TLDR? Enigma Cafe in Laureles is one of the best places to play board games in Medellin.
Few things beat sitting down with a beer, a burger, and a board game. If the other people around the table aren’t already my friends, they soon will be.
A board game cafe is the perfect place to do this. They offer a selection of board games you can play for free while you order from their menu of food or drink.
In Medellín, board game cafes are just catching on and can be a little hard to find. That doesn’t mean there aren’t amazing establishments where you can have fun with your friends and make new ones, though.
Let’s take a look at some of the best board game cafes in the city!
Enigma Cafe in Laureles
Enigma is definitely the most accessible board game cafe for foreigners. That’s partly because it’s located right in central Laureles, just down 39B from McDonald’s.
In fact, you’ve probably passed it and just not realized it was a board game cafe because they primarily advertise as an escape room. There is an escape room on the third floor if you’re also interested in that, but the food, beer, and board games are on the second floor.
The other reason it’s ideal for foreigners is that it’s where the Medellín Board Game group meets every Sunday afternoon, usually at about four o’clock.
While some members bring their own games, Enigma has a good selection to borrow from, ranging from basic group games like Monopoly to popular strategy games like Settlers of Catan to two-person card games like Exploding Kittens.
There’s a lot of seating, but it does fill up, especially on weekends. Last time I was there, a children’s birthday party was taking up most of the tables, but the staff were very accommodating and brought us some folding tables.
The food is mostly pub fare, the kind of thing that goes well with playing board games like pizza and sandwiches. There’s no beer on tap (pretty rare in Colombia anyway), but they do have a good selection including the local 3 Cordilleras craft beer.
Cafe Tier 1 has, without question, the best board game selection in the city. It’s down in Itagüí, so it’s probably not close to your hotel. It’s only a 10-minute walk from the Envigado metro station, though, so it’s still pretty accessible.
If you go alone, the staff is beyond welcoming. You’re bound to find them playing with the regulars, a group who made room for me at their table to join the game. Of course, in this case, it’s best to know Spanish.
If you go with a group, though, don’t worry about communication. Just find a table and pick out whichever game from the five bookshelves-full you want. Then get dinner or a board-game-themed malt like my favorite, the Meeple Milkshake based on Carcassonne, one of my go-to strategy games.
I found Madolce completely by accident. I’d actually gone to check out Draco Hobby Store, which is another place you should check out if you like Magic the Gathering or Yu-Gi-Oh!. They told me they didn’t have any board games but if I went downstairs, there was a whole group of foreigners playing in English.
Turns out that right below Draco on the second floor is Madolce, technically a separate establishment. And on Mondays at around six, just when I happened to be there, the Medellín Board Game group meets.
Madolce has a somewhat limited selection of games to borrow, but they do have big titles like Azul and Sushi Go in addition to a little video game lounge.
What I really loved about the place was the food. I personally recommend the Poio Gochu fried chicken burger. The red dragon sauce makes it.
According to the owners, La Comarca is Cafe Tier 1’s “hermano pequeño.” They’ve just gotten started and have a limited selection of games, but they do have a good range with short casual games like Exploding Kittens to mid-complexity strategy games like Terraforming Mars.
I recommend going on the weekend when there’s a little activity. I went on a Wednesday, and it ended up just being the clerk and myself.
As you would expect in Medellín, he was exceptionally friendly, and he beat me in Carcassonne, after which he taught me Magic Labyrinth and beat me in that too. He also made me some pizza from their limited menu and gave me one of their homemade sodas. Delicious.
Juego & Real is not particularly accessible to foreigners for two reasons. One, it’s down in Envigado near Carulla City Plaza. Two, it’s a small establishment basically used by one group of natives.
The owner did tell me they’re hoping to open a cafe soon, but for now, they just have snacks for sale. There aren’t any games to borrow. Instead, the group brings their own. The group is open to new players, but you would need to speak Spanish.
That said, Juego & Real does have one of the best selections of board games to buy in the city, especially when it comes to advanced strategy games. If you’re looking to purchase a niche game, I’d check it out. You could then even try it out at one of their tables.
I’ve always loved board games because of the social aspect. If you’re in Medellín with friends or family, go have a beer and borrow a game like Avalon or Dixit, something that gets you talking.
If you’re alone, though, board game cafes are a great way to meet people. The Medellín Board Game Group is organized on WhatsApp and has over 100 members, with about 30-40 showing up to each event including a core of regulars. Members come from both Colombia and abroad, but most people speak English.
In addition to spontaneous gatherings, the group meets regularly, every Sunday afternoon at Enigma and every Monday evening at Madolce Gamestaurant. They like having people comment in the group WhatsApp if they’ll be coming and about what time so that they can organize games.