Your guide to board games in Kingston

By Peter Sanfilippo

To go out or to stay in. It’s an age-old question.

What do you do if you want to hang out with friends, but still go out on the town? A visit to one of Kingston’s great board game spots might be exactly what you need.

Whether you’re looking for a new game to play with friends or want to play the classics with some new people, you can find board game activities throughout Kingston.



78 Princess Street
Sundays 3 – 7 pm; Thursdays 5 – 9 pm

When it comes to giving off the classic “Kingston vibe,” few can beat Minotaur: red brick and limestone interior, aged hardwood floors, and large arched windows to let in the light.

Since opening in 2005, Minotaur has carved out a unique niche in Kingston as a specialty games, gifts, and crafts store, offering one of the city’s best collections of fun finds you’re unlikely to encounter anywhere else. From fun mugs and cute journals to craft supplies and novelty socks, Minotaur has a huge selection.

Take a few steps into the store and you’ll also find one of Kingston’s top locally owned shops for fresh board games. Over the last several years, the team at Minotaur has also taken things a step further. In a cozy space at the back of the store, guests can take the opportunity to sit down and play games before making the choice to buy.

Every Thursday and Saturday, Minotaur offers its diverse collection of games to guests to try out. From shorter collaborative experiences to complex strategy games, Minotaur offers a welcoming environment for players of all ages and skill levels. Whether you want to get into store favorites like Splendor and Flamecraft or just to play a game of Clue with some friends, Minotaur makes for a great evening out in the heart of downtown.

Minotaur also hosts monthly intro sessions to Dungeons and Dragons, as well as board game tournaments. Make sure to check their website for full event listings.


Kingston Gaming Nexus

270 Bagot Street
Every Thursday 6 – 9 pm

Tucked away on Bagot Street halfway between Princess and Brock is not only downtown Kingston’s premiere comic shop, but also a fantastic space to gather and game. From your first steps into Kingston Gaming Nexus, you’ll be greeted with displays of comics, graphic novels, and trade paperbacks to your left, models, trading card games, and collectables to your right, and a wide array of board games steps into the shop. Shelf after shelf is lined with colourful boxes of games, ranging from variations on classics to new complex strategy games, all under the watchful eye of the store’s mounted dragon head.

Choosing a new game can be a daunting task. With so many to choose from, it’s hard to pick the game that’s right for you, and even harder to tell what you’ll really enjoy. Luckily Nexus makes it easy by opening their collection of 200+ board games for everyone to enjoy for free. Head to the back of the store on Tuesday evenings from 6 to 9 pm to take part in their weekly board game night. The staff at Nexus will be happy to help you find a great game, explain the rules, and get you laying down tiles, drawing cards, and rolling dice in no time.

If you’re interested in branching out into other types of games, Nexus also hosts events for Warhammer 40,000, Magic the Gathering, Pokémon, One Piece, and Dungeons and Dragons.

Nexus is also proudly a Rainbow Registered business and hosts a monthly Queer Board Game Night on the last Tuesday of every month. Check out their website for a full list of upcoming events and themed nights.


Improbable Escapes Wonderland Board Game Cafe

303 Bagot Street
Daily, 2 – 9 pm Monday to Friday, 10:30 am – midnight Saturday, noon – 9 pm Sunday

Kingston’s west end has its own hotspot for games. Nestled in the Gardiners Town Centre at Gardiners and Bath Road, Improbable Escapes Wonderland Board Game Cafe has a lot going on behind their window-lined exterior. Wonderland combines an escape room with a cozy café.

With its Alice in Wonderland theme and colourful decor, Wonderland invites you into another world. On entering, you’re greeted by a café bar, lined with coloured bottles and rich with the smell of espresso. Further inside, the store reveals shelves and tables lined with displays of board games. Searching through all the games can be overwhelming if you don’t have one or two in mind already. Just take a few steps further towards the back, pull one of the hundreds of games off the shelf, and try it out.

Though their selection of games is extensive, the team at Wonderland makes it easy to pick the perfect game for the occasion by adding colour-coded stickers to each box, displaying key information like player count and level of difficulty. Plus, if you find one that you’re interested in but don’t have the time to play, Wonderland offers rentals for a minimum of three days.

In addition to their café, game tables, and escape room, Wonderland also specializes in trading cards and tabletop role-playing games. They are Kingston’s only Wizards Play Network (WPN) Premium store in the region, making them one of the very few places around to host official WPN events with exclusive prizes from Wizards of the Coast. For a full list of their events and tournaments, take a look at their website.


The Board Bartender

Various locations
Weekly at various times

In addition to the businesses that host their own board game events, a handful of other opportunities have been popping up around town, thanks to The Board Bartender, a local board game delivery service.

Since launching in 2020, this family-run business has been bringing their eclectic collection of games to local businesses that want to host events and offer something fun and special.

The Board Bartender runs game nights all across the city. At One Eyed Jack Restaurant and Bar (417 Weller Ave.), you can catch trivia games evening on Mondays and party games on Wednesdays. Dino’s Barbershop will be hosting The Board Bartender during each Princess Street Promenade event this summer. You can also join a board game night at Daft Brewing and at Studio 330. Check out The Board Bartender’s website for all events, as well as information on how to host a game night of your own.