The board game café phenomenon has been getting more news coverage recently, and appears to be another sign of the growing appetite for hobby game play in North America.  The Atlantic spent some time at game cafes in Brooklyn (there are three, according to the article), and noticed the more cooperative nature of play in some of the newer games, and the growing desire for face-to-face interaction.  The Atlantic placed the phenomenon’s growth in New York in the context of a global trend, and used examples of game cafes in Beijing and Toronto to make its case. 

Another recent article, this one in the Boston Globe Magazine, focused on the surge in board game sales, and described a board game café in Brookline, and the phenomenon of eating and drinking establishments not solely focused on games hosting game nights or making games available for their patrons.

Game stores with gaming areas have long offered food, often as simple as snacks and drinks, for the players at their stores.  This new phenomenon seems to have a bigger focus on the food, and be focused more exclusively on board games as a category.  Overall, though, the growth of gaming square footage in game stores and the relatively new phenomenon of game cafes are both part of the same trend, toward tabletop gaming as a popular opportunity for social interaction, one that can take place in public places as well as in homes.