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15 December 2003
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Korea Life Blog - Board Game Cafe

This week I will feature pictures from my brief visit to Dongdae-mun and Haehwa-dong, Seoul, on Sunday. First up is the board game cafe. I heard these places are getting popular, but this is the first time I saw one. Unfortunately it takes a while for things to filter down through to Nowhere-dong.

Here it is, the Jumanji Board Game Cafe entrance in Haehwa. The place doesn't look like much on the outside, and we almost walked right by it. I happened to read the Korean and got excited. My friend "Julie" (name changed to protect the innocent) looked pretty skeptical, but I convinced her to check it out with me.

Hard to believe how big the place actually is. I don't understand how they made it. What, did they dig up the parking lot, put this place in like a subway station, then redo the lot and stick that entrance on top? I sometimes imagine that in the future there will be a whole world built underground.

I thought this was a good idea. I'm not sure if it would go over at PC bangs, but that's a small enclosed smoking room over there. If you smoke, you can get your fix without smoking up the joint.

Cool! Here's the "menu". They have about a hundred games to choose from and a selection of coffee. I wanted to play Monopoly but it's not that fun with two people and that game has been known to go on for ages. (But I could have played banker and cheated...why didn't I think of that before?) The cost is 2,000 won/person per hour, same as the Playstation bangs.

We're going to try Jenga. Here is the board game agashi teaching Julie how to play. Come on, it's not hard to figure out! Notice the plastic hammer. Loser gets whacked!

Here we are in the middle of a game. Julie was feeling the pressure and needed to take a break. The coffee here is pretty good, by the way.

I guess her time-out didn't help much. A few turns later she made the dolorous stroke. Crash! Assa! Where's that hammer? Muhahah!

Come on now, fork it over. Whack! bam! pop! squeak! Come on! Come on! Who's your daddy?

She vows revenge. I suggest UNO, a quick, easy-to-learn game, a favorite from my childhood. I don't know why it's taking two agashis to explain the rules. The one in the photo was shocked when I snapped this picture, and now I can see why!

Once we got started the agashi brought this politically incorrect wig over for the loser to wear.

There's no way I'm going to lose this game! I'm not going to wear that wig! I'm already wearing a hat to cover up the butcher shop haircut I got yesterday.

As if she rigged the deck, Julie won before I even had a chance to play a card. Man, I look like an idiot!

What goes around comes around. Julie lost the next hand. She's not as sportive about having her picture taken looking like a ghetto baby.

We played a few more games and headed off. I think it would be even better to go with three or four people but it was still a damn fun experience. You know, I could really spend all day going from one kind of bang/cafe to another. They're one of the best parts of the culture. I don't know why we don't have these kind of hangouts back home.

The Jumanji Board Game Cafe has its own website.

Bonus Picture!

check out number 42 in the gallery here


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