Well Played Board Game Cafe Review in Asheville, North Carolina
Local Business Reviews,  Family Friendly,  Wining & Dining

Well Played Board Game Cafe Review: Back to Basics

It’s no secret that board games have taken off over the last decade. No longer are we stuck with the small cache of 10 games to choose from like previous generations. 

With games like Exploding Kittens becoming the most backed Kickstarter of the time and the hashtag “board games” having over 5 billion views on TikTok, it’s safe to say, despite a world being overtaken by electronics and people using FaceTime with one another, board games are back in a big way. 

Well Played Board Game Cafe has answered the call, and whether it’s the classics or the new, trendy, and maybe obscure, chances are they’ve got the thing you need to scratch that gaming itch! 

I am a late bloomer in the nerd world – now a 30-something mother whose hobbies are what one would consider “cozy.” So when I look back on my younger years of partying and bars and late nights, I don’t miss them at all. 

Well Played Board Game Cafe Asheville
All images courtesy of Well Played Board Game Cafe

But I find myself yearning for those few short, sweet years – post-barfly, pre-mom life – where I got together with my friends and went absolutely feral on some board games. I was an untouchable wordsmith in Taboo, with the hands of a surgeon in Jenga, and well… pretty terrible at Cranium, but even the greats know their limitations. 

Peak socialization for me was when my head was huddled down with my closest cohorts, making life choices of deep importance with fake money and theoretical crops.  

Although downtown Asheville has no shortages of microbreweries or pizza joints, Well Played Board Game Cafe is something refreshingly unique – a relaxed atmosphere, filled wall to wall with board games for every age, with varying degrees of intensity or required players. 

The cozy space, located on Coxe Avenue, is an inviting, well-lit space with over 700 games to choose from. Upon entering, you quickly notice how low-pressure the decision-making process is. There is no time limit or someone waiting for you to choose a game. 

Once entering, you pay a flat rate for all-day play, find a table (or, if you’re lucky, some comfortable couch seating), and unleash yourself onto the wall of games. And man, the games!

Well Played Board Game Cafe Review

Luckily, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, the staff is friendly and knowledgeable with suggestions, even if you’re like me and using hand gestures, unable to remember the name of a particular game that you are looking for.

If you’re feeling a bit more antisocial, that shouldn’t be a problem at all, as everything is wonderfully and clearly labeled – whether you’re looking for family-friendly, 30 minutes and under, or strategy games. There is also a separate space that hosts some favorite card games, like Spot It and Uno, too. 

Upon entering, my kids instantly run to the giant wall-sized Operation board on the wall. Tongs the size of your hand hang from the unsuspecting patient as you try to extract the items as you would in the original Operation but on an obscenely large scale. 

This is a family favorite for us as it always gets the laughs rolling in as mom and dad order coffee close by. Well Played not only has a variety of options for the coffee and tea aficionados, which are served on a dish with complimentary animal crackers, but also a full-service bar with wine, beer, and cocktails. My inner child was jumping with joy for the animal crackers, admittedly. 

Well Played Board Game Cafe Feature

The drink menu alone for a board game cafe is a happy surprise, but the food menu is impressive. With the cafe opening at 8 am most days, they don’t want their patrons to feel like they need to cut gaming short. So, they have put together a breakfast menu with bagel sandwiches, croissants, and French toast. 

There’s a small plates menu that offers perfect snacking and gaming food with pun-intended names for bites, as well as a selection of hearty sandwiches and a kids’ menu that will get a thumbs up from the little ones. They didn’t skimp on desserts either, with freshly made milkshakes, floats, and mouthwatering cookies. 

Taking my time browsing the monumental wall of games reminded me of browsing my favorite bookstore, stoking a familiar, comfortable flame. I was pleased to finally get a chance to play and get firsthand experience with some big price-point board games that I wasn’t entirely sure were worth the money. 

After considering it, I chose Everdell. A game that is all over the internet for its cozy and cute gaming aspects. Assembling the 3D tree board piece, you set out to gather resources to create a harmonious village of whimsical woodland creatures.  

Well Played Board Game Cafe Interior

While I was invested, my kids seemed a bit too young for this dynamic multiplayer game. Thankfully, there is no time limit or procedure for deciding a game isn’t quite for you. We put it back on the shelf, and I made a mental note to add it to my list of games I would definitely like to own in the future. 

We did speed rounds of shorter, family-friendly games with my 7- and 5-year-old. Yeti in my Spaghetti, Don’t Break the Ice, Spot it Holiday, and a few simple spinner and board games for my 5-year-old. 

While my husband and 5-year-old played a game together, my eldest found a game for me and her to play together, which was a type of checkers/3-in-a-row hybrid, but with cats! Boop was the purrrfect game for a quick round of strategy, where you lay a quilt with the objective of getting three cats in a row, while also stopping the other player beforehand. 

Get three kittens in a row, and they turn into cats. You can “boop” players back a space and mark your three-in-a-row territory. I liked the game because it wasn’t overly complicated but was also super cute. 

Well Played is a welcoming space for all and offers a plethora of chances to game with others or attend meetups. Their event calendar is bursting with multiple gaming opportunities – all you have to do is hop onto their website, or daily updated Facebook, to see which best suits you. 

Well Played Board Game Cafe Asheville, NC

Dungeons & Dragons and Magic the Gathering groups meet bi-monthly, and there’s a weekly board game group, a trivia brunch, and a weekly homeschool hangout, too. As a homeschooling parent, I know it can be challenging to find affordable options, especially if you have kids in different age groups and have no qualms about a place where kids are learning and having fun at the same time – win! 

Thursday nights are the “Well Played Social Club,” where for only $3 you can join in the public event and play with a group of fellow gamers. If you’re a Buncombe County resident, Well Played also offers Zoom passes through the public library, another great way the business is getting people to play together and connect. 

I’ve been to the café multiple times now and have never left feeling anything less than joy. With computers and phones being a ruling crutch now, it’s a much-needed breath of fresh air to roll up your sleeves and get down into the trenches of a strategic board game – or just one that makes you howl with laughter! 

If you’re visiting the area or looking for the perfect rainy-day hangout, which could really last all day with the 706 and counting board games – Well Played is open Sunday to Thursday from 8 am to 10 pm and Friday and Saturday from 8 am to midnight. 

Memberships and daily passes are available, and the cafe is able to support private parties too. So get your Ticket to Ride, and check out a truly one-of-a-kind experience for any and all at Well Played Board Game Cafe, where everyone having fun is their specialty.  

Location: 162 Coxe Ave, Asheville. 

There you have it! Our review of Well Played Board Game Cafe in Asheville. Have you been to Well Played? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!

Ashley Reid is a freelance writer who feels blessed to have called Asheville home for the last five years. Born in the suburbs of Detroit, she spent her 20s living coastal in South Carolina before the Blue Ridge Mountains called her home. Ashley is a homeschooling mother to her two daughters, married to her high school sweetheart, and always looking to the horizon for her next adventure. Ashley moved to Western North Carolina after years of visiting on vacations and realized this place was way too beautiful to leave behind. The Pisgah National Forest, abundance of waterfalls, Blue Ridge Parkway, and plethora of tasty eats in the area won her over to the Tarheel State. She is happiest when she is riverside and is vehement about keeping herself and her children outdoors as much as possible. Ashley is a woman never short of a hobby or new interest. She writes for various publications and companies. She is a voracious reader, aspiring author, sewist, gardener, and amateur homesteader. She loves working with her hands and being with her kids. She has never considered being called weird an insult and has no problem telling strangers about her love of opossums or a new podcast episode. Ashley is always on the hunt for the best burger and coffee in town. She is passionate about wellness, kindness, and keeping childhood wild.

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