Skip to main content

Ali Skantos, left, and Iris Karuna play Fireball Island at Snakes and Lattes in Toronto's Annex, October 6, 2010.

J.P. Moczulski/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Snakes and Lattes bills itself as North America's first board game café, but soon it can add a second title: the first board game café to get its own sitcom.

Debuting late September, Snakes and Lattes: The Show will explore the people behind Toronto's seminal board game café.

"It's really an homage to how board games have brought communities together," says Drew Dafoe, the series' showrunner.

Story continues below advertisement

"You play a board game with five other people, and you learn more about those five people than you would doing any other activity."

The show is a fictionalized account of Snakes' early years. Comedian Jamie O'Connor plays Max Packett, whose lack of human touch and micro-management has driven Snakes to near-bankruptcy. That's when James Kacey (played by actor and comedian Troy Matthew Martin), who helped Packett come up with the idea for a board game café but dropped out after deciding it was too silly, reappears to help.

"It's about their relationship being repaired over saving Snakes and Lattes," Mr. Dafoe says.

The show also features some of the actual café's employees playing versions of themselves. It's all part of a self-awareness that the creators hope will resonate with modern audiences. Beau's Brewery, for example, is one of the show's sponsors, and so the characters actively make fun of how much Beau's they drink.

Mr. Dafoe likens it to the irreverent attitude of Scrubs set in a bar like Cheers.

"It's supposed to be an uplifting thing and in no way disparaging," he says.

In reality, Snakes and Lattes opened on Bloor Street West in August 2010 by a savvy pair of business owners from Paris. The original venue has since doubled in size and spawned a second location, Snakes and Lagers, on College Street. It's been cited in The Atlantic and the Guardian as an inspiration for the global explosion of board game cafés that's recently swept through North America, Europe and East Asia.

Story continues below advertisement

So it makes sense that Mr. Dafoe wants to piggyback off that success. The real challenge will be to sell it to more viewers than just young downtown Torontonians.

"I would never classify myself as a hipster," he says. "I am just a huge nerd."

Nerds are having a cultural moment lately, especially when it comes to board games. One of the most famous episodes of the cult hit Community dealt with the role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons.

"Board games have become really popular, and that's one of the things, I think, that will help the show become popular," he says. "We liked board games before they became cool."

The show will air on Bell Fibe and be available to stream on Snakes and Lattes' website in late September.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • All comments will be reviewed by one or more moderators before being posted to the site. This should only take a few moments.
  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed. Commenters who repeatedly violate community guidelines may be suspended, causing them to temporarily lose their ability to engage with comments.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.
Cannabis pro newsletter