Back in 2005 after joining a group of boardgame enthusiasts in Games Circle, Damansara Jaya for a few sessions of Euro boardgaming, CK (nick: jack208) felt a more organized approach to getting people introduced to Euro boardgaming would help the industry grow.
He then started KL Boardgames Meetup and self-funded the monthly meetup organizer fee.
Since then CK & team have been tirelessly organizing free meetups at various locations and was involved in most of the key boardgaming events in this country.
This online community portal was set up to 1) provide a local context to the discussion and sharing of boardgames, and 2) capture the thoughts and faces of the journey & growth of boardgaming in Malaysia.
After being involved with the boardgame community for 4+ years, CK formed Boardgamecafe.net with two other gamers (waiyan & aanemesis) in 2010 to focus on importing & distributing a wider range of boardgames to the local market.
Our mission remains the same – to grow & develop the local boardgame community – and we felt stepping up to become a Boardgame Distributor will allow us to re-invest our profits to provide even more impetus by organizing more meetups, events, competitions and other related activities.
We will not be “product pushers” but will instead use our newfound resource and extended reach to drive towards our goal of bring more boardgaming to you.
Some of the notable milestones we’ve achieved in our first year of operations are:
- An annual boardgame retreat @ Genting Highlands
- Co-publishing M’sia first Bahasa Malaysia edition game (CITADELS from FFG)
- Sponsoring a Charity Run Event (Terry Fox Run) as part of our Corporate Social Responsibility
- Rolling out an exciting Black Friday Sale promo (some said the Best in Town!)
Allow me share with you some pictures of the journey we’ve taken so far, and we sincerely hope you’ll walk with us in the future journeys of our Boardgaming Mission in Msia.
- Year 2005: The Beginning
- Year 2006: Going Online
- Year 2007: OTK Cheras & 18xx
- Year 2008: The Year of Events
- Year 2009: Same Same
- Year 2010: Stepping Forward
- Year 2011: A Brand New Year
Early days boardgaming session in my (then) office. This is an OOP copy of Carcassonne City. Rio Grande has reprinted this but it’s now called Carcassonne City 2 and no longer comes with the wooden box.
Started regular Saturday meetups at Games Circle via KL Boardgames Meetup (inactive now). The good ol’ days of gaming in Damansara Jaya.
Also involved in GAMECON 2005 held at Midvalley.
We took part in the 6-day demo/exhibition at TEG FAIR 2005 culminating with a Memoir 44 Overlord Competition. Still have the event t-shirt with me! 😛
This was the year we expanded our online presence with our community portal comprising forum, blog, photo gallery and webstore.
While we continued with meetups at Games Circle & Cheras Lancang… we also took the opportunity to test out having meetups at different public cafes…
Starbucks Times Square, 2006
Delifrance Times Square, 2006
We went all the way down to Malacca to support GACC 2006 organized by MMU Melaka.
Of course, the Malaysia Catan Qualifiers & Final July 2006 in which Ryan of Mage Cafe emerged the overall champion to represent Malaysia in Essen.
Merdeka Day Railway Game Day at Toybox in Aug 2006; the first of such Railroad-theme Game Day. We are already planning a regular Keretapi Game Day starting this year.
Our first boardgamecafe customer was Third Dimension, Penang’s 1st Boardgamecafe set up in Aug 2006. Sadly they are no longer in business. I think they are a bit ahead of their time. If they had started their business this year, I’m sure they’ll be doing great!
We started being more active with using boardgames in education for young children under the BoardgameKids label. There are still much groundwork for us to cover in this area but do watch out for more buzz from us in the coming months!
Boardgame-themed birthday parties for children; one of them was a Last Defence (W40K) Birthday Party held in Oct 2006. If you are looking for a birthday party for your children that’s different, call us! 😛
Lastly, we experienced playing Twilight Imperium 3 in total darkness (when electricity was interrupted at Outpost) during our Twilight Christmas event.
While 2006 was a very busy year for us on the meetup and event front, 2007 was a key year for Boardgamecafe.net as we discovered “OTK Cheras” in that year.
In Jan 2007, we held our very first meetup at OTK Cheras. We didn’t know this would turn into such a long-term relationship and in return we’ve made OTK Cheras a legendary boardgaming venue! 😛
2007 was also the year we immersed heavily into the 18xx genre of no-luck pure-strategy business management games, starting with 1856 and 1830.
The CGR was formed officially for the 1st time in M’sia in Jan 2007, and there was also the distinction of possibly the “shortest” 1856 game ever recorded here (a full 6-player session completing in just under 2 hours!)
First BGC Halloween Boardgame Party at Outpost Oct 2007, continuing our fine tradition of playing the Werewolf game. Oh.. how I miss our Werewolf sessions!
We continued our passion with everything 18XX as we made this an 18XX year by doing two 18xx events, firstly an introduction of 18xx games to S’poreans at their SPORE-CON in Jun 2008…
… followed by the 1st 18XX CON between Malaysia-Singapore in Aug 2008 held at Mage Cafe, Damansara Jaya.
Our modest library of 18xx games. OTK Cheras remains one of the few rare places where you can get to play this no-luck pure-strategy business management game.
We also took time to do some corporate social responsibility work by visiting and playing games with the children at Sunbeam Orphanage in Nov 2008 (part of BoardgameKids programme).
Boardgamekids also did a few children boardgame-themed parties this year; notably one at CBC Kopitiam…
…. and another at OTK Cheras where Memoir 44 was in play. 🙂
While the earlier years seemed to be so full of different activities, events and meetups; 2009 appeared to be a relatively “quiet” year for us. True, we were still doing weekly meetups at OTK but nothing “new” was ventured in this year compared to the diversity of activities we’d held over the past years.
We still have some memorable moments for the meetups, namely a 6-general game of Axis & Allies (using the 50th Anniversary rules) as we attempt to rewrite history at OTK Cheras.
Our gamers also did a humongous 8-hour session of Axis & Allies Global in Nov 2010, combining the sets of Pacific 1940 & Europe 1940 and they only managed to complete less than half the game I think. Read Hiew’s sessrep on this massive game.
… wolfx finally achieving his mission of unboxing of Caylus Premium Edition! 😛
We discovered Humans are absolutely hopeless at OTK Cheras with a current record of 2-8 against the Cylons in Battlestar Galactica. Hmm… wonder if these two got something to do with that crap record. 😛
Hiew of the famous Hiew’s Boardgame Blog started joining OTK Cheras for meetups and more importantly he brings precious games like Automobile. Well, I mean we would still actually enjoy playing with Hiew even if he doesn’t bring over those previous games.. hmm…
And of course.. more 18xx!
The “Same Same” was probably the lull before the storm as Year 2010 was a watershed year for Boardgamecafe.net in so many ways.
After being busy in the local boardgame community for 4+ years, we finally decided to make the step up into becoming a distributor & importer of boardgames from the major publishers in the USA.
Boardgamecafe Sdn Bhd was thus born.
With a new direction, and a renewed push of our existing mission to keep growing the local boardgaming community, we diversified the venue of our meetups beyond Cheras (OTK) …
We went to Pitstop Section 17 PJ in May 2010…
… and in June 2010 we found another location in Cassian Kitchen, Subang Jaya.
We also work actively with boardgame clubs at university and society/association level to help foster more face2face interaction over a session or two of boardgames.
MMU Cyberjaya is one example of such partnership, and aanemesis is looking to expand meetups in Cyberjaya/Putrajaya. If you run a boardgame club, we welcome you to get in touch with us.
We continued to build on the success we’ve had at OTK Cheras by keeping to our weekly Friday night meetup with a focus on playing the latest/brand new arrivals…
… and also classic, OOP and hard-to-find game such as DUNE.
We started our annual Boardgame Retreat in July, this time held at GICC Genting Highlands. Two days, one night of solid gaming marathon in cool weather 6,000 sq feet above sea level.. priceless gaming experience!
In Nov 2010, Boardgamecafe.net made another mark in the local boardgaming industry by being the first to publish a Bahasa Malaysia version of a top selling card game CITADELS (in conjunction with Carcasean Cafe in Kota Kinabalu and Swan Pan Asia in Taiwan).
Boardgamecafe.net became the 1st boardgame company in Malaysia to sponsor and actively participate (ie. we actually run) in a charity event, The Terry Fox Run. We seek to promote a healthy approach to life by combining the intellectual challenge of playing boardgames with the physical health gained from regular running/jogging.
Hiew did an interview write-up of CK Au in Interview with an Online Retailer. A good read to gain some insights into CK’s thoughts about the boardgame business and our local community.
To close out the fantastic year, we rolled out the first ever exciting sale promo for boardgames in M’sia; the BGC Black Friday Sale arguably the Best in Town!
Jan 2011 – OTK Cheras being featured in a full-page Star article “All-a-Board“. And more exciting events & activities coming your way soon! Will you walk with us in our upcoming & exciting journeys down the journals of Boardgaming in M’sia?
Stay tune to this portal for more updates!
A special thanks to all the gamers who have contributed in one way or another to the growth of boardgaming in Malaysia. We wouldn’t have made it this far without your support and dedication!
FEEDBACK FROM CUSTOMERS (UNSOLICITED)
“Lately I got to know a bunch of really wonderful guys, the Boardgamecafe guys, also known as the OTK gang. They are like the real life version of Boardgamegeek.” ~ Ho. HD
“Wow! You guys are probably the best purveyors of designer boardgames in Malaysia! Great stock varieties + availabilities + very reasonable retail prices and added incentives for customers. I’m Lovin’ It!” ~ B. Chong
“Kudos to CK and gang who worked hard at creating board-gaming awareness. OTK is a great place to host such events and I will definitely be one of the main supporters. As usual, whenever there are games that needs reviewing, I would be happy to contribute.” ~ Oon
“Well done with the upgrades, really loves the store. recommends to all especially all my students.” ~ S. Radzi