I've been to board game stores that serve food and drinks, but I've never before been to a full-on board game café. Given that Canada is full of them, I couldn't visit here and not go to one—even if I'm technically working.
Right now, I'm co-teaching a French-Canadian culture class, and we're in Canada with the kiddos. They are supposed to be practicing their French as much as possible. And last night, I had the perfect solution: Take a couple of them with me to a board game café!
Most of the students were too cool to go with me, but I took some kids to La Revanche last night, and we had a BLAST. The game library is huge. There are game teachers there to help you select and learn games in both English and French. And you can play games that really stretch your language skills—we went with Tales of the Arabian Nights, which meant that we were all doing a lot of reading in French. My brain got a workout, too! (I passed my reading requirement for my Ph.D. back in the day, but it's been a while.)
During the game, we had an adventure in which my students were imprisoned several times, one kid went crazy from listening to an overly-long speech, hearts were broken, and a magical relic turned one of us into an animal. I managed to repeatedly earn the "sagesse" skill, so the students now sarcastically call me "wise one." It was hilarious, and most importantly, it was all in French.
Not only did the kids have a great time—meaning that more kids will want to come in the future—but my colleagues were intrigued by the fact that the students had to work through so much French. (English is their first language, so they lean on it whenever possible.) If we do this trip again next year, we might specifically try to arrange a trip to a board game café so the kids can try to learn game rules in French and have a more immersive language experience.
This is one of those awesome situations where my professional and personal interests combine in a satisfying way. Not only have I passed the board game disease to a new generation, but I managed to help my students work on their French, even though I don't really speak it myself. I'm going to call that a win.