Boston is full of Euro players and board game groups. However, up until now, information about them has been scattered all over the place. No more! Updated for Fall, 2016
Weekly Public Groups
|Group||Location||Time||Leans Towards||Group “Feel”||Pros & Cons||of the Environment|
|Beantown Gamers||Kendall||Mon/Weds (alternating), 7:00 – 12:00||Euros
|Easily the best location: spatious, pleasant, reasonable noise levels, can stay late, steps from the T, adjoining parking lot is free. Attendance is capped around 35 and is almost always full; RSVPs required.|
|The Reddit Group||Central,
|Sunday afternoon into evening||Euros, tactical strategy games||A bit more
|Long hours, usually T friendly.
Tavern meetups allow alcohol (hooray!) but could be better lit. Active discussions on reddit. Typical attendance: 15-30.
|Beantown Gamers “Light”||Kendall||Mon/Weds (alternating, same weeks), 7:00 – 12:00||Lighter games||Casual, friendly,
|Airy public location (indoors) next to a Clover; also steps from the T with nearby free parking. No RSVPs required. 15-25 people.|
|Arlington||Mon/Weds (alternating, opposite weeks from BG), 6:30 – 10:00||Lighter games||Friendly,
|Food and drink, plusses and minuses of being in a restaurant. Parking easiest if you pay. New and growing meetup, 10-15 attendees.|
|Greater Boston Cube Cartel||Porter||Wednesday
7:00 – 10:00
|Heavier strategy games & Euros||Friendly,
|Panera has good tables & food, but can be crowded and closes early. Convenient to T. Typical attendance: 5-15. Group also has weekend events for superlong games.|
|Slightly Silly Gamers||Central||Sunday
6:00 – 11:00
|Good space on quieter days; has its own game library. Can get hot/smelly when it’s crowded. Convenient to T.
RSVPs required. Typical attendance: 10-20.
|Cards & Conversation||Somerville,
|Not listed publicly||Lighter games (and other activities)||Very social,
|“Heavy on the conversation, light on the cards.” Varying degrees of T accessibility.|
|MIT Strategic Games Society (SGS)||Near
|Friday 7:00 – 12:00 or later||Euros, tactical strategy games||Fast-paced,
|Huge game library. Smaller play space, 10 minute walk from the T.|
|Game Night @ Good Life||Downtown||Tuesday 6:00 – 2:00||Video games, Magic,
|Rollicking, fun, and varied; alcohol; can be noisy and hard to find space for board games unless you arrive early. (Formerly called “Game Over.”)|
Other Public Groups
These groups meet less frequently and are in the Boston area:
- Porter Square Gaming — Euro board games, every other Tuesday night, in Somerville. Extensive game library on site. Walkable from Porter and Davis; street parking available.
- Board Game Night.io — Monthly event with light to medium Euros and socializing in a loud, boisterous space, downtown on the edge of South Boston; alcohol; cover charge; well-attended; immersed in corporate sponsorship from tech companies
- New England Science Fiction Association (NESFA) Clubhouse — Monthly Saturday game days in Somerville
- Greater Boston Grogs — Weekly play of wargames and heavier Euros
- Somerville Board Games and Beer — What it says on the tin; meets sporadically at Aeronaut Brewing
- Scrabble Enthusiasts of Greater Boston — Scrabble
And these groups meet a bit further out from the city area:
- Tabletop Gamers Alliance — Variety of games, mostly Euros, very active (formerly “Metro West Board Gaming”)
- Mass Fun and Games — Lighter Euros and party games in SE Mass and Rhode Island; meets frequently
- North Shore Gamers — Light to Heavy Euros on the North Shore; looks active
- Hopkinton Board Games — Mostly lighter Euros
Additionally, the Game Maker’s Guild has weekly meetups oriented around designing and playtesting games. Their location rotates but they are most commonly in Cambridge at Kendall.
If you want to reach a broad audience with questions or to advertise your own game night, the Unity Games yahoogroup is probably your best bet.
Many people do the bulk of their board gaming at smaller, private game nights at a group member’s house or apartment. It can be nice to play with a more consistent group of people, not have to explain rules as frequently or deal with confused newcomers who are in over their heads, etc. Also, it’s nice to have more flexibility for food and beverage options, to be able to relax on a couch, etc.
The best way to get in on one of these groups is to attend one of the public board game meetups regularly, and strike up friendships with people who enjoy the same types of games that you do.
Board Game Cafes
The Boston area now has its own board game cafe, Knight Moves in Brookline. We hope they do well! They have an extensive game library which is free to use, and the staff are always happy to help teach games. Understandably, but unfortunately, they have to charge an entry fee (usually $5 to $10) to make money. That makes them a less popular spot for board game nights.
Annual or semi-annual events with space for board games include:
- Unity Games — Euro oriented. On hiatus, but hopes to be back for 2016. Usually ~30 minutes outside the city
- TotalCon — Mansfield, MA
- PAX East — Megaconvention in Boston
- Syndicon — Durham, NH
- Connecticon — Hartford, CT
- Open Gaming Convention (OGC) — Nashua, NH
- CarnageCon — Killington, VT
- Many others with broader themes: check out this very long list of cons