CBS 4 News – “Top Coffee Shops In Northern Colorado”
January 30, 2012
“Tucked away in a Fort Collins’ strip mall, The Haunted Game Café is a hidden gem. This shop offers delicious coffee drinks as well as loads of board games patrons can play for free. They also sell new games that you’ll be unable to find elsewhere in Northern Colorado. The atmosphere is fun, with patrons of every age playing everything from monopoly to more complex games. If you are tired of the same old, same old, The Haunted Game Café is the ideal diversion.” [Read about Our Open Board Game Library here]
“…The Haunted Game Café really soared past my expectations as well. Half of me was expecting a dark, dingy, pit full of hardcore gamers with few social skills. The other half of me was expecting a tiny little overpriced shop that sells the same games that big box retailers have. I can say I was pleasantly surprised to be wrong on both counts. There was a good mix of people playing games, a friendly guy behind a coffee bar, and a store full of games and knick-knacks, many of which I had never even heard of before. Yes, they had a lot of the popular games you would except at a game shop, but I would say that 75% of the games in the store were games I had never seen before, but looked very intriguing. Now here’s the best part: There is a whole wall of games that you can try out before you buy, or just come hang out and play at the café. And they have a nice little coffee/snack bar right inside the store with coffee, chai, espresso, tea, hot chocolate, soda, xing tea, bawls energy drinks, snacks, candy, cider, and all kinds of good stuff…” By: Beano [Read about Our Open Board Game Library here]
“Open since October of 2009, The Haunted Game Cafe is tucked away in the Red Lobster plaza on the west side of College between Horse Tooth and Foothills Parkway….Inspired by Disney’s Haunted Mansion, the cafe is adorned in deep purple and black – a spooky, fun Victorian theme rather than a gory Haunted House. The music is as entertaining as the decor. While at times you catch classic Sinatra or jazz, every now and then you will hear the theme music from the Disney Mansion, Ghost Busters and Nightmare Before Christmas. It adds a certain charm to the place and isn’t cheesy…
I also had a shot of espresso. The Haunted Game Cafe uses a custom blend of Jackie’s Java, roasted right here in Fort Collins. This was not an espresso for the weak. It’s a kick-you-in-the-pants intensity at first, but mellows into a rich taste of dark chocolate. Then each sip becomes more mellow and chocolaty. It was fantastic. And this is about the time my jaw hit the floor realizing how much time and effort Gary puts into making a really, really good cup of coffee. Then, The Haunted Game Cafe was no longer a “game cafe” to me, but a coffee house with games…
I even came home, walked through the door and said to my husband, “We have to go there for a Date Night. It was so fun!”“
Examiner – “Fort Collins Coffee Shop and Game Store”
The Haunted Game Café in Fort Collins is a different type of coffee shop. Sure, it has coffee, chai, tea and specialty drinks. Sure, its owner is really into good coffee. Sure, it has great decor. But this coffee shop also offers games. Lots of games. Over 80 games that are open and available to customers who want to play. And customers do want to play.
The haunted theme is evident throughout the Haunted Game Café. Electric torches are held by blackened arms that seem to reach out of the wall. Bats and ravens are everywhere. The clock face doesn’t stop at 12, but continues to 13. A door in the back is covered with heavy chains. One wall holds photos of celebrated horror authors….[the] owner of the Haunted Game Café, didn’t know it when he opened the shop, but there was already a resident ghost. Some might think that Gary invented “Oscar” to sell the haunted theme, but the shop – and its theme – was in place before he ever heard about the ghost. How the ghost got there and why it haunts this building isn’t clear, but Oscar has been there for years.
Although one might think the haunted theme would play into an old stereotype that paints game shops as dark dungeons, this Fort Collins game shop has large picture windows and an eclectic clientele. Couples who are looking for something different from the same old movie night find that here they can play and converse during a date. Families can get away from the television and tensions of home while relaxing over a game. Groups of friends or acquaintances can laugh and play and trounce each other in friendly competition. Whether people want a game that is easy to learn and play in an evening, or something more complex, whether they want a board game, a card game, or something else, they will find something interesting on the wall of open games. [Read about Our Open Board Game Library here]
The Haunted Game Café offers more than just open games to play. Every Wednesday night they run a Dungeons & Dragons game. Anyone can drop by and play. There are tournaments for Magic the Gathering… [See Events Calendar]
While board game cafes have been around in Asia for quite a while, the Haunted Game Café seems to be the first of its kind to open in the U.S. It’s different from other game cafes in the United States in four major ways: 1) It doesn’t offer online or electronic gaming; 2) Its open games are free to play – there are no game or table rental fees; 3) It sells games, as well as having open board games available for play; and 4) It includes a real, full-service coffee shop. Because it is so unique, the folks in the game industry are watching to see how it does. So far it’s doing great.” – Tam Frager [Read about Our Open Board Game Library here]
“She looks down at the cards in her hand, contemplating her next move…I peruse my cards, searching for counter-attack possibilities, but am disappointed with my options. Things are looking bleak and she will likely beat me. Again.
Throughout my life, I have loved playing card games, board games, and video games…For the two of us, the holidays are incomplete without marathon game days. However, we do get restless after too much game playing at home, and we eventually feel the need to get out of the house. In that situation, the perfect solution for us is The Haunted Game Café. Located behind the Red Lobster on College Avenue, the Haunted Game Café is a game store and coffee shop with a “Haunted Victorian” theme. Their signature drinks include Vampire’s Kiss, Zombie Elvis, and the Tell-Tale Heart, and their coffee blends are Zombie Virus and Embalming Juice. The uniqueness and creativity of the names almost makes me want to start drinking coffee. However, the drink selections are not why we frequent this unique establishment. Instead, we go for this:
Yes, there are plenty of games to purchase here. However, their game library provides an opportunity for you to choose a new game and sit down to play for free, right then and there. With hundreds of choices, you can easily choose a new game to try on each visit. When you think about it, it truly is a brilliant idea. After a recent fun-filled afternoon of discovering Blokus in their game library, we of course had to purchase it for further fun at home. [Read about Our Open Board Game Library here]
With so many games to choose from, it may seem overwhelming. However, we have always found the staff to be extremely helpful, making suggestions and recommendations based on other games we’ve enjoyed. Over the summer, my 12-year-old discovered Magic: The Gathering, and it was merely a matter of time before we were both hooked…Because of their helpfulness, the comfortable environment, and the hundreds of games to sit and play for free, I’m sure we’ll be spending some of our holiday break here!
The Bottom Line:
The Haunted Game Café is a fun destination for both serious and casual gamers. I recommend a family outing to the cafe to browse their library and play a few games. Be aware that some of the games, with names such as Stoner Fluxx, may not be appropriate for younger children. Other games (such as Poo) may result in fits of giggles and loud-mouthed potty humor from the kids, and maybe a few fathers as well! For additional information on the food and drink provided at the cafe, please check out this review from Feasting Fort Collins!
In addition to the game sales, game library, and café, they offer an impressive calendar of events…[See Events Calendar]
Free to use the game library, but between the café and the impressive selection of games for sale, you’ll likely be tempted to make a purchase!” – June Macon, Growing Up Fort Collins Blog
“...they look like a game store that knows how to have fun. They featured discounts on food and drinks for patrons that came in constume, had raffles during the evening for great Halloween games such as Arkham Horror, Betryal at House on the Hill, and Last Night on Earth, as well as free Pizza and Cupcakes! I for one am glad to see a great new gaming establishment having some success and would like to see the gaming community up in Ft Collins and around Denver support them as they can. Owner Gary Sproul has invited me up personally in the future and I will definitely be taking him up on a visit soon as they have a ton of stuff on the agenda that is right up my alley and personal tastes. Game on!“
“…The second Potty Award goes to The Haunted Game Café. Although they are not a business that caters to the baby and toddler crowd, they still make some basic accommodations. They are a perfect example of how a business can make life easier on parents with just a few small and affordable changes. A step-stool, for example… [A changing table is] the “minimum requirement for The Potty Award.” – June Macon, Growing Up Fort Collins Blog
The Coloradoan newspaper has written several great articles about us when we opened, for our first anniversary, for our sponsorship (for 3 or 4 years) of Turning Point’s annual Zombie Crawl, and after our fourth anniversary. (Whew!) The articles are behind their paywall. See the full list of Coloradoan articles about The Haunted Game Cafe here.