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Muzhuo Café
10am - 11pm
37 Fangqin St., Yulin District

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Mark Hiew (more chengdu)
Xiao Mu was, once, one of the many young men afflicted with one of contemporary China’s most dangerous vices: online gaming addiction. He is now a man on a mission. His calling: To spread the health and social benefits of foreign board games. To help him realize this goal, he has opened a café equipped with quality, European beers, and first rate desserts. It’s located at the north end of the pedestrian Ruiming Street, close to New Little Bar.

“When I see people enjoying themselves, using [board games] to make new friends and develop social confidence, it provides me with great satisfaction.” Mu, 23, explained. He believes such games offer more challenges and social value than traditional Chinese games like Mah-jong, or online mainstays like, World of Warcraft. Currently, he estimates that only 10 percent of young Chinese are aware of these board games, a fact that he and his two co-owner friends are looking to change through a variety of gaming events and promotions.

The Mu-Game Club was established by these three friends, all enthusiasts of foreign board games such as “Settlers of Catan” and “Carcassonne.” They found that the dingy, crowded, little haunts at which they were first introduced to such games offered a poor environment, and so, with Mu-Game Club, they are trying to appeal to a wider audience by offering patrons a more sophisticated, elegant setting.

The café is comfortable and inviting, with landscape photos along its walls and numerous board games on its shelves. Guests are free to choose from any of the games. Mu and fellow co-owner, Pan, are extremely welcoming, and eager to teach the games to newbies. They taught us a German card game called “Halli Galli” in five minutes, and the rules are simple enough, with a bit of patience, to easily cross potential language barriers.

Whether you care to play or not though, Mu’s café makes a strong case for itself on the strength of its menu alone. Strong Malaysian coffee (18-28RMB), wonderful cakes provided by the former Shangri-La Hotel dessert chef, (we recommend you try the mango cheese cake) (10-16RMB), and quality Western alcohol all make for a welcome afternoon indulgence. Bottles of German and Belgian beers, including: Hoegaarden, Paulaner, and Lindemans (25-48RMB) are available, as are wines that range from an Australian Shiraz to several German Rieslings (290-480RMB). Food-wise, Mu’s carries an assortment of snacks (10RMB) and curry rice dishes (28RMB).

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