Avoid boredom with this guide to playing board games in metro Atlanta

For tech-free fun in a digital world, check out our listings of cafes, bars and shops that have games available that run the gamut.
Board gamers gather at Level-Up Games to play Star Wars: Unlimited. Level-Up Games has locations in Duluth, Johns Creek and Dawsonville.
(Courtesy of Level-Up Games)

Credit: Handout

Credit: Handout

Board gamers gather at Level-Up Games to play Star Wars: Unlimited. Level-Up Games has locations in Duluth, Johns Creek and Dawsonville. (Courtesy of Level-Up Games)

Games are available at everyone’s fingertips today, whether you prefer to play on your phone, computer or a console. Board games may sound a bit antiquated in today’s high-tech world as they conjure up memories of playing games such as Monopoly or Clue when you were a kid, but they’ve evolved into a more sophisticated grown-up pastime.

From competing to become the best ‘80s synth-rock player in Xylotar to fighting against Nazi Germany in Undaunted: Normandy, board game themes include pretty much anything you can think of, and beyond — such as that deranged-looking polar bear playing a vibrantly colored instrument depicted on Xylotar’s game cover. And their playing styles include war games, cooperative games and several other types.

About 3,000 new board game titles are released each year, estimates David Satterfield of Cumming, who runs the Atlanta Board Game Meetup group as well as several others. His groups have been meeting several times a week at various locations, including Jason’s Deli on Ashford-Dunwoody Road near Perimeter Mall, for about a decade, drawing a diverse group of players. Some 20 to 30 people play in each event, with a mix of races and genders represented among those who come out to compete and socialize.

Customers at Battle & Brew restaurant/video and board game venue, with locations in Atlanta and Sandy Springs, can choose from a selection of board games to play with family or friends.
(Courtesy of Battle & Brew)

Credit: Handout

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Credit: Handout

“We have people a few years out of college up to people that have been retired,” Satterfield says, noting how the stereotype of board games being a hobby for older white men has become outdated. One woman comes to play with her two daughters, he adds, and some people come with their partners.

If you see the group playing out and about and you’re interested in what’s going on, he says to stop by. Members are eager to share their hobby with others, and that’s a definite benefit of playing in public.

“Don’t be afraid to come say hello to us and play,” he says. “We love new people coming.”

Satterfield’s love of gaming started as he played Life, Clue and other classic games growing up. From there, he was introduced to Ticket to Ride and Catan, which are extremely popular and often introduce players into the modern world of board gaming.

After finding out about a board game group, he was introduced to more games, acquiring about 30 titles. Now his collection has expanded to about 1,500 games.

Board gamers play Survive at Meeple Madness, a board game shop in Flowery Branch. The game's goal is to evacuate your pieces from an island that's breaking up.
(Courtesy of Meeple Madness)

Credit: Handout

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Credit: Handout

Whether you’re already into board games or are just getting started, check out the following cafes, bars and shops that have games available:

The Crazy Book Lady. 5058 Cherokee St., Acworth. Buy, sell and trade your used books and media and come to the shop’s Game Night, held every Friday from 6-10 p.m. thecrazybookladyga.com

Joystick Gamebar. 427 Edgewood Ave. SE, Atlanta. Billing itself as a “nerdy dive bar,” Joystick Gamebar has tabletop games, which are free to play, as well as classic arcade games. joystickgamebar.com

Giga-Bites Cafe. 1851 Roswell Road, Marietta. This gaming store/cafe hosts its own Facebook gaming group, as well as lots of others including ones for players of historical games, war games and others designed for players of specific games. Giga-Bites serves burgers, toasted sandwiches, salads, coffees, smoothies and more, and you can also buy games here. giga-bitescafe.com

Battle & Brew. 925 Battery Ave. Suite 1125, Atlanta and 5920 Roswell Road, A120, Sandy Springs. Choose from a long list of board games to play at these two locations, which also have console and PC games. Dinner and brunch menus are available, and you can order craft beers, cocktails, wine, shots and nonalcoholic cocktails. battleandbrew.com

Your 3rd Spot. 400 Chattahoochee Row, Atlanta. An Experiences Pass gives you up to three hours of playing board, arcade, table and yard games. your3rdspot.com

The Independent. 931 Monroe Drive NE, Suite C205, Atlanta. Play board games, darts and pool at this venue, which serves pub fare, beer and cocktails. theindiebar.com

The Blue Ghost Arcade. 164 Towne Lake Parkway, Woodstock. Pay a daily or monthly fee for unlimited play of board games, old-school arcade games and gaming consoles. theblueghostarcade.com

Punch Bowl Social. 875 Battery Ave. SE, Suite 720, Atlanta. You can play board games for free, try your hand at arcade games, bowling and more for a fee and order from an extensive menu. punchbowlsocial.com

Level Up Games. Mall Corners Shopping Center, 3700 Satellite Blvd. #9A, Duluth; 802 Georgia 400, Suite 120, Dawsonville; and 9945 Jones Bridge Road, #103, Johns Creek. Buy board games, get information and attend events including ones designed to teach you how to play a specific game. levelupgamesatl.com

Meeple Madness. 7400 Spout Springs Road #205, Flowery Branch. Check out games from the shop’s library, reserve a table to meet up with friends and play, buy games and attend events and learn-how-to-play sessions. meeplemadness.com

Oxford Comics & Games. 2855 Piedmont Road NE, Atlanta. Buy board games, comics, graphic novels, manga, toys and models. oxfordcomicsandgames.com

The board game Revive depends on players to rebuild civilization 5,000 years after everything was destroyed.
(Courtesy of David Satterfield)

Credit: David Satterfield

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Credit: David Satterfield


The Atlanta Boardgames Meetup Group. meetup.com/boardgames-35

Other board game Meetup groups throughout metro Atlanta. meetup.com

Giga-Bites Cafe groups. giga-bitescafe.com

Kennesaw State University Game and Tabletop Club. This open club hosts weekly board game nights at 5 p.m. Fridays in the bottom level of the Marietta campus’ Wilson Student Center, 860 Rossbacher Way, Marietta. owllife.kennesaw.edu/organization/bgtc


Boardgamegeek.com. David Satterfield of the Atlanta Board Game Meetup group recommends this website to find out about new games and read reviews of games. It also can suggest titles you may like based on what you’ve previously played and enjoyed. boardgamegeek.com


Southern-Fried Gaming Expo. July 19-21, Atlanta. gameatl.com

Dragon Con. August 29-September 2, Atlanta. dragoncon.org