Where to play boardgames in Singapore

This is a short review of Singapore boardgame cafes and “playrooms” I’ve visited before. Some may be a little outdated because I haven’t visited recently. The listing is in general order of value for money, based on limited special offers and my personal opinion.

I am considering 3 hours’ play time as the minimum for a strategic boardgame session, given that extra time will be needed to teach new players. Special offer packages of less than 3 hours will not be considered.

[Update 04 Feb 2019: Added links to each operator’s game library listing, if available online.]

[Update 05 Mar 2019: Added a Miscellaneous section listing a few more places that have gaming tables but mostly did not state availability or pricing.]

1. Mind Café

Location: Prinsep Street (Bencoolen MRT)

The early bird catches the worm. My personal choice for the best deal is Mind Cafe’s weekend and public holiday breakfast/brunch promotion package.

It costs only $9.80++ ($11.54 after service charge and GST) per person for 3 hours of gaming including use of their game library, free flow hot and cold drinks, free flow snacks and one pastry/croissant. They don’t skimp on the quality of the free flow drinks and snacks: there are plenty of choices, including branded tea bags.

This deal is only available between 10am to 1pm, so it’s an incentive to wake up early on weekends and public holidays!

[UPDATE 21 May 2019: Price drop to $8.80++ for this package! I went yesterday on a public holiday, and had very good service from the staff. They’ll serve you the drinks and snacks at your table, and ask you for re-orders if they see your empty cup. In the current age of manpower shortages and self-service, to enjoy such service at $10 for 3 hours deserves praise!]

Links: https://themindcafe.com.sg/our-rates/#section-2, https://www.facebook.com/themindcafe/

Game library listing: https://themindcafe.com.sg/available-for-play/yes/

2. Battle Bunker

Location: Bugis+ (Bugis MRT), West Coast Plaza (Clementi West area)

This offers the cheapest option, but only if you bring your own games. For the price of a drink ($2 to $3), you can play for up to 4-6 hours at an air-conditioned venue in town, next to a MRT station. There is no price increase on weekends and public holidays.

Use of their game library is an additional $10 per person, which makes it not such a good deal, but they have games not available elsewhere e.g. Seasons.

Links: https://www.battlebunker.com.sg/, https://www.facebook.com/BattleBunkerSG

Game library listing: Not available online

3. Settlers Cafe

Location: North Canal Road (Clarke Quay MRT)

The pioneer boardgame cafe in Singapore is still going strong at its original location. It has a huge game library with classic and popular boardgames, and some out of print older games. However, it doesn’t have that many recent games.

The best deal is their Chill and Play promotion on off-peak weekday and Sunday nights. Order at least $5++ per person from their a la carte menu and play free for 3-4 hours. Full access to the game library is included. However, no teaching or assistance from the staff will be given. This offer is best for experienced gamers who know exactly what they want to play and don’t get thirsty too quickly.

Links: https://www.settlers.sg/gamersnight, https://www.facebook.com/SettlersCafe/

Game library listing: https://www.settlers.sg/games

4. Basecamp

Location: Marina Bay MRT

This playroom is a no-frills, economical option that costs only $5 per 4-hour session, if you ‘like’ the organizer’s Facebook page. Otherwise it costs $10 which is too expensive compared with commercial boardgame cafes. The entry fee includes use of their game library.

However, Basecamp only opens on Friday nights and Saturday afternoons. It is conveniently located inside Marina Bay MRT station, on a disused level. Good for CBD workers looking to unwind after work.

Links: https://www.cardboardcrew.com, https://www.facebook.com/CardBoardCrew/

Game library listing: https://www.cardboardcrew.com/collection

5. Play Nation

Location: Prinsep Street (Bencoolen MRT), *SCAPE (Somerset MRT), Tampines Hub (Tampines MRT)

This chain offers both boardgames and console games, so it’s a good option if you want to play both or are going in a mixed interest group. However, it can get quite noisy due to the sound from the console games. There are 3 branches as listed above.

The Singapore Boardgames Group is no longer holding monthly meetups there, so there are no special event prices. The standard package is $8.50++ or $12.90++ for 4 hours of tabletop gaming with free flow drinks, for off-peak or peak periods respectively (add $1-2 to the price for console games).

Links: https://playnation.com.sg/games-cafe/pricing/, https://www.facebook.com/playnationsg

Game library listing: Not available online

6. King and the Pawn

Location: Purvis Street (Bugis MRT)

Card Board Crew of Basecamp (#4 above) has managed to secure a good deal for this location. On Tuesday nights only, get 1 drink and play for 3-4 hours at only $7.50+ (non-alcoholic) or $11.50+ (beer or wine).

For other days, this boardgame bar offers unlimited gaming hours for a flat fee ($8 weekdays / $13 peak), including use of their game library. Pay once and stay as long as you like, playing as many of their games as you like. Since it opened only a few months ago, many of their games are also in mint condition. However, food and drinks tend to be gourmet, and thus more expensive, so I have placed this lower on the list.

Links: https://www.kingandthepawn.com/, https://www.cardboardcrew.com, https://www.facebook.com/CardBoardCrew/

Game library listing: Not available online

Other option: Sunny Pair O Dice

Location: Alexandra Central Mall

This is actually one of the cheapest options (ranking near #1 / #2) but I haven’t visited it myself, so I’m only listing it “for information”. Card Board Crew has a special offer on Thursday nights only: $4.50 for a 4-hour game session, including a drink and a snack.

Links: https://www.facebook.com/sunnyPairODice/, https://www.cardboardcrew.com, https://www.facebook.com/CardBoardCrew/

Game library listing: Not available online

[Update 05 Mar 2019] Miscellaneous

Note that this section has been added merely for completeness’ sake. I have not played at any of the locations below. They have gaming tables but many of them do not state availability or pricing. Contact them directly for any queries, do not ask me!

Not recommended: Coffeemin

Very limited game selection, very expensive hourly charge compared to all the above options (a minimum of 2-3h is required to play any kind of strategic game), gets very noisy if there’s another group using the area. I would not recommend it even for group gatherings or doing work of any kind due to the noise / crowding issues.

I visited the Clarke Quay Central branch once to use their computer for CD burning and online music streaming and will never return. Another group of office workers came in shortly after I entered, made a lot of noise and played the console games at top volume. It’s just not value for money.

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