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Recently opened GameHaüs Café gives an old pastime a new look

January 11, 2014|By Kelly Corrigan, kelly.corrigan@latimes.com
  • Co-owners Robert Cron, left, and Terry Chiu, right, hold some board games at their GameHaus Board Game Cafe in Glendale on Friday, January 10, 2014. The cafe, on S. Brand Blvd. and San Fernando Rd., has about 700 board games. No internet connection is available because the owners want people to interact with each other.
Co-owners Robert Cron, left, and Terry Chiu, right, hold… (Raul Roa / Staff…)

Now that Terry Chiu and Robert Cron have moved into Glendale’s historic Seeley Studios, they’re on a quest to make new again of what’s old, particularly when it comes to board games.

The two longtime friends and board-game aficionados opened what may be the first café of its kind in Los Angeles with board games as its centerpiece. The café was inspired, in part, by Toronto’s Snakes & Lattes, a café that blends board games and food — the kind of place that was sought after by Cron and Chiu, who have played games together for years with friends.

Chiu and Cron opened GameHaüs Café in mid-November giving patrons access to more than 700 board games, with titles beyond Clue, Monopoly, Sorry! and Battleship, which one would expect to find here.

Although those familiar games are the first to greet customers when they approach the café’s vast selection, Cron and Chiu have hundreds more, many from Europe, that they say have revolutionized board games in the past 10 to 15 years for not being centered on player elimination.

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A favorite between the two is Arkham Horror, a game set in 1926 in a small town in Massachusetts, where monsters have begun to invade humans.

Games like Pandemic, where players must find a cure after a disease has broken out around the world, Cron said, are part of a new crop of cooperative games that have emerged in the last several years where players must work together and prove successful enough with their own strategy, or the game wins.

“Gaming has sort of grown up,” Cron said. “It’s not Candy Land anymore. It’s not Chutes and Ladders….we all grew up playing games and gaming has sort of followed suit.”

A favorite of Chiu’s is Zombicide, which captures the fear of a zombie apocalypse so well, he said, “It makes you feel like you’re in a movie because there’s danger around every corner.”

In the weeks since GameHaüs has opened, Cron and Chiu have also seen customers come in merely to play the old favorites such as Operation.

Their goal was to open a café with a warm, inviting feeling, and as some games call for hours of time, and some customers stay all day to play at the café, only to return the next day to do it all again.

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