Author Topic: Game night at Grand Arena  (Read 5187 times)


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Game night at Grand Arena
« on: March 29, 2015, 02:17:15 »
My family decided to go check out the Grand Arena in Tampa this evening. It was interesting...

This is how they are listed on Facebook:

Grand Arena of Mind Expansion
Social Club Entertainment Service

The place is new, so of course it is probably to be expected that it is very nice looking. There is a nice looking main room with several tables and nice cushioned chairs and several side rooms for smaller groups to play board games or on console systems. The slightly-maze-like building was great fun for my youngest children running around the circles, although if it had been done up in a medieval decor the corridors and attached rooms throughout the building would have been very fitting for a life-sized dungeon crawl... maybe a LARPing event could be enjoyed there.

There were plenty of drinks and snacks... including lots of soda, water, ice cream, microwaveable snacks, and several boxes of chocolate. There is a sign on the kitchen area that says "Make your self at home," but there were also other signs and comments made by people there that said strongly urged making donations for the snacks that you consumed... understandable considering that they aren't officially open, not charging for entry, and not selling anything else, but based on the prices that I noticed at the door, I hope that they wouldn't expect donations for the snacks in addition to the entry fees.

There is also a nice theater room, with a few rows of some nice reclining chairs and a big screen to watch a variety of videos on. My kids enjoyed some time in there watching Frozen for a while. I suppose that aspect of things was better than going to the movie theater since they were able to enjoy it for as long as they wanted and, since they were the only ones watching, they could have switched it to something else.

The game selection is decent. There were a couple shelves with what appeared to be a dozen or so video games for each console system, PS4, XBox, and Wii U. There were also a few other shelves with maybe 25 to 50 board games and card games.  Although I had a few games with me, we did find some that we had decided to play that were available on the game shelf and there are some others that looked interesting too. 7 Wonders, Cosmic Encounter, and For Sale were the 3 games that we decided to play.

Raj, a friend from work, arrived in time to play 7 Wonders with us and stayed through the Cosmic Encounter game. My wife joined me, Chris, and Isaac, to play For Sale after everyone other than the owner had left. We enjoyed the games, and I'm sure it was much more convenient of a location for Raj, it was probably much closer to him than our usual meeting place, and obviously for Chris, since he was already there, but unfortunately I don't think it will be something that I'll be able to visit very often.

The entrance fees are a big deterrent for me, in addition to the drive time. Considering that on a normal night for gaming, I'd have myself and my son to pay for, even arriving after 4pm has a $15 price tag for me and $8 for him. Even though the items in the kitchen would be free at that point, I can't imagine that my son and I would eat that much junk food while playing games in one evening. Over the past few months, on the nights that we've gone to Emerald City to play, we've usually spent only $5 to $10 buying snacks for both of us together.

I noticed on their Facebook page that someone asked if it was some kind of "high class gamers lounge" - that seems to be a fitting claim. On a scale from 1 to 5 for comfort, with 3 being average (based on other shops and conventions) I would think Grand Arena would score a 5. The tables and chairs for gaming and watching movies are nicer than I have in my own home. Although my family was invited to come for the "preview" event, I don't think it is the kind of environment that would be commonplace to see children... although... for children under the age of 12 to hang out for an entire day for just $13, it would be cheaper than any baby sitter that we've considered hiring recently, although I'm sure there aren't any people out there in real-life like Clara from The Guild. ;)
« Last Edit: March 29, 2015, 03:57:57 by Dragon »
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