The town of New Paltz is known for its kooky characters and interesting style. This can be seen from all the fascinating shops that make up town. From high-end boutiques and restaurants, to small businesses and antique stores, the shops around town add to the charisma we all love. Even in a small town like ours, you would be surprised at how many options there are. And to think New Paltz didn’t already have a little bit of everything already, an exciting new addition joined the neighborhood recently.
At the beginning of the semester, a new shop popped up at 17 Church St. called The Gunks Gaming Guild Café & Bar. While still offering the classic café drinks, snacks and amenities, this café offers a library of board games that patrons can use if they pay a small service fee per person. The shop is owned by Robert Gamble and Amanda McDonald who were inspired to open up due to all the uncertainties and anxieties the COVID-19 pandemic released onto the world. This business was their passion project to harness new joys. According to the Guild’s website, “Our mission is to provide a safe and inclusive space for all individuals. We are hoping that this immersive experience will not only promote communication and acceptance, but a sense of community.” After speaking with some students who went to the café, the way they described the establishment seemed as though the business has been able to do a good job with executing their goals.
There are a lot of board games at the Gaming Guild, listing over 130 different game titles on their website. They have a bunch of styles of board games to choose from; whether you prefer the nostalgia of Connect Four, or calculated strategy of Risk, there will be an option for everyone to choose from. Eoin Dennis, fourth-year painting major at SUNY New Paltz, was one of the students who went to the Gunks Gaming Guild. In an interview he mentions, “I liked that they had organized the games, or the gaming wall, in terms of difficulty and longevity.” The games were divided by difficulty with quicker games on the right side and longer more complex games on the left. “On the right side there was Uno, there were decks of cards. You know, those types of games. And then on the left, there was Dungeons & Dragons and they had Catan,” explained Dennis. There were so many different games from so many different genres, that it could be really easy to spend hours here.
Marissa Letizia, fourth-year English major, mentioned that they were at Gunks Gaming Guild for over three hours. Letizia explained that she was there so long because there was a lot to offer. Letizia said, “I feel like we don’t really have anything with interactive activities like this. I think we have a lot of really cute spots to go sit down, grab a drink of sorts, but there’s not much more to do than eat, so I think it’s cool that they have these activities.” The addition of board games into a space, captivates people and keeps them interested. The Guild is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays to Sundays, but extends their hours to 11 p.m. on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. It’s amazing that this business stays open late on weekends and Wednesdays, because no other café in New Paltz does so. These late hours can really change the scope of nightlife here in New Paltz, providing a quieter social setting that the bars cannot offer at around the same price point of a usual cover at any house show or bar.
Not only do board games provide a sense of community, but the owners of the café have set up a Discord server to continue sharing experiences outside the walls of Gunks Gaming Guild. Here they can discuss various upcoming events, personal life accomplishments, sharing ideas about games, characters, quests and so much more.
Keep your eyes peeled for future events at the Guild! The Guild seems to offer tons of events surrounding Dungeons and Dragons and Magic: The Gathering where you can create characters and meet others who enjoy these fantasy role-playing games. They even offer events for kids, so that people of all ages can have the opportunity to play. The Guild offers community events that are just as interactive as their board games, like a monthly book club. This month they’re reading “Name of the Wind,” which can be purchased in house.
On Sunday, Oct. 30, between the hours of 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., Gunks Gaming Guild will host a family pumpkin painting party. This is a great chance to go out and introduce yourself to the Guild. There will be pumpkins ranging in various sizes for sale from $5 to $15. If you happen to find yourself on Main Street looking for fall activity, take a stroll down Church Street and waste your time having fun playing board games, sipping a matcha in fairyland.