Victoria’s Interactivity Board Game Cafe is keeping residents entertained by remaining open for retail and deliveries amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Interactivity Board Game Cafe/Instagram)

‘Board game sommeliers’ keep residents entertained with home deliveries

‘Pandemic’ board game currently among the most popular, co-owner says

The COVID-19 pandemic has people around the world staying home to stop the spread of the virus and Victoria’s Interactivity Board Game Cafe has begun making home deliveries to keep customers entertained.

What started as a board game shop in 1987, eventually became the Interactivity Board Game Cafe in 2013. On a typical evening, the cafe is packed with friends, families and coworkers playing games at the many tables in the cafe, popping in to purchase one of more than 800 different games or sitting down to enjoy one of 37 milkshake flavours.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: New directory connects Victorians with open businesses

For now, in-store play is out of the question to combat the spread of COVID-19 but that isn’t stopping staff from bringing board game fun to Greater Victoria residents.

Cafe co-owner Bill Heaton said while the cafe is closed, board games can be hand-delivered on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Delivery is free but orders must be at least $40, he said.

Currently, orders are taken by phone although an online system is in the works, Heaton said. However, he prefers to have customers call to order games because staff “actually know the games” and can provide advice and recommendations.

READ ALSO: Talk to your kids about COVID-19: here’s how

Some games take three hours to play, or worse, three hours to learn to play, he said. By speaking to the “board game sommeliers,” customers will end up with the perfect game for their situation.

Lately, Heaton said, the most popular games have been two-player games, kids games and Pandemic – a game where players treat and cure viruses that are taking over the world. He wasn’t expecting a game featuring a plague and characters such as the Contingency Planner and the Quarantine Specialist to be popular during this real-life pandemic, but the 2008 game has been in high demand.

The Board Game Cafe is running low on some of the most popular games including Azul, Ticket to Ride and The Quacks of Quedlinburg but Heaton is working on sourcing more to meet demand. He’s specifically looking to stock more kids games that don’t take long to play for families stuck at home.

READ ALSO: Schooling stays home next week for most B.C. students in COVID-19

Staff delivered about 14 games on Wednesday and have more lined up for the weekend, he said.

The cafe is still open for retail from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and customers can come inside one or two at a time to choose a game or puzzle – the 19-plus side has been temporarily turned into a puzzle showroom.

“Happy and jolly” staff are available to help with game selection in person at 723 Yates Street or by phone at 250-480-3979, Heaton said. He only asks that customers consider where they live before ordering as one delivery to a home in Colwood took him about 40 minutes.

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