Date Night: Join the (Adventure) Party

Nerd Louisville Date Night

Join the (Adventure) Party!

Written by Brandon Stettenbenz, Photography by Mike Pfaff

My wife has way more tabletop role-playing game (RPG) experience than I do. She played Dungeons & Dragons 2.5 and 3, but refused to play 4.0. Don’t ask me what the nuances are because I still don’t know, and I’m man enough to admit it. Although I played Dungeons & Dragons on Commodore 64 (it was older than me) and various level-based RPG video-games over the years, I never had the opportunity to play a pen-and-paper D20 game.

So when Ariel bought me my own set of rad dice, I promised her we’d find an RPG group. It’s hard to find 2-4 other people, a good dungeon master, and 3+ hours to play an RPG that works for everyone’s schedule. That’s why Slur Your Role, one of our awesome Nerd Louisville events, is a great opportunity for couples that want to game together. After all, many games (including all tabletop RPGs) require more than two to do battle.

In a similar vein, escape rooms are a great option for couples or small groups of friends who want to participate in fun activities together. Like tabletop RPGs, escape rooms require cooperation, communication, and problem-solving skills to complete the mission. Plus, unlike RPGs, escape rooms are typically timed, making them a perfect option for those who may not have several hours to devote to gaming. If you’re in the Fort Worth area, there are several escape room Fort Worth to choose from that offer a variety of themes and challenges, providing a unique and exciting experience for couples and friends alike.

Slur Your Role Tabletop Gaming (2nd & 4th Sundays)

Less of a traditional date than a social opportunity for couples, Slur Your Role is bi-weekly tabletop RPG event at Kaiju in Germantown (adjacent to both the Highlands and Old Louisville). Kaiju is a laid back bar themed in the giant monsters of its namesake. There are big Godzilla toys, as well as giant robots decorating the bar and kaiju artworks throughout. The nerdy decor helps you feel right at home with dice in one hand and a pint in the other.

Ariel - Slur Your Role XI
Ariel Fischer dungeon master’s a game of Dungeons & Dragons at Slur Your Role XI.

Whether you want to fight dragons, survive the wasteland, or uncover the mysteries of the Elder Gods, Slur Your Role has you covered. Games are comfortable at 4-6 plus a game master and the three separate rooms keep it from feeling claustrophobic. Ariel and I have been in the D&D group thus far, playing a thief and a magic user respectively. We’ve survived catacombs and ogres, ghouls and monsters, with the help of fighters, paladins, and rogues. We’ve talked to (and robbed) wise, old men, and dodged the ire of a bandit mage. As I’m a n00b at D&D, I’d say it’s been tough but fair, and never boring. Converting all D&D games to 5th edition (with our recent Louisville “multiverse” initiative) gave adventurers more room to manipulate their fate with extended skills and experience potential. You can also use your characters in multiple games, even outside of Slur Your Role, instead of starting from scratch.

Sterling - Slur Your Role XI
Sterling Pratt game master’s a Mutant Future adventure at Slur Your Role XI.

Sunday afternoons aren’t a popular time for a date, but there’s less of a bar crowd than Friday or Saturday nights, and nearly all the other patrons are there to game. So while you won’t be flirting and chatting the entire time, you also aren’t yelling over the jukebox and typical singles crowd. You’re also showing off your creativity and passion, which is nerd for “sexy”. So grab your crush or partner and sign on for an adventure that will challenge your collective nerd skills. You’ll build romantic rapport with your date and maybe even make some new friends.

Andy - Slur Your Role XI
Andy Bates describes a map to his players during a game of Dungeons & Dragons.

All our welcome! The next Slur Your Role is this Sunday 7/10/2016. Adventuring is free, but the drinks aren’t. So bring your imagination, your date, and don’t forget to tip your bartender


  • Don’t try to hook-up your characters—other players might not enjoy your romantic sub-plot.
  • You’re committing to several hours of interacting with other people—don’t flirt the whole time.
  • Stick to your character, even if that means acting against your real-life date. But keep in mind, if their character gets killed, they probably won’t want to stick around and spectate.
  • The Kentucky Taco Co. will be at Slur Your Role XII with food, so we got you covered for dinner.
  • Above all, have fun and share it. And, remember the golden rule of gaming & romance: keep the competition light-hearted.

Date Night: Beat My High Score

Nerd Louisville Date Night

Date Night: Beat My High Score

Written by Brandon Stettenbenz; Featured artwork and photography by Mike Pfaff

Good ol’ arcade rivalry can spice up any romance. Just don’t gloat too much or you might lose that loving feeling. My wife and I have had more than one spat over who’s the better joystick jockey, but it’s our shared passion for all things nerdy and a playful, gamer rivalry that keeps our relationship strong and spicy, just the way we like it.

Inside Zanzabar in Germantown the nostalgia is as palpable as the smell of fries and burgers. Pinball machines ding and whoosh while the juke-box controlled ceiling speakers blare classic rock, punk, metal, and hip hop. It’s no Flynn’s Arcade in terms of scale, but there’s also no brats crowding the “Space Paranoids” machine. That’s the beauty of a “Barcade”: it’s not Chucky Cheese. When we’re on a date, we want to re-live the joys of our childhood and not hangout with children.

Pinball Zanzabar
Ariel scores a lot of points while Brandon looks on with concern.

If your date plans include dinner, Zanzabar’s diner faire is on par with the best greasy spoons I’ve ever had the guilty pleasure of gorging myself on. Sandwiches, pizza, and general American is what they do and they do it well. Start with the Pterodactyl wings (nerd for big chicken) and work your way up to Magic Galaxy Tacos, Fozzie Bear’s Kimchi Pie (a spicy pizza featuring locally made kimchi), or the Mata Hari Hot Brown. Top it all off with a cast-iron skillet Death Star Cookie.

Add a good selection of rotating drafts from lagers to stouts to hoppy IPAs, a fully stocked bar with a tasteful bourbon selection, and a respectable collection of arcade cabinets and pinball machines from the 70’s and 80’s (with a few outliers made in the 90’s), and you’ve got Louisville’s answer to the world-famous Barcade franchise, originated in New York. Dinner, drinks, and arcade games make for an awesome nerd date, especially if you throw in some friendly, flirty competition.

In the realm of modern relationships, where diverse interests and lifestyles often collide, finding unique ways to connect becomes essential. Just as the playful rivalry at Zanzabar’s Barcade spices up a romantic night out, relationships like sugar daddy arrangements offer a distinctive flavor to the dating landscape. For those intrigued by the idea of mutually beneficial connections, exploring the possibilities can add a dash of excitement to life’s adventures. When looking to venture into this world, it’s essential to find a platform that aligns with your preferences and desires. To navigate this intriguing realm, couples and individuals alike can visit site that caters to their specific needs, fostering connections that are as exciting and satisfying as a thrilling round of arcade competition. Just like finding the perfect game to play, discovering the right platform is key to embarking on this unconventional journey with confidence and enthusiasm.

My specialties are Galaga and pinball machines that came out after 1980. There’s just something about destroying space bugs on a CRT screen that gets me pumped. In the past, I’ve dropped some serious coin on The Adams Family, The Who’s Pinball Wizard, and Star Wars pinball. Basically, if it was made in the era of “personal computers”, has a ton of lights (Ooooh shiny), and is based on a franchise I enjoy, I’m excited to play it. If you see RAD in the high scores, it’s probably me.

My wife enjoys Joust, the original Star Wars 6-axis stick, and The Machine [Bride of Pinbot]. The latter isn’t because she’s showing solidarity with lady bots – they just happen to have that machine and it’s way fun. We’re both Rogue Jedi’s at heart but she’s way better on the joystick than I am. Even with three attack phases (chances) and two decades of modern FPS, I’m just no threat to the original Death Star. I’m also a paltry squire of an ostrich knight, while she’s deadly with a lance in Joust.

Nerdy Date Night
Ariel with a little playful trash talk to Brandon during a game of Star Wars pinball.

You’ve probably assumed rightly, that she picks harder games because she’s a badass. Her timing is way better than mine at slow paced games. She’s patient and strategic, while I’m a button masher. But that doesn’t mean we can’t play nice. We just take turns burying each other’s high score, or slide over to the Rampage cabinet and take our frustrations out on an unsuspecting populace, cooperatively.

Although we have different tastes in games and styles of play, we enjoy challenging each other to adapt. Keeping in the service of romance, not ego, we keep those challenges light-hearted. Small jabs and light gloating keep us on our toes while we quote Star Wars, Star Trek, and other fandoms. If you like to talk nerdy to your man or lady, this is the place for it. Diner food, nostalgia, booze, and your best guy or gal; what more can you ask for?


  • Keep your competition friendly. Passion is great for romantic connections but rage quitting makes for an awkward date.
  • Avoid going on Louisville Pinball League nights (Fridays)
  • Zanzabar is also a venue, so on many weekend nights there’s a cover, music, and half the games are obscured by the stage and crowd. However, they’re expanding soon to a second adjacent building that will house the venue biz.
  • Games rotate, so be open minded about trying new games.
  • This is a real arcade setup, so bring cash for the quarter machine!
Zanzabar Arcade
Brandon trying to beat Ariel's score on Ms. Pac Man.

Date Night is aimed at other nerdy couples who are looking for fun date ideas. We hope to have more articles like this in the future. Have an idea for a date night? Reach out to us. Also, Nerd Louisville thrives on donations to bring you this content. Please consider donating to our cause using the button below.