Dobra poteza is the first Board game Cafe in Ljubljana

The team recently visited the local board game café Dobra poteza. There, we analyzed several different board game mechanics, with the goal of stimulating our mindsets and supporting the ideation phase of developing our kulTura gamification project. More information about our findings can be found here.

After testing, we had the opportunity to sit down with Jure Gantar, the director of the café and a long time board-game enthusiasts. He was kind enough to share some insights on gaming, which will surely prove invaluable throughout our development process.

You’re somebody who observes games being played as part of your workday. Namely, you see this done in a usually non-game context: in a coffee shop. Would you say that you have identified any behaviors or characteristics, that this activity can foster?

I believe that playing games incentivizes a different kind of socialization in people. In a normal context of a coffee shop, friends would get together and, after running out of interesting conversation topics, have nothing tangible to do. Here, they always have an activity ready and available. Playing games is a social activity – it promotes an active way to spend free time. When you engage with something instead of just being passive, it retrospectively feels like this time was spent in a more interesting way.

Can you identify several different groups of gamers, split either by demographic or behavior?

Dobra poteza can get crowded!

I found a great resource on this on Boardgamegeek. There, they split players into 6 groups: Tacticians, Socializers, Immersionists, Daredevils, Architects and Strikers. If we talk about the clientele of Dobra Poteza, we often divide players based on what games they choose to play. Some come here for an easygoing, fun night without thinking too much, while others see game nights as the chance to showcase their strategic masterclass and analyze their actions as much as possible. We often see player groups, who, above all else, want to one-up each other and opt for more competitive games, while others relish the exploration of different types of games and mechanics.

Have you perhaps noticed, that gaming has helped you (or perhaps a friend) develop or amplify certain characteristics or abilities? Can games do this?

Certainly. I’ve actually lead several children’s workshops, where this is perhaps most apparent. Studies have been done in this field as well. There are many characteristics, but I’d like to emphasize grace in both victory and defeat. I feel like being able to say »Hey, it doesn’t matter that I lost, I had a blast gaming with my group of friends!« goes a long way. On the other hand, in spite of our love of friendly banter about ‘destroying’ your friends in a game, the same importance can be stressed about how to behave as the victor. It is very important to understand that, in the end, we’re all on the same level – when gaming, and in life.

Finally, do you have a favorite game mechanic?

Before opening Dobra poteza, Jure organized board game nights with his local Student’s club in Ajdovščina

I enjoy Worker placement. It’s a mechanic in which a player, on their turn, has a limited amount of worker tokens. They then send their tokens to different locations and get certain goods in exchange. These goods are later used elsewhere in the game. What I like about this mechanic, is that sending a worker to a specific location means that, for the remainder of their stay there, other players cannot send their own tokens to this specific location – often limiting their resources as a result. It’s an interesting dynamic of blocking opponents, that opens all kinds of exciting situations.

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