hadn’t even heard of it and he goes to Insomnia and places.
So overall, Madrid seems to be in a transition period in regards to Board Games, maybe in a year or two another visit will see more developments.
I hope you enjoyed this, I’m going to aim to do one for Glasgow soon, which should be a lot easier without the time and language barriers!