Tag Archives: Spielbound

A Smartypants’ Guide to Omaha Pub Quizzes

October 7, 2018 by
Illustration by Matt Wieczorek

Whether it’s the Game Show Network, Trivial Pursuit, or a simple spat among friends trying to decide who won the House Cup in Harry Potter, know-it-alls pervade our popular culture—and local bars know how to capitalize on them.

Pub quizzes have become a beloved form of social drinking as patrons snag friends with similar interests to join a team (and hopefully win a few prizes). Some quizzes are represented by America’s Pub Quiz—a nationwide entertainment company dedicated to scheduling such events—while others allow patrons to delight in the local touches of Omaha-owned businesses running the show. Prepare your buzzers, order a pitcher, and get your game face on at the following establishments.

Liquid Sunshine

12750 Westport Parkway, La Vista

Enjoy a trivia showdown before or after a movie (at the attached Alamo Drafthouse). For every general trivia night, Liquid Sunshine hosts many more that are dedicated to fan favorites like Game of Thrones, Parks and Recreation, The Office, or Star Wars. The pub quiz schedule varies—usually Mondays, Tuesdays, or Wednesdays once a month at 8 p.m. Find updated quiz times on Liquid Sunshine’s Facebook page.


3229 Harney St.

Every night is Trivia Mafia if you grab Trivial Pursuit off the shelf at Spielbound, but the real deal is hosted each Wednesday at 8 p.m. The rules are easy: teams of one to six, entry is the cost of a day pass (or free for members), and the taps are flowing. While Spielbound has a stock of esteemed beers, non-alcoholic drinks are also available for the younger crowd. Prizes such as free day passes, gift cards, free drinks, and the honor of choosing the playlist for the next week’s event are awarded to the top two teams.

5168 Taproom

3201 Farnam St.

New to the Midtown Crossing scene, 5168 is a hop, skip, and a drink away from Spielbound. Trivia is on the calendar for 6 p.m. every Sunday, with general and random questions. Prizes are given to the top three winning teams: first place gets a $20 gift card, second place gets a $10 gift card, and third place gets a free growler of beer to take home.

Two Fine Irishmen

18101 R Plaza

Two Fine Irishmen might just be Omaha’s pub quiz four-leaf clover, with two trivia nights every week. Wednesday games start at 7:30 p.m. with $1 tacos, as well as discounted beers and shots all night, while Sunday games begin at 7 p.m. with nacho and drink specials. First place takes home a $40 gift card, second place snags a $20 gift card, and third place gets a $10 gift card.

Pageturners Lounge

5004 Dodge St.
Facebook: @pageturnerslounge

In honor of the former bookstore’s namesake, pub quizzes at Pageturners Lounge focus on literary topics. Whether you’ve read all the classics, want to test your reading comprehension, or think you can nail down the Dewey Decimal System, this one is for you. Attend on the first Wednesday of every month at 8 p.m. Winners receive gift cards from various local businesses around Omaha.

The Down Under Lounge

3530 Leavenworth St.

Complete with homemade tacos and queso dip, the Down Under Lounge holds a homegrown trivia night every Tuesday at 8 p.m., hosted by the one-and-only “Captain o’ Fun,” Spencer Barak. The kicker? The last trivia night of each month is specially themed, and every Tuesday evening leads directly to group karaoke in the lounge. Teams: six members max. First place prize: a $50 bar tab. Competition: friendly. 

This article was printed in the September/October 2018 edition of Omaha Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Gaming with Marcus Ross

May 6, 2018 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Marcus Ross can frequently be found at Spielbound, one of Omaha’s hottest spots for board game enthusiasts. While Ross thoroughly enjoys board games, he’s not content just playing them—he also designs them. With three games officially published and more on the way, this Omaha native has taken his gaming passion to the next level.

As Ross describes it, his “real job” is working as a programmer for HATCX, an app that helps consumers compare prices between different medical services. His duties consist of back-end programming, which means while other programmers may be concerned with an app’s appearance and interface, Ross is focusing on the actual data the app provides to users.

Ross first took the plunge into game development several years back. He had been working long hours at a job he didn’t like, and his father had recently passed away.

“I thought ‘What would I be doing if I was just doing what I wanted to do?’” Ross says. “And I thought, ‘Game designing.’ So, I started just trying to spin up something like that.”

The first leg of his journey began in 2012, when he roped his cousin, Cara Heacock, into a “startup weekend.” This event required small groups to come together and pitch a business idea. Thus, Ross’ game development company, Water Bear Games, was born. Of the eight groups participating, they placed fifth. Despite the rough start and most of the other group members quitting, Ross kept moving forward with his business idea.

“I think we’re the only company that’s still going,” Heacock says.

She says she admires Ross’ determination. Even after experiencing several hiccups, Ross kept moving his vision forward.

Designing board games isn’t as glamorous—or as simple—as one might think. Countless hours of critiquing, crafting, and redesigning are poured into each of Ross’ projects, and some of them never even make it out of early development.

“I was just playing games, appreciating them, and saying ‘I think I can do this, it should be fun,’” Ross says.

Ross’ mid-development demos look far different from their polished, final forms. Game prototypes are a mishmash of various game pieces, homemade cards, hand-drawn boards, and just about anything else needed to make a board game function.

Ross’ first big break came in 2013, when Water Bear Games submitted a game design to a development contest hosted by the creators of Cards Against Humanity. Out of 500 contestants, Ross’ game, Discount Salmon, rose to the top. With guidance and publishing provided by Cards Against Humanity, Discount Salmon became a reality within a year.

As a joke, Ross had said he would wear a fish costume to promote the game if they won. Discount Salmon’s victory was a surprise, but that didn’t stop him from wearing a full body fish costume at the country’s largest gaming convention to promote it.

“The fish costume did the perfect thing,” Ross says. “The game is absurd. If the fish costume would bring you over, you’re already the right audience. The game sold itself.”

Spielbound guests pulling one of Ross’ games off the shelves might find themselves meeting the creator. He’s not shy when it comes to introducing himself or his games.

Ross is looking to the future of his game development career. He’s putting the finishing touches on his latest game before sending a prototype off to the publisher. If they choose to pick up the game, Ross could have his fourth game hit the shelves in 2019.

Visit waterbeargames.com to find more games from Ross and Heacock. 

This article appears in the May/June 2018 edition of The Encounter

Game On

September 20, 2013 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

When was the last time you put down your blinking, beeping electronic gadget (think iPhone, iPad, iPod, iAnything) and picked up a traditional board game?

If you can’t recall the month (or even year) you found such entertainment with family and friends, make plans to visit Midtown Crossing this fall to experience Spielbound.

Spielbound—a play on the word spellbound using spiel, a German word meaning fun or game—is the brainchild, passion, and part-time preoccupation of Kaleb Michaud, a local board game collector and enthusiast.

Michaud, a full-time University of Nebraska Medical Center research professor studying the effects of arthritis, owns more than 2,200 board games from various genres in his personal collection. The towering stacks currently reside in his Dundee home but will move to Spielbound at Midtown Crossing in the coming months.

For years Michaud, 38, has hosted game nights in his home for friends and neighbors. Guests (the most was 45 people) pick a game to play and others join in. By the end of the evening, Michaud jokes, the more cerebral games are put aside for something easier (read: ones that require less mind power but yield more laughs).

“Board games are a tactile experience,” Michaud explains. “They encourage human interaction.”

A look up and around at Michaud’s shelves of games reveal a varied collection, many of which hail from Europe. Since purchasing his first few games in the mid-1990s, Michaud estimates he has added four or five new titles per month.


His interest was sparked playing The Settlers of Catan with a college friend and only grew from there. Michaud realized, after shopping the standard big-box stores, that the variety of games he sought just wasn’t available.

“I was amazed at the quality of board games not available in stores,” he explains. “And lesser-known games often lack advertising dollars for promotion.”

Though Spielbound was slated to move into the old Attic Bar & Grill at Midtown Crossing this fall, Michaud states, “Unfortunately, we don’t know when we’re opening at this point. Midtown Crossing is trying to find us another location otherwise it could be several months due to the additional construction needed. It’s September to January time period.”

When Spielbound does open, the shop will offer a café area serving coffee drinks and light snacks, a party room for gamers, and the crown jewel of the space: the complete library with floor-to-ceiling shelves of games.

Michaud and volunteers have spent the past few months cataloging the collection and recording details of each game, instructions, and the number of pieces included in each box.

Players will be able to join the board game café for a monthly or annual fee. A drop-in rate will also be available for customers who plan to frequent Spielbound a few times throughout the year. Teachers will receive a discount to borrow games used in the classroom.

Michaud wanted Spielbound located in the heart of the city and in close proximity to two large gaming audiences: students at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and Creighton University. (Although Michaud doesn’t rule out the possibility of his UNMC students and colleagues playing a game or two as well.)

Michaud and his board of directors have applied for nonprofit status, a unique approach for such a venture, he explains. Spielbound will need memberships, grants, and donations to keep its doors open. But in this nonprofit organization, however, the primary focus will be fun and, of course, games.

For updates, visit Spielbound at spielbound.com