GLENS FALLS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – There’s more to the modern world of board games than just chess and checkers. Complex rules, unique artwork, and hours of adventure are in store for anyone who gets into today’s tabletop game worlds. Next year, that adventure is set to come to Glens Falls.
“Play With Your Food” is a board game tavern, set to come to Glen Street by Centennial Circle as soon as the start of 2023. A couple months from launch, its creator already has over 500 board games cued up for the public to come and play, over some reasonably-priced food and drink. Those games do include familiar family favorites, like “Monopoly” and “Sorry,” as well as things like “Betrayal at the House on the Hill” and “Arkham Horror” – the types of involved, new-era games full of story and strategy, that set the project off in the first place.
“In 2020, we were down in North Carolina for the summer, and one of our buddies says ‘Hey, we’re going to a place to play board games,'” recounted Mark Shaw, the creator of Play With Your Food – and president of Queensbury-based IT company StoredTech. “Of course, my first thought was, ‘That sounds terrible – I hate ‘Monopoly!'”
During that time, Shaw and his family quickly turned around on the idea. After accompanying that friend once, they were all quickly hooked, returning many times that season and eventually creating a game room in their own home back in the North Country. From strategy and storytelling to simple family fun, the board game business had provided Shaw and his family a place to get into a new hobby that has become a part of bonding and social time for all of them.
Next, he hopes to pass that same gift along to the Glens Falls community. The location is 126 Glen St. – the property at the corner of Glen and Park streets, with large glass windows that used to provide a look inside a Look TV studio. After years of vacancy, those windows will soon provide a look into a space with tables and chairs inviting friends and family members to rent a spot, sit down and play nearly 600 board games.
Play With Your Food serves another purpose, too. Shaw makes it a point that the menu will consist of affordable food options, not fine dining – something he says Glens Falls already has plenty of. The spot is in front of another building on Park Street owned by Elizabeth Miller – who sold him his new business’ location – which is set to play host to an affordable lunch and market spot, targeting a similar need.
The tavern will also offer beer, wine and mead, for groups of gamers 21 and older. Shaw looks at Glens Falls and sees plenty of events, like the Adirondack Film Festival, Balloon Fest and the recent Special Olympics Fall Games. Those are great, but leave a gap.
“We need more things to do in Glens Falls. There’s a lot of places to eat and places to shop, but not a lot of other destinations. I was born and raised here, and spent a lot of my life here – I’m more interested in giving back than making a lot of money.”
Shaw knows that the people coming into Play With Your Food will have a wide range of tastes. The board games he’s stocking up on range from games for young children, to involved games that a group of adults can spend a full day on.
The location was chosen in September, and the work pace has been fast. The tavern was only just announced, and in the weeks preceding opening, crews are doing work on the roof, HVAC system and flooring – the first work the spot has seen in over a decade.
At the end of the day, one thing is for sure. Shaw knows that many more customers will come in feeling the same way he once did – not knowing what a “board game tavern” could offer, other than the same tired games from every family board game night they’ve ever been to. His intention is to surprise them, the same way he and his family were surprised.
“I had a friend who texted me, saying ‘When I first saw this idea, I thought you were crazy, but I’ve had two days to think about it and I think it’s great,'” Shaw said. “And if people don’t know what we are, they should come in. We’ll have staff who can guide them through some games, and maybe help them ignite a new passion.”