Written by Nathan Richison, RRC Polytech, Creative Communications Intern
As we celebrate our 150th birthday, The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce is excited to celebrate our rich history by sharing stories of our members. We hope that by sharing these stories, we can inspire and engage current and future members to continue building a strong and vibrant business community in Winnipeg.
In 2014, Across the Board Game Café emerged as a unique concept, born from a conversation between Clinton Skibitzky, the owner, and his business partner, Olaf Pyttlik. Initially considering a board game shop, they ultimately decided to create a board game café that would foster face-to-face interaction and offer delicious food and a sense of community.
Their journey began with exploring other board game cafés beyond Winnipeg, followed by hosting trial game events in people’s homes to fine-tune their vision. Eventually, they settled in their current location, where they carefully curated an impressive game collection and crafted a cool atmosphere.
According to Clinton, the core offering of Across the Board Game Café lies in providing a social experience that can’t be replicated anywhere else. Here, people can discover new games, get guidance from knowledgeable staff, and immerse themselves in a warm and inviting atmosphere.
Over time, Across the Board has become an integral part of Winnipeg’s Exchange District. Throughout their evolution, Clinton emphasized the value of forming connections.
“We’ve formed a really good community of customers and a social community for other companies and organizations that we support by either doing events or by donating products,” shared Clinton.
A board game café caters to a diverse array of individuals. Most of their customers have a limited board game collection or haven’t played board games since their childhood Monopoly days.
Clinton personally enjoys playing Evolution: Climate, although his favourite game varies depending on the context and the company he finds himself with.
Across the Board is a versatile venue, hosting various events and providing space for business opportunities. Clinton noted that playing games with others reveals valuable insights into their character, making it a useful tool for recruiters to assess how individuals handle stress, competition, and unexpected scenarios.
“Whether it is just someone on a first date, hiring someone, or it’s someone that you’ve known for 20 years, you’re going to have a new experience with them that’s engaging and is challenging and entertaining,” remarked Clinton.
Like many other establishments, the COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on Across the Board Game Café. Clinton expressed gratitude for the support they received, including assistance from The Chamber.
Joining The Chamber in 2017 proved fruitful for the café. Clinton highlighted how The Chamber facilitated business connections, and whenever they encountered obstacles related to zoning or renovations, The Chamber provided invaluable guidance and support.
Looking ahead, Clinton and the Across the Board team plan to expand their game collection even further. Some members of the team will attend the GAMA EXPO to explore new games and engage with game manufacturers.
Keep an eye out for exciting additions to the ever-growing Across the Board collection!
At the end of the day, it’s all about your business. You want to see your business succeed and grow, and that’s why we’re here.
Providing a platform to help local businesses in Winnipeg thrive is what we stand for – whether it’s advocating for you, connecting you with the right people at the right time or setting you up with the support and programs you need to grow.
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