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Hipster 'Bushwick Board Game' Finds Home at Boobie Trap Bar

By Serena Dai | December 15, 2014 7:50am
 The Bushwick Board Game takes players from Williamsburg to Bushwick, all while drinking and living "the underground experience of living in Bushwick."
Bushwick Board Game
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BUSHWICK — It's like the game of Life — but with skinnier jeans and curlier mustaches.

After nine years, artist Jan-Luc Van Damme's Bushwick Board Game has found a home at Boobie Trap, a breast-themed bar that features a collection of classic board games.

Players of the homemade game start with their pieces in Williamsburg, where they've been priced out, and make their way across the board to Bushwick, where they must pony up for a down payment on an apartment.

Along the way down the board's L train, they encounter problems facing the modern Bushwick resident, said Van Damme, who's lived in the neighborhood for 14 years and joked he was a "pioneer."

The game has about 110 cards that players can pull as part of the game, Van Damme said.

One card declares the player has bed bugs, forcing the player to move backward on the board. Another card lets the player move ahead two spaces after "eye contact made with a hipster on the L train."

"He's stalking you on Missed Connections," the card says. "Run ahead two."

"It's something where it pokes fun at everyone who plays it and the culture of what it's like to live here," Van Damme said. "They're able to laugh at themselves."

Van Damme, who works on television commercials during the day, has been crafting the game for years and even created a YouTube commercial for it in 2009.

He brought it out for a couple of Bushwick Open Studios events, but hadn't found a public place for people to play it until last week when Boobie Trap added it to its collection.

It makes sense to put it in a bar, Van Damme said, as it's just as much a drinking game as it is a board game.

Some cards prompt players to drink, while others are intended to get people to just have fun, Van Damme said.

One card asks the player to "Text someone you hooked up with these words: ‘Want to get a coffee at Swallow?'" referring to the coffee shop located at 49 Bogart St.

And some parts of the game refer to modern Bushwick history, like action cards referring to bars that are gone (Mama Joy's), as well as new bars (The Three Diamond Door).

Though the board game is only at Boobie Trap for now, Van Damme is open to selling it to those who are interested in having their own copy.

He's also thinking of a 2015 version of the Bushwick Board Game that will reflect changes in the neighborhood.

"Rooftop parties don't exist anymore, and there used to be a lot more fireworks 10 years ago," he said. "Things change so much."

The game is mostly a way for people to "lighten up" and have a good time, he said.

But it also speaks to the experience he and many others have had living in the neighborhood.

"[It's about] gentrification, making it in New York," he said. "It's the underground experience of living in Bushwick."

People can play The Bushwick Board Game at Boobie Trap, located at 308 Bleecker St.