The New House Rules Café in Hudson, New York, is a tabletop game café, a playful new trend just reaching our region. House Rules offers up some elevated café fare and a stacked shelf of games, old and new. Proclaimed by friends a “board game sommelier,” the café’s owner and former wine seller Kathleen Miller prides herself on an innate ability to match you with the perfect game.
“Curating board games is very similar to curating wines,” says Miller, who spent five years at Hudson Wine Merchants. “It’s very personal to an individual’s tastes.”
The menu is simple and unpretentious and is tailored not to get in the way of your cards, dice, fake money or figures. There’s a grilled cheese with artisan cheeses and house-made roasted tomato butter ($8), a couple of homemade hummus preparations ($7), roast beef on olive ciabatta ($9) and more. There is also a list of sides and salads that can easily be treated as small plates or tapas, great for sharing with friends.
“Board game cafés are this new industry and that gives me a lot of freedom to figure out what that can be,” Miller says. “I’ve always been a geek and now it’s sort of the age of the geek.”
Miller says that over the past 15 to 20 years there’s been a board game revolution. New games are coming out with innovative themes, mechanics and styles. One of the benefits of House Rules is you get to try them without buying them. There is a $5 charge for hanging out and playing games but that’s waived if your bill goes over $45.