Cafe and bar bringing people together with board games

Meepleopolis is a board-game cafe, bar and retail store in Christchurch, with more than 500 board games for customers to rent, buy or play on-site.

The Stanmore Rd business opened about 18 months ago to offer educational courses for children and host competitions and events for people of all ages and skill levels.

The space has been specifically designed for playing board games.

Owner Dean Holden said the concept is to use games to learn and bring people together.

"We're built on a mission of strengthening and improving communities and educating communities.

"And that's what we try to do and we use tabletop games as our medium to do that."

Meepleopolis game cafe & bar can be found at 319 Stanmore Rd. Photo; Supplied
Meepleopolis game cafe & bar can be found at 319 Stanmore Rd. Photo; Supplied
He said the board game business is also a conversation starter.

"It puts everybody in a neutral territory.

"It allows people to have something in common. They can then hopefully branch off into other aspects."

The venue holds events like social Wednesdays, speed dating and quiz nights.

Entry costs $10 a person or $5 if food and drinks are purchased.

Qualified teachers with a passion for games also run educational classes for kids each week at the store.

Meepleopolis teacher and event co-ordinator Alys Ututaonga runs the nine-week Game Design Foundations class.

Ututaonga, who has a background in early childhood education and sport teaching, covers the mechanics behind board games with kids aged 6 to 9.

"The big thing is just kind of asking little questions and seeing if you get any thoughts about it because children often think about something and then they will come back to you with an answer maybe five or 10 minutes later."

Meepleopolis has partnered with organisations, such as the Cancer Society, Auckland University and Climate Change Campus, to enhance its programmes.

It's also working with the Shirley and Halswell libraries to offer courses from about June or July.

- By Emily O'Hagan, made with the support of NZ On Air