Jeff Carter was a wildlands firefighter in northern California before deciding that he wanted to do something totally different with his life. In April of this year, Jeff decided to open the first board game parlor in the Reno area. “The Glass Die” serves craft beer, tea, coffee, and soda to anyone over 21 who comes in, but more importantly they provide hundreds of tabletop, board, and card games for people to enjoy, free of charge. Monopoly, Twilight Imperium and everything in between can be found there.
Board games have seen a huge resurgence in recent years as traditional family games like Clue and Sorry are pushed aside for more complex, adult-oriented games such as Settlers of Catan and Cards Against Humanity. Where most articles you see on BuzzFeed or Yahoo News start with “Millenials are killing (insert any industry here),” millennials are actually driving a boom in the board game market.
“I think the recent movement started with Cards Against Humanity… but you can see it as far back as [Settlers of] Catan 20 years ago,” Carter said.
Kickstarter has had a huge impact on the market as well, allowing people to get their ideas online for others to fund. Carter attributed the resurgence of board games to this as well. With so many different ideas and designs out there, Kickstarter really allows smaller indie games to get made for everyone to enjoy.
On most nights of the week, it will be a fight just to get a table at The Glass Die. There are people crowding the place every night, enjoying party games, and more intense time-consuming games. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing evening with some friends or a sweat-filled battle with a fellow board gamer, there is something to be found for everyone. They are also always filling their shelves with new games to play and filling their kegs with new local and out of state craft beer.
The Glass Die symbolizes something more than the growing popularity in board games though, it symbolizes the growth of Reno’s midtown. As more and more niche shops start popping up, Reno further establishes itself as something more than a place where people come to get divorces and gamble. The college town vibe that so many places in California have such as Berkeley or Davis is starting to creep into the Reno area, and a board game parlor is just another example of this. When you walk down midtown you’ll now see shops that only sell Acai bowls or ice cream sandwiches. Finding the crowds to fill these specialty shops is not as hard as it used to be, and as Reno grows, more and more shops like this will open.