Brittni Lipscomb and Dave Okerson love board games and socializing, but they were running out of space in their home to have game nights with friends.
They ended up taking board games out to bars and other locations, and eventually stumbled upon what’s being termed “game cafes” — businesses where geeks gather together to play complicated board games.
The romantic partners realized there wasn’t anything similar in the mid-Willamette Valley. So they decided to become business partners, too.
This summer, Lispcomb and Okerson opened Gamagora Geekhouse, a 21-and-over game lounge in downtown Corvallis.
Lipscomb is thrilled that she gets to talk nerdy all the time. “Growing up, I was the only girl who went to my comic book store. So now I get to meet all sorts of people like me. Plus, I’m super-competitive and I get to crush people at games,” she said.
The business has a membership fee of $42, though that is waived for Oregon State students and friends of members. To come and play, there’s a $5 per day cover charge.
Members don’t have to bring their own games, as Gamagora Geekhouse has a library with 350 board games. Think “Settlers of Catan” and “Axis and Allies,” not "Monopoly."
“We know the rules to almost all of them. We can get you up and playing in five minutes,” Okerson said. “If you want to try them before you buy them, that’s great.”
At the front of the business is a retail section that’s open for all ages. Gamagora Geekhouse also has a collection of graphic novels for sale.
Groups also have been meeting regularly at the business.
Okerson said that the no-minors rule might seem odd at first, but board games are expensive and made for adults now, and he and Lipscomb are trying to create a grown-up experience. People have been known to go to Gamagora Geekhouse on their date nights, and members can reserve tables online, Okerson said.
Girls like board games, too, as 40 percent of the business’ current membership is female, Lipscomb said.
Gamagora Geekhouse, 254 SW Madison Avenue, is open on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., on Fridays from 4 p.m. to midnight, on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to midnight, and on Sundays from noon to 6 p.m.
For more information, call 541-286-8616 or go to gamagoragh.com or the business’ Facebook page.