The Battleground Café Is Not Your Typical Coffee Spot

by | Oct 2018

Not just coffee: Aurillia Skye, Michael Farmer, John Brodie, and Craig Hardig

Not just coffee: Aurillia Skye, Michael Farmer, John Brodie, and Craig Hardig. Photo: Joel Schnell

The Battleground Café in Vadnais Heights offers café goodies and welcomes gamers to convene, play games and just have a good time.

A cafe that not only offers coffee, tea, vintage soda, panini and other treats, but welcomes all gam-ers to show up and have a good time is exactly what co-owners Michael Farmer and Craig Harding offer at The Battleground Café in Vadnais Heights.

Since opening in February, the cafe caters to all intrigued by role-playing games, board games, miniature games or card games. “Our inspiration was to create a gaming space for people to gather and enjoy themselves,” Farmer says.

Farmer and Harding have been best friends since middle school, and Farmer has been a chess fanatic since college. They enjoy collaborating and fashioning a welcoming experience for veteran gamers and newbies alike.

“A lot of the game stores Craig and I grew up with were exclusive. That is, they were a little scary for casual gamers,” Farmer says.

“We try to be as welcoming as possible. Sportsmanship and fellowship are watchwords of the club,” Farmer says. “I’m always happy to help someone wanting to learn.”

The cafe holds tournaments specializing in Magic: The Gathering, Star Wars: Destiny, Warma-chine/Hordes, and Star Wars: X-Wing. On Wednesdays, the cafe holds open chess from 7 p.m. until whenever people want to stop playing. “We also have a growing board game library, and trying new games is a favorite of mine,” Farmer says.

Owning the cafe has had its challenges with city-requested physical layout changes and expensive equipment needed to sell pizzas and espresso drinks, but it’s been worthwhile.  “The best thing by far is hearing a table of people roar when someone throws a critical dice roll in a game, or just the general murmur of people having a good time,” Farmer says. “That’s pure reward.”


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