A new game cafe in Plano is rolling the dice on the board game trend. Called Friend & Foe Board Game Café, it's a combination game room and cafe with sandwiches, coffee, beer and wine.
The owners are friends Corey Goodwin, Brad Davis, and Ashley Davis, whose fondness for board games reflects a solid national trend of this non-high-tech way to spend your spare time.
After hosting game meet-ups at various venues for more than a year, they opened a shop at 2929 Custer Rd. with a collection of 625 board games — from Battleship to Pandemic to Monopoly to Clue — stacked neatly on shelves lining the cafe's walls.
There's a $5 charge for anyone over 13 that covers you to play games and stay as long as you want. There's also a café with sandwiches, salads, and snacks.
Goodwin says they're seeing all ages, from kids to retirees who played games when they were young.
"There really has been a resurgence of interest," he says. "Across the street from us is Madness Games & Comics, one of the biggest comics and hobby stores, and their board game selection for purchase is huge. New games are coming out at such a quick rate. It's been a growing hobby, and then with innovations like 3D printing, it's sped up the process so you can do it yourself."
Friends & Foe is the second board game cafe in DFW; a similar concept, Game Theory, opened in Fort Worth in 2018.
Board games pivot away from the isolating effects of technology — away from people sitting together gazing at their individual iPhone — and towards interaction.
"For a lot of people, it's taking a break from electronics and enjoying face-to-face time," Goodwin says. "But there's also something about this medium that pulls out good traits and skills. It gets you to grow as a person, but without it being forced."
Their hottest games include Settlers of Catan — now called, simply, Catan — which Goodwin says was a "game changer" in the board game world.
"It takes elements like dice moving and planning, but intensifies it," he says. "Catan was a gateway game for a lot of people."
F&F hosts frequent events such as "Dungeons & Dragons" night or "Spooky Trivia," sometimes at remote locations such as Martin House Brewing, sometimes at their cafe. And their food is nothing to sneeze at, either; overseen by Ashley Davis, it features sandwiches such as a corned beef and pastrami reuben on her "Grandma's house-made bread."
Meanwhile, they're working to increase their library to 1,000 board games. "There's at least 100,000 board games out there, but not all are good or worth playing," Goodwin says.