We’ve heard of board game shops and cafés, but how many have heard of a board game café? Ipoh Echo had a fun session with Tiny House Board Game Café to learn what it is all about.
Located in Greentown Avenue (opposite Sushi Mentai, a few shops next to Padi House), Tiny House is a strategic spot for tabletop entertainment after meals or to simply blow some steam off from daily undertakings. The board game café has been operating since August 4 last year.
We spoke to husband and wife owner, Penang-born Alex Chua, 33 and Ipoh girl Lee Ee Laine, 34, who are passionate towards nearly every board game in existence.
“We’ve heard of board game cafés in other states but in Ipoh, Tiny House is perhaps the first of its kind,” Alex told Ipoh Echo. “Here, we feature around 100 collections of board games for customers to select.”
For the first two-hour gameplay in Tiny House, one needs to pay RM17 but an optional additional RM5 gives players the whole-day session in the café.
“In my opinion, spending a maximum of RM22 at our café is an entertainment alternative with good value for money,” Alex added. “With the multitude of board games we have to offer, visitors can spend the whole day here without getting bored.
“Also, it gives everyone a break from swiping their phones!” he quipped.
“The issue with our generation is that there is little to no medium that facilitates ice-breaking sessions physically,” Alex opined. “Through board games, everyone involved can get to know each other better in the midst of screams of cheer, laughters, sighs or all of them at once.”
“We also allow customers to bring their own board games. But there’s a catch; we only allow genuine, unaltered games,” Ee Laine stated.
Explaining further, she said, “Like any other genres and types of games, there are those that had been modified to be cheaty and non-conforming to the intended gameplay, in a way similar to an incomplete set of a board game’s accessories, which is unfair to some players who wish to have a smooth experience while playing.
“Also, our great concern over having genuine products in our café is due to our appreciation for game designers and publishers’ hard work and time they put into creating the game. Besides, having counterfeit products contribute to an unethical games market which will severely hurt our reputation.
“Thus, it’s our principle to only allow original games to be brought into our café, should players have any,” Ee Laine remarked.
Asked what range of customers they usually receive, she said, “Since the café is located in close proximity to the General Hospital and Royal College of Medicine Perak (UniKL), we frequently welcome doctors, healthcare workers, teachers and medical students as visiting players.
“Other than that, people between 20 to 40 years old are our usual target age group. Sometimes, we also receive families with children, who enjoy the board games equally as the adults do,” Ee Laine added.
Both Alex and Ee Laine offer tutorials for those who are playing board games as first-timers.
“Sometimes, inevitably, existing players forget the basics of board games. Through the tutorials, we also jog their memory.
“Certain also games require moderators, like a guide. If players request, Alex or I will join their game to provide them a walkthrough for the gameplay,” Ee Laine added.
Not to worry; Tiny House adheres to SOPs imposed by the government following the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak by maintaining physical distancing, frequent sanitisation, temperature screening and customer registration using the MySejahtera mobile app.
“We used to open during weekdays as well, but seeing that the public is being extremely cautious lately, we’ve adjusted our operation hours to suit the latest situation,” Ee Laine mentioned.
“Nevertheless, we value patronage from all walks of life,” Alex and Ee Laine expressed gratefully. “Thank you to everyone who supports our passion for board games.”
Tiny House Board Game Café is open for board games Fridays to Sundays from 3pm to 11pm. For a group with more than four players, reservation may be made by contacting Ee Laine at 016 563 2955.
17A, Persiaran Greentown 8, Greentown Business Centre, 30450 Ipoh, Negeri Perak