Game Night Social

We have been inviting old friends as well as new ones, to come join us for our Game Night Social every week ever since we moved to Bali in 2016. Before we founded Downtime Cafe, we would bring a backpack full of games and meet up at one of the local area coffee shops every Wednesday evening.

Game Night at coffee shop c.2017
Game Night at coffee shop c.2017

It’s a great way for you to come and get to know the phenomenon that is modern board games–because the new board games are not just about ways of bankrupting your friends over Monopoly any more.

Just like there are many books and movies to choose from, you now have a wonderful array of board game choices. For example, you can compete to build new towns and cities in Catan, or you can compete to build railroad networks and fulfill routes objectives in Ticket to Ride. Collect colorful tiles to build a beautiful pattern in Azul! Also instead of competing, you can collectively work together to save the world from a number of raging diseases in Pandemic!

Game Night @ Downtime original location c. 2018
Game Night @ Downtime original location c. 2018

The games themselves is only one part of what makes the activity so enjoyable. Playing board games is an experience that is best when shared amongst you and those you play with. It is like a conversation–it is a shared activity and pastime that connects you with your table mates, creating new bonds and friendships.

Board gaming Friends at Game Night, 2022
Board gaming Friends at Game Night, 2022

It is in the spirit of friendship that we hold these weekly events. More than merely a chance to play board games, in the end it is our way to get people to come together every week to connect and make new friends. That is ultimately what it’s all about.

We invite you to come join us!

Game Night Social is held at our location each Wednesday evening from 5pm

Posted by dtadmin
Board Games for Newbies

Board Games for Newbies

We often get asked, “What are some recommended board games for newbies?”

As of this writing, our board game library has just a little over 200 titles on the shelves. While it’s still a modest collection compared to larger more established board game cafes, it’s still overwhelming to new gamers who have only ever played Monopoly and Uno.

I have compiled a small selection of popular titles that we have often used to introduce board game newbies to this wonderful world of ours, based on a few criteria.

First, the rules must be easy enough to teach. I have found that board games that take over 10 minutes to teach tend to be overly complicated for newcomers. People just want to sit down and start having fun as fast as possible.

Second, the game must be relatively short. At the end of a gaming session, I hope people will look at each other and say, “That was fun, let’s play again!” Conversely, if they end up not liking it the game should finish quick enough so that they could move on to something else.

The last criterion is language-independence, largely because English is not the primary language at our location. Therefore I often prefer board games that require little or no reading at all.

Enough of that, on to the recommendations!


Loonacy // Image: Parents at Play

This is a card game of fast reflexes for 2-5 players. Players start with a hand of 7 cards, each of which has two different pictures. On the table will be a number of open cards. If you see a picture on the table that matches one of yours, play your card on top of it. Do it quickly before someone else does. The first person to completely get rid of all their cards wins the game! This game is quick, fun, very easy to teach, and is suitable even for younger children.


Tsuro // Image: Brian Holaway

In this simple tile-laying game for 2-8 players, you are laying down tiles with squiggly tracks of various patterns in front of your marker stone. Your stone then must move through the the newly-laid tile, following its track until it reaches the end. If you go off the map, you are eliminated. The last person remaining on the map wins the game! Dead-simple, Tsuro is one of the easiest introductory board games for newbies.

Hey That’s My Fish!

Hey That’s My Fish // Image: Shut Up and Sit Down

In this game instead of adding tiles you will be removing them from the board. The board is made up of hexagonal tiles depicting one, two, or three fish each. You choose one of your four penguins to move. Pick up the tile he is standing on and move him along a straight line to a new tile. You cannot jump over any gaps in the board, so don’t get trapped in a corner. The person with the most fish is the top penguin! 


Splendor // Image: The Board Game Family

This is one of our favorite board games for newbies. As gem merchants, you take turns acquiring gems from the supply. You will use them later to buy cards which gives you a discount on future cards as well as some prestige points. Splendor is one of our favorite games for 2-4 players to introduce to new gamers, as it only takes about 5 minutes to learn. What’s more, this game perfectly teaches the concept of engine-building and victory points.


Dixit // Image: Boardgamegeek

If you like a board game which exercises your imagination then Dixit may be a good fit. From your hand of 6 picture cards you choose one of them to play face down. You must then give out a hint to help other players to guess your card. Other players then choose one of their cards which most matches your hint, and add it to form a pile top of your card. From those shuffled pile of cards everyone else tries to figure out which one was your original card. However: you only get points if some—but not all—other players guess your card.

Ticket to Ride

Ticket to Ride // Image: Hobby Lark

For a slightly longer game lasting about an hour, try the ever-popular Ticket to Ride. In this game for 2-5 players, you compete against other players to build train routes by paying cards matching the color of the routes on the map. In addition you also have objectives that you must fulfill by connecting various cities on the map. If you’ve got a little time to spare, Ticket to Ride is one of the best medium-length board games for newbies.

Which other titles do you think would be a good introductory board game for newbies?

Posted by Downtime in Journal
What is a Board Game Cafe?

What is a Board Game Cafe?

Welcome to Downtime Cafe, the first board game cafe in Bali.

So, what is a board game cafe? Just like any other great cafes we make great coffees, teas, juices, and other drinks for you. We also have delicious, freshly-prepared food and snacks for you like other restaurants.

However what really sets Downtime Cafe apart from everyone else is our large library of board games. We invite you to come to eat, drink, relax, and play any of our over 200 board games. That’s right, board games.

Board games like Monopoly, right? Nope, wrong! Surely just as modern blockbuster movies have evolved quite a bit since the silent black and white films of Charlie Chaplin, modern board games have come a long, long way since the simple dice-rolling days of Monopoly a hundred years ago.

Spirit Island // Image: Co-op Board Games

Our library includes some of the most popular modern board game classics like Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, and Azul. Casual gamers like to have a laugh with board games like Dixit, Sheriff of Nottingham, and Exploding Kittens. On the other end if you like a challenge we also have thinkers’ strategy games like Great Western Trail, Spirit Island, and Root.

Whatever you’re in the mood for, we have a board game that’s right for you. We have plenty of space for you to stretch out, and lots of tasty food and drinks. So come visit us and see for yourself what a board game cafe is about!

Posted by Downtime in Journal