DuBischDra

This is still gaming – but of the analogue variety. At Switzerland’s first board game café, the DuBischDra, which means ‘It’s your turn’ in English, participants play face to face. As Florian Widmer is well aware, this is good for the soul.

Parlour games are enjoying a boom, but this is not Florian Widmer’s main reason for running a board game café. He is convinced that playing games together, slipping into roles and broadening your horizons with new games are activities that are also good for the human psyche. This makes it all the more surprising that the DuBischDra board game café in Altstetten is the first of its kind in the whole of Switzerland.

Spending hours in the hobby room playing games with his friends has long been a big part of what Florian Widmer does in his spare time. ‘In the past, I was always keen on the idea of owning a games shop,’ he explains, ‘but Zurich already has several of those, and it doesn’t need any more.’ Before Florian abandoned hope completely, a book led him to another idea. ‘The book dealt with the revival of analogue things, such as vinyl records,’ he recalls.

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Games cafés where people can play analogue games.

One chapter was devoted to board games, which are enjoying success in cities such as Toronto in Canada, in the form of games cafés where people can play analogue games that are available there, combined with the format of a café. These places also often have a shop included, where the games are available to buy there and then.

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An analogue idea surrounded by app-based concepts.

Florian liked this idea, and when he had to prepare a business plan as part of his studies, the subject that he chose for this was a Swiss board game café. After graduating, he took part in a start-up challenge using a refined version of that business plan and unexpectedly achieved a respectable fourth place – an analogue idea surrounded by app-based concepts.

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The project was turned into reality, and in summer 2019 the DuBischDra opened its doors, just one minute’s walk from Altstetten train station. After you have paid your admission fee of 10 francs, you find yourself in a cosy room, generously furnished in wood and fitted out with tables and chairs.

A large part of the wall space is taken up by shelves full of games.

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A large part of the wall space is taken up by shelves full of games. These are sorted according to a traffic-light system, enabling guests to choose their level of complexity. If you need it, you can have a game explained to you by the staff – or even get one recommended. ‘You can choose as many games as you want,’ Florian explains, ‘and you can order drinks while you play.’

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The classic games, such as Brändi Dog, Tichu and Monopoly, are there, of course.

In all, from the container to the outdoor area, the DuBischDra can hold more than 100 people. The guests include whole groups, such as circles of friends, as well as individuals and also couples on dates. The classic games, such as Brändi Dog, Tichu and Monopoly, are there, of course. ‘But our philosophy is also to be able to teach people something new,’ Florian says. ‘The biggest obstacle is often reading the rules. If somebody – in this case, our staff – explains the rules, it is easier to understand them and to learn a new game.’

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In all, from the container to the outdoor area, the DuBischDra can hold more than 100 people. The guests include whole groups, such as circles of friends, as well as individuals and also couples on dates. The classic games, such as Brändi Dog, Tichu and Monopoly, are there, of course. ‘But our philosophy is also to be able to teach people something new,’ Florian says. ‘The biggest obstacle is often reading the rules. If somebody – in this case, our staff – explains the rules, it is easier to understand them and to learn a new game.’

Board games can help people to step outside the roles expected of them.

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Board games, he says, can also help people to step outside the roles expected of them in their everyday lives, with the knowledge of everybody involved. It gives Florian pleasure, of course, to hear one sentence, in particular – and how could it be otherwise? As he puts it: ‘It is so nice when we have a good number of people in and I walk past the tables and hear the players saying to each other, ‘Du bisch dra’.’

Adress

DuBischDra
Geerenweg 23B
8048 Zurich
Website

Opening hours

Thursday and Friday, 11.30 am – 10 pm
Saturday, 5 pm – 10 pm