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Why Southeast Asian Entrepreneurs Should Play More Scrabble (and Monopoly)

Here are 4 reasons

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BY Adelle Chua - 22 Sep 2016

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

It is past 11 pm on a Wednesday night at Laruan, a board game cafe on Maginhawa Street in Quezon City, Philippines, and the tables are full of students, young professionals and – yes -- entrepreneurs.

Kevin Ching, one of the cafe’s eight owners, says he and a friend had the idea of putting up a board game cafe because of his own interest in games. They reached out to similarly inclined friends and opened Laruan (which means a place to play in Tagalog) in December 2015. Allowing its patrons to “disconnect and reconnect,” It’s proven to be a hit.  

Here are four reasons why entrepreneurs can benefit from the occasional game of Scrabble and Monopoly:

1. Board games take your mind off your gadgets

Don’t make the mistake of asking for a Wi-Fi password.  There is no Wi-Fi in Laruan.

“People do need a place to get away from their gadgets,” says Ching. “While technology has helped a lot of people touch base with one another, it has also taken away tangible or palpable connections. Having something like a board game to play with someone keeps you engaged in something with a real person and not your phone.”

2. Board games remind you of your childhood

Out of the more than 200 games in Laruan’s selection, the most popular remain to be Jenga and Monopoly even as customers eventually opt to try newer ones. Says Salazar, “These are games you already used to play. You know the rules. It’s easy.” 

3. Board games make you forget about time

Customers can actually come and stay the whole day if they wished. There is a minimum amount of orders -- P150 -- to do that. The cafe closes at midnight on weekdays and 2am on weekends -- a testament to how oblivious people can be of the passing of time when they are having fun.

4. Board games take entrepreneurs out of their isolated silos

It’s always noisy in board game cafes; there is plenty of yelling and screaming. “It’s music to our ears,” says Ching.

“We encourage people to interact with each other. We often interact with our guests as well. Human interaction and engendering a feeling of community is one of the reasons we created this cafe,” he adds.

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