How Board Games are Making a Big Comeback in Cyprus

Fun and Games! Cyprus Tabletop Gaming 2023 —This Festival is the First of its Kind

It’s time for some fun and games! Board games to be precise.

The Covid-19 pandemic spurred a resurgence of interest in board games around the world, including in Cyprus.

Such is the popularity of board games, also known as tabletop games, that Sunday (April 9) will see the holding of the first-ever Cyprus Tabletop Gaming Festival.

The one-day festival takes place at the European University in Nicosia. It is being hosted by Imagination Gaming Cyprus and the Table Fables (namely Crystal Michael, Constantinos Karaolis, Andonis Mechanikos, Andreas Panteli and Frixos Masouras), two groups at the forefront of promoting critical thinking, collaboration, socialisation, and skill-building through board games.

The festival will also provide an opportunity for local game designers to showcase their creations and for retailers to promote their gaming merchandise.

On offer will be a wide range of entertainment for board game enthusiasts, including the following:

  • Modern board games suitable for all ages
  • Fantasy roleplaying games
  • Trading card games (TCGs)
  • Miniature war games.

No festival of this nature would be complete if it did not feature Dungeons and Dragons, the popular fantasy tabletop role-playing game that spawned a 2023 movie and is typically played online by enthusiastic gamers around the world. It is also Elon Musk’s favourite board game because it promotes critical, out-of-the-box thinking.

To meet the D&D demand, Table Fables will host multiple one-shot sessions of the game throughout the festival, testing the role-playing, improvisation, and tactical abilities of players.

Shakes and Lattes – Boardgaming Cafe coming to Larnaca 

Also attending the festival are Maria Yianni, David Smith, and Darrell Jones, who later in April will launch the Shakes and Lattes Boardgaming Café in Larnaca.

The start-up will “revolutionise the traditional Cypriot culture of coffee and boardgames by bringing it into the 21st century,” David tells HEADLINER Cyprus.

“Tabletop gaming, in general, is becoming increasingly popular in Cyprus, offering an entertaining and social environment where people can interact with friends or meet new people,” he adds.

“At Shakes and Lattes, visitors can bond over a shared love for good coffee and board games, knowing they have something in common with others there.”

According to David, the Shakes and Lattes Boardgaming Cafe will promote the educational and therapeutic uses of board games in developing skill sets for both children and adults.

“For generations, coffee and boardgames have been an integral part of Cypriot culture,” says David.

“Despite the decline of boardgames 30 years ago due to the rise of online gaming, it is now making a comeback, emphasising face-to-face social interactions.”

He and his business partners chose Larnaca as the venue for their startup because the city lacks such a venue.

“Nicosia and Limassol have monthly pop-up gaming events, however, Shakes and Lattes plan to open permanent venues in those cities within a year.”

Why Not Cyprus?

How did David and his wife Maria come up with the idea of opening a dedicated boardgaming café in Cyprus?

“While Sitting in The Ludoquist in Croydon (in the UK), on a wet and bitterly cold late December afternoon in 2022 while on holiday with the family, we picked Dobble from the shelf,” says David.

“Within minutes we looked at each other and agreed that this could work in Cyprus. Boardgame cafes are spreading globally, including in Australia, Holland, the USA, the UK, Greece, Germany, Peru—so why not Cyprus?”

For a small entry fee of €5, boardgaming enthusiasts can indulge their fantasies at Sunday’s festival, while newcomers can get a taste of the cosy and cheerful atmosphere generated by the social interaction of playing board games in person with other enthusiasts.

Later in April, this same experience can be enjoyed day or night at Shakes and Lattes, which, it should be noted, will also have a diverse range of Italian-style coffees, teas, milkshakes, and smoothies on offer.

Board games and coffee always go better together.


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