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A place to play: Homebrew Tabletop Game Lounge opens in Grand Ledge

Sadonna and Jeff Croff are the owners of Homebrew Tabletop Game Lounge in Grand Ledge
Scott Pohl
/
WKAR/MSU
Sadonna and Jeff Croff are the owners of Homebrew Tabletop Game Lounge in Grand Ledge

Most families have a collection of playing cards and board games around the house.

But buying new games can get expensive. They can also take up a lot of space, and you might wind up not liking what you purchase.

A new business in Grand Ledge hopes to become the go-to place to gather with friends to try a game before buying it.

Sadonna and Jeff Croff are both lifetime game players. She likes board games like Mansion of Madness; he enjoys the tactical game History of the World, and they both love Dungeons and Dragons.

On their way home from a gaming convention in Indianapolis in 2021, the couple discussed how they might reshape their careers around their shared passion for games.

That conversation led to a decision to create and open Homebrew Tabletop Game Lounge.

Why did they name the business Homebrew? Sadonna Croff explains that “for gaming, a homebrew campaign, if you’re into playing Dungeons and Dragons and role-playing games, is a campaign that somebody within the group wrote themselves. We also thought let’s expand upon that and bring in Michigan beers, Michigan wines, Michigan snacks, Michigan pops, and make it about our home as well.”

The lounge has about 350 games to choose from, ranging from decks of cards, to classics like checkers and chess, to elaborate role-playing games. Jeff Croff says patrons can bring their own games into Homebrew if they want.

“We’ve got a library of games available for a la carte checkout that allows folks to test the games and or maybe they’ve got the game at home but they’ve already lost a few pieces,” he added. “I guarantee that ours will always have their pieces.”

The collection also includes harder to find games that have been out of print. Others are so new, like ones funded using Kickstarter campaigns, they aren't available for purchase in stores yet.

The Croffs are going for a low-key lounge vibe here. They open at 7 a.m. most days for the morning crowd that might enjoy their coffee over a deck of cards, and they stay open until midnight for folks who want to meet up after work.

Jeff Croff hopes people will visit Homebrew not just with friends or family, but by themselves. Lots of the games have solo play options.

He also wants this to be a place to make new friends. The tables have six-inch human-like figures called Meeples. They signify if players want some privacy or if they’re open to strangers joining them.

“Those are intended to help us as Midwesterners who are a little bit awkward about intruding on someone else’s conversation to see if, maybe with green, they’re looking for additional players,” Jeff Croff said.

He says a yellow Meeple would mean a player wants to teach someone new the game they’re playing. Red might mean that the players are involved in an intense game and would prefer to be left alone.

Sadonna Croff hopes people will come to Homebrew to try role-playing games.

“You come in, we’ll set a time up with you. We’ll run a campaign for you, you and your group. ... And that way, you get introduced to the game without investing and purchasing all the books. And then we teach you how to play, and then you’re, I guarantee you’re gonna be hooked.”
Sadonna Croff, Homebrew Tabletop Game Lounge co-owner

“You come in, we’ll set a time up with you. We’ll run a campaign for you, you and your group,” she said. “It’s a great idea for birthday parties, bachelor parties, things like that as well. And that way, you get introduced to the game without investing and purchasing all the books. And then we teach you how to play, and then you’re, I guarantee you’re gonna be hooked.”

Jeff Croff says they also have an app on their electronic menu to help indecisive gamers choose what to play. You can select by categories like family games or classics, enter the number of players and the age range, and options will be offered including something new to you.

One game you won’t find at Homebrew is Monopoly. Jeff Croff says lots of people have developed their own rules. That, he says, would make teaching the game or interpreting the rules problematic.

But you can always bring Monopoly yourself, if you’re looking to buy a property on Park Place.

Homebrew Tabletop Game Lounge is on North Bridge Street in Grand Ledge.

Scott Pohl is a general assignment news reporter and produces news features and interviews. He is also an alternate local host on NPR's "Morning Edition."
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