Photo courtesy Milestone
Nick Brewer was such an avid fan of board game parties at home that he and two of his friends opened Milestone, a board game bar with a party vibe, in October at 312 Cleveland Avenue NW in downtown Canton.
“Before COVID hit, I was pretty much having game nights at my house two nights a week,” Brewer said.
Asked for hosting tips, he chuckled and said, “Having a well-stocked fridge of beer is key. Good food and drinks for sure; you want what will keep people around for awhile. Buffalo chicken dip and chips, snacky stuff.”
Okay, but most important are the games themselves. “You really want to pick games that people are down to play and learn,” Brewer said. “Knowing who’s coming and what they’re comfortable with is huge.
“Make sure you have a set of options because even the casual gamers these days are playing more advanced games,” he said.
Consulting Milestone’s website, Milestone.Games, might be a good way to get some game ideas, as it details the bar’s inventory of almost 800 games by category, number of players, complexity, length of play and other factors.
Asked for some quick recommendations, Brewer said, “Skull is great for six players. It’s a bidding and bluffing game that they used to play in bars in Mexico. You’d do a shot of tequila when you flip over a skull. As soon as you learn the rules, you can play a game in under 20 minutes, more like 10 minutes. You end up playing it six or eight times in a row.”
For a family group, he said, “Just One is a great word-association game. We recommend that all the time at Milestone. It’s lots of laughs, and you can play it over and over again.”
How about a virtual game party? The websites BoardGameArena.com and Tabletopia.com have large quantities of digital games that can be played online for free.
“Board Game Arena is huge. We play tons of games on there,” Brewer said. “You can set up a Zoom meeting session. Some are free; others require a subscription.”
Most of all, Brewer would like people to have game parties at Milestone, where there are eight game tables in the main room, and two private rooms that seat eight and 10.
“But for people who aren’t ready to go out in public (due to COVID-19),” Brewer said, “I’m totally fine with fostering the hobby with game nights at home.”