What's new on the streets near you? Counter Culture Board Game Cafe and Bar video

Lucy Swinnen/Stuff.co.nz

The owners of Counter Culture Board Game Cafe and Bar talk board games, and showcase some of their favourites out of the 300 that will be available at the new cafe.

Wellington couple Emma Smart and Ahmed Bulbulia were tempted to call their new board game cafe 'Full Circle'.

It was in the flat above 211 Victoria St that they discovered a shared love of board games fifteen years ago, and held Sunday night sessions playing Settlers of Catan.

On Thursday they will use that space to open Counter Culture Board Game Cafe and Bar, a dedicated board game cafe boasting 300 games, meals, coffee, craft beer and more.

Ahmed Bulbulia and Emma Smart with some of the 300 games available at their new gaming cafe Counter Culture.
Lucy Swinnen

Ahmed Bulbulia and Emma Smart with some of the 300 games available at their new gaming cafe Counter Culture.

The board game aficionados are confident that in the age of PlayStation and Xbox, good old fashioned board games can still bring a crowd.

READ MORE: World's most popular board game Monopoly to launch Wellington edition

"The name Counter Culture, is about the idea of moving away from the screen," Smart said.

A look inside Counter Culture, the new board game bar and cafe opening in Wellington on Thursday
LUCY SWINNEN

A look inside Counter Culture, the new board game bar and cafe opening in Wellington on Thursday

​"People can get together with their friends...and have some fun." 

A whole range of games from the "gateway game" for serious board gamers - like Settlers of Catan - to word puzzles, logic games, cooperative games, party games and more will be on offer at the new cafe.

"There is a resurgence in gaming," Bulbulia said.

Ahmed Bulbulia and Emma Smart with some of the 300 games available at their new gaming cafe Counter Culture.
Lucy Swinnen

Ahmed Bulbulia and Emma Smart with some of the 300 games available at their new gaming cafe Counter Culture.

Modern board games tend to be more fast paced and involved than traditional dice games or three hour Monopoly epics.

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"A lot of people only know the games they grew up with."

There are now board game conventions (Smart said he was "dying to go to a convention") and spectator competitions.

Husband and wife team Ahmed Bulbulia and Emma Smart in front of a selection of board games at their new gaming cafe ...
Lucy Swinnen

Husband and wife team Ahmed Bulbulia and Emma Smart in front of a selection of board games at their new gaming cafe Counter Culture.

Many of the games on offer at the new family-friendly cafe have been tested by the couple's children, Maya, 9, and Sammy, 7.

There will also be "gaming gurus" on hand to explain games to newcomers and a colour coding system to let people know what they are getting themselves into. Green for easy, no explanation needed, yellow for medium that may require some assistance, and red for complex games for serious board game fans or people willing to spend up to 45 minutes learning a new game.

The Wadestown couple spent the last 10 years teaching in Abu Dhabi but returned to Wellington in September last year to raise their kids and share their passion for board games.

They found the site for their new business venture by chance, after Smart decided to walk past their old flat after work and she discovered a "for lease" sign on the door. 

The cafe opened ahead of Wellycon, New Zealand's biggest board game convention held over the Queen's Birthday Weekend. 

  • Counter Culture Board Game Cafe and Bar, Open: Tuesday to Sunday 11am to late. Find them at counterculture.co.nz/ or on Facebook.
  • Would you like us to profile a new business that has popped up on your street or in your neighbourhood?

    Contact: editor@thewellingtonian.co.nz

 - Stuff

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