Where to buy and play board games in Portland
For a time there, the pandemic forced game night into the dimly lit corners of our own homes (necessarily). But after so many nights of baked appetizers, boxed wine, and nerve-wracking explanations of the rules of the game to your friends who’ll just beg you later, it’s time to get the game night back on track, and in Portland, there’s no shortage of places to assemble your table crew.
From the board game heaven that is Mox Boarding House to the laid-back patio of the Basement Pub, here’s where to buy and play board games in Portland.
Goblin master games
A new addition to Portland’s board game scene, Master Goblin Games opened March 1 on Hawthorne and features a modest section for board game browsing and plenty of tables and chairs for tabletop fun. . The space has been quiet since opening but promises free open games and weekly events. The entrance can be tricky to find, but just look for the cute goblin with a monocle.
We can’t mention board games in Portland without mentioning Guardian Games, the tabletop staple that blesses the southeast quadrant with its 10,000 square feet of board games and accessories. Hard-to-find games are almost a guarantee here, and while it’s not quite a restaurant or bar like some of the other entries here, Guardian Games does host tabletop tournaments and weekly events, which you can find on their schedule.
After catching a Timbers or Thorns game in Providence Park, head to Goose Hollow, the board game mecca at the nearby Mox Boarding House. The Parisian-inspired interior is part boutique, with a slew of games, and part restaurant, with surprisingly brilliant entrees and meals, like Cubano pork sliders or Ethiopian lentil stew. Indulge in their range of nifty cocktails with fun names like the Royal with Squeeze (a peach vodka drink with raw champagne, orange juice, lemon juice and grenadine) and the Lupulin Fiasco (made with gin, a misty IPA, lime juice and simple syrup). Bring your own game to play at your table or borrow one from the shop catalog. (There are also stores in Bellevue and Seattle, Washington.)
The 4th wall
Gather your board game crew for Tabletop Thursday at the 4th Wall, a cafe/cinema hybrid, which opened Nov. 1 on SE Hawthorne and Nov. 15. If Magic The Gathering is more your thing, the place also offers Magic Monday for a rousing round of Commander (which they’ll teach you how to play if you haven’t already). The space also features video game tournaments, trivia nights, and movie screenings, during which visitors can sip Sisters Coffee, eat from their menu of pizzas and sandwiches, and finish with Doe’s ice cream.
The basement pub
While it doesn’t necessarily present itself as a haven for board game lovers, this cozy southeast bar has classic games like chess, battleship, and more, plus a little nook with a few pinball machines. . On Mondays, the basement hosts a chess evening for players of all levels. There is also a back patio where you can hang out with a big boy and play a game. Keep it quiet late at night so you don’t disturb nearby neighbors.
This Tigard gaming bar/restaurant is named after an ancient Egyptian board game, although their catalog of games (just over 200) is a bit more current and focuses more on fast-paced play. If you’re looking for more games, be sure to hit Versus Board Games right down below. At Senet, you’ll find classic bar fare like barbecue pork nachos, flatbread pizzas, and “breakfasts for adults” (a platter of pepperoni, salami, cheese, and pepperoncini mustard). Or keep it simple with a peanut butter and jelly (or Nutella) sandwich. Build your Catan community while drinking powerful cocktails.