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Unit 7 Calendula Place, 752-778 Christchurch Rd
Bournemouth, England, BH7 6DE
United Kingdom

01202 309938

A board game Cafe in Bournemouth specialising in barrista grade coffee and board games.

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Our Blog

Coffee & Dice, a board game cafe in Bournemouth, Dorset

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Seven weeks since we opened the doors

Jessica Hancock

We're pleased to report that we had an amazing first few weeks and things are going really well. Thank you to everyone who's supported us in our first month by popping in for a coffee, a game, or becoming a member. It's because of your support that Coffee & Dice can be here.

A special thank you to those who supported us via Kickstarter prior to our launch - we hope you've had the chance to come in and find your name on the wall! We've still got many of your Kickstarter rewards here for you to pickup when you visit. We'll be posting rewards to those who requested it in the next month.

In our first month we had over 1500 people stop in for games, 59 five star reviews on Facebook, made 2228 coffees and been awarded a 5/5 score for our food & hygiene rating from the FSA. We couldn't be happier with how our first month has gone.

So whats next? Now we've settled in and got a handle on things we're setting up a range of weekly and monthly events. Our Tuesday game nights started in July. The idea is you can come by yourself, or with a few friends, and we'll put you in a group with new people to play games. More information can be found on our events page or on Facebook.

We're emailing our members to ask what theme they would like to have run for the upcoming events on Tuesdays and will update the website once the votes our in. Not heard of our membership you say? It's £10 for the year and gets you 25% off your game time, early access for events that require bookings and voting right on the events we run. You also get a snazzy membership card! You can sign up for membership in store, just ask at the counter and we'll get you setup.

We're also setting up a range of Wednesday evening events which will run every month including an RPG taster session, a board game play testing evening, a chance to meet games designers, more large group games of werewolf, and we're looking into a cosplay themed event for creators to work on their projects and share ideas.

Open from 10am to 11pm seven days a week at Unit 7 Calendula Place, 752-778 Christchurch Road. We hope to see you at Coffee & Dice soon!

The Library

Marc Kenobi

 

Great news! We signed off our agreement to lease a few days ago and we’re expecting confirmation of our planning early next week, which should mean we’re 6-8 weeks from opening.

Now we need to get on with sorting the games library, plastering, painting, plumbing, electrics, lighting, signage, hiring staff, staff training, finalising the menu, placing the first food order, kickstarter rewards, organising the opening, fitting the furniture… OMG - there’s so much to do!

Adding new games is an ongoing process

Adding new games is an ongoing process

Well as you may have seen we’ve made a start on at least one of these - our games library has been catalogued and our website updated with the list of games you can expect to play when you visit. That’s just the start of course as we’ll frequently add new games once we’re open through backing kickstarters, finding out of print gems and buying new releases – that way there should always be something new for you to try.

So what will it be like when you visit and how do you access all this gaming goodness?

As you walk through the door at Coffee & Dice you can expect a warm greeting from a member of our team and the question ‘have you visited us before?’, answer in the negative and they’ll explain how it all works.

For just £4 (£3 for members) you get unlimited access to our library of games for the duration of your visit. We’ll be on hand to recommend games if you need some guidance, or you can browse the library and pick out something for yourself.

The library will be organised by the style of game, so all the quiz games will be in one place, while the strategy games will have their own area and the party games will be somewhere else. We know a bunch of games fall into multiple categories and no doubt we’ll be arguing long and hard about where some belong, but if you can’t find what you’re looking for don’t hesitate to ask us.

Our games will also be labelled, giving you a quick guide to how many players the game can play and how long a game will take. For seasoned gamers these are contentious issues! There’s a certain zombie game which I personally believe should never play more than 5 - even though the box says 6 – and then there’s the highly optimistic expected play times often printed on games. Please be aware that wherever we can we’ll give the benefit of our experience on our labels so they may conflict with what’s written on the box.

Once you’ve picked a game we’ll help you get started by teaching you the rules and helping you set up whenever we can. Obviously with over 500 games and new ones arriving all the time, not all of our team will know every game intimately so please bear with us if we have to sneak a peek at the rulebook!

Of course should you fancy a refreshing drink or a tasty snack while you play we’ll have those available for you too.

Can't wait to see you there!

Marc

Successes, delays and more events

Marc Kenobi

October was a blur of convention weekends, for November we prepped for Kickstarter and the Christmas Fairs and then we held our breath till December 18th.  

Successes 

The last few months of 2016 were full of successes for us starting with a mass of convention weekends; from WynterCon to Stabcon to two Library's game day events - it was all go. We met the usual mix of wonderful people and played some truly epic games; from Werewolf's worst seer ever in the early hours at Stabcon to the most horrifying start in Pandemic Cthulhu while demoing the game (they had three great old ones awake at the end of turn one!).

Then starting in late November we hit the Christmas Fairs; playing endless demo games of Ice Cool, Librium, Codenames and more with people who'd never seen these types of games. We made some great contacts and found a bunch of gamers we might not have met any other way, giving us the chance to spread the word about what we're doing further.

Then the big one - our Kickstarter.

We cannot express how thankful and humbled we are by the generosity of everyone who's supported us. To every single one of you; for your shares, likes and re-tweets, for passing on the campaign in person and for every penny of every pledge - our most heartfelt and awed appreciation. 

Our campaign started on 18th November and we were more than a little concerned about the timing, it being in middle of the run up to Christmas. In the first day we hit 12% of our target and we were amazed by the run on the colour deeds - wow were they popular!

Then it began to slow down, adding just a few pounds a day and our worry started to build, but at the start of December, much to our relief, it picked up again.

Facebook activity suddenly increased as supporters began to rally their friends, not just sharing or liking but adding incredibly kind words and encouraging people to pledge. Heart Radio tweeted about us and Tabletop Magazine wrote up a piece about our campaign. Jess had an interview with Bournemouth Scene and then we were asked to go on Radio Solent - what on earth was happening? 

Somewhere on the way back from that interview - a little shocked with how quickly 5 minutes of radio time had gone - we rounded out the idea of letting people sponsor tables and boy are we glad we did as this was another idea that people seemed to love.

We actually hit target a few days before the 18th, saving our nerves and finger nails, but it was still amazing to see this on the KS page:

But the success of the campaign hadn't quite finished, and we've continued to receive support since. As a result of that support three more tables will now have names on them when we open.

Delays

Buoyant with the Kickstarter and raring to go at the start of 2017 we visited the venue last week to see how things have been progressing and sadly the answer was not particularly quickly.

Unfortunately we were informed that we're not going to get the keys in February as expected and the best estimate is that the property wont be ready till the end of March. When you add in time for our refit it will most likely be the end of April or early May before we'll be ready to open.

Not much has changed...

Not much has changed...

We realise this is a disappointment for so many of you who're eager to come and visit and we think you'll believe us when we say that we share that frustration - pushing back two months was certainly not part of our plan!

That said we're still massively excited about this venue and the plans we have for it. The custom tables are going to look amazing and the space and layout work really well. We just hope you'll bear with us - we think it will be worth the wait.

More events

The upside of this delay is that we'll be able to attend a few more events before the refit and launch, after which we're hoping to be too busy making you delicious drinks and tasty food and explaining games to ever leave the cafe! So if you can make it we'd love to play a game or have a chat at one of our upcoming events, all the details are on our events page, otherwise we'll hope to see you when we open.

Marc

Do you have an opening date yet?

Jessica Hancock

‘Do you have an opening date yet?’ is a question we’ve been asked a lot lately. We’re so excited about Coffee & Dice opening and it’s great to hear that other people are too.

Our first event with Coffee & Dice was back in April 2015 for International Tabletop Day; some of you reading this may have been there where it all started. We were hoping to be in our own venue for Tabletop Day this year, but finding a home for Coffee & Dice has been a challenge.

We started our venue search back in January, and whilst we’ve had offers accepted on two venues we’ve unfortunately had to walk away before signing on the dotted line. Location, space, accessibility and aesthetic are all so important and unfortunately the previous venues have fallen short of what we need. We want the best experience for everyone who comes to Coffee & Dice, and this isn’t something we’re willing to compromise on.

After a long search we think we’ve found the perfect home; it’s a brand new building which means we can customise it for the ideal gaming space, it has street parking, public transport links and pay and display car parks nearby, ample seating for sixty with a spacious layout and will be accessible for those with mobility issues. Sounds ideal… So what’s the catch? Well unfortunately the building work won’t finish until February 2017. 

An artists impression of the building once construction is complete. Our unit will be on the far right.

An artists impression of the building once construction is complete. Our unit will be on the far right.

We’ve thought long and hard about this and have decided that it’s better to wait for the right space than to compromise and rush into anything less than awesome. It was a tough call to make (especially since Marc and I have quit our jobs to work full time on Coffee & Dice!) but we know it’s the right decision.

So when are we opening? Assuming the building work is completed on time (I’m sure anyone who has undertaken renovations will be scoffing about now) we should get the keys February/March time. We’ll then need a month or two to refurbish the place and find space for all 500 games. And then, tah-dah! We should be open April/May time. We’ll be keeping you updated on all the little milestones, and share the confirmed address once we’ve signed on the dotted line (our solicitors are currently agreeing the paperwork – I assume via rock, paper, scissors or best of three at an appropriate board game). 

In the meantime you can catch us at the following events:

WynterCon on the 1st and 2nd October

StabCon South 7th- 9th October

Visions & Voyages at Bournemouth Library on 15th October

We’ll be bringing our board game library along with the team to teach and help you pick the right game. We’ll be selling some games at WynterCon in case you discover something you must take home with you, or you can pick something up from our new online shop. Hope to see you soon!

Native Americans vs the Cooper Clan

Marc Kenobi

We were kindly offered a review copy of the second expansion to Flick 'em Up: Red Rock Tomahawk, which adds Native Americans to the mix. Time to break out the wonderful wooden pieces for another adventure in the Wild West...

I must admit a little apprehension about the theme of this expansion given the treatment of Native Americans historically and that most depictions of the Wild West are riddled with fiction wherever they are mentioned. This game is deeply rooted in that theme, so the downside is that you will find several of the stereotypes of Native Americans being played to. However in what feels like an attempt to counter that, the creators have made the conflicts in these scenarios between the Cooper Clan (the original game's bad guys) and the Native Americans, casting the later in a heroic light. 

Setting that issue aside I was curious to see what they'd added with this expansion. As with the original game a lot of care has gone into the production of this expansion. The cardboard features and the wooden figures and weapon pieces are all wonderfully well made and the artwork has that same great vibrancy and simplicity. Despite my best efforts I can't quite get everything into the fantastic wooden box from the base game so the flimsy cardboard box is a bit of a shame, particularly given the contrast.  

We jumped right to the first "real scenario" ignoring the practice fields - we highly recommend you don't do this, or at least make sure you shoot some arrows and fling some tomahawks before you start to play with them!

The meat of the content in the expansion is the Native American's weapons and the way they work is different enough that without some practice you're likely to miss a lot and have a much less satisfying game.

So about those weapons...

The bows really require that you hold on to the Native American figures to fire effectively and that's a bit counter-intuitive given that you try so hard not to touch the figures in the base game. Also as you need to use both hands, bows become much more difficult to use when there's a lot of scenery, but with a little practice these are highly effective and accurate weapons.

The tomahawk is really for close up work, it gets inaccurate really quickly the further away you are from your target, but I really like the fact that it changes the way your opponent has to play their turns forcing them to move with the first of their actions.

The Gatling Gun is just as horrifying to face as you think its going to be, I wont go into the rules for it, but if you're playing a scenario with it in you're going to be hoping it's on your side...

There's also new rules for the mountain which acts like a modified building you can shoot at people from on top of (and kick people off of), flaming arrows and the option to hide in the woods. 

Like the base game the scenarios can feel weighted in favour of one side or the other and this is mostly done by giving one side a mission and the other the job of preventing the mission. This is good in that the scenario doesn't devolve into "ignore the mission and just try to do as much damage as possible" seen in some of the original missions, but unfortunately means one team can be encouraged to spoil.

In one scenario we played the Native Americans needed to collect fire arrows (difficult and time consuming given the accuracy of movement required) and then set fire to a building by shooting arrows through the doorway, the Cooper Clan were tasked to prevent them. Given the time limit imposed, at one point it made more sense for the Cooper player to stand cowboys in such a way that the Natives couldn't possibly shoot through the doorway (and if the cowboys got shoot they'd just block it worse) and that just didn't feel fun.

I will admit this may have been more of an issue because I couldn't shoot arrows particularly well as we hadn't practised.

Overall Red Rock Tomahawk adds new ideas and some great twists on how you play Flick 'em Up! but doesn't change the overall feel of the game. So if you're looking for something that dramatically changes the game this isn't going to do it for you. However if you're looking for more of the same there's some great additions to your experience. The expansion challenges you to learn some new skills, has some interesting new mechanics and adds a host of wonderful new pieces to an already visually amazing game.

Marc

At UK Games Expo – We were Not Alone

Marc Kenobi

After all the fun we had last year we were excited to see if the organisers could achieve a bigger, better Games Expo this year and we were not disappointed!

We had an amazing time over the long weekend playing and discovering new games, meeting designers and geek celebrities as well as discovering, much to our surprise, that we had friends among people we'd never met; thanks for coming up to say hi! We also enjoyed taking part in the Friday and Saturday podcasts by Shut Up & Sit Down - the team were in good form and kept the whole room laughing throughout.

Cosplayers and giant games added to the atmosphere, but I hadn't expected to see the two collide quite so dramatically as in this giant version of Castle Panic.

 

 

 

 

Leaving aside those aspects I'm all about the games so here's my run down on some of the most interesting games I played at the expo:

Codenames: Pictures

Search for images...

Search for images...

Given how much we raved about the original last year it'll come to no surprise that this is a game we loved. The same concept as the words version but you get pictures to connect instead. The images themselves must have taken some time to develop as most of them seem to combine at least two unrelated concepts.

A great game made better, it also has the wonderful addition of making the game language neutral meaning it's more accessible to everyone.

Ember

Wonderful artwork and a great game

Wonderful artwork and a great game

Beautifully illustrated and fantasy themed this deceptive card game has a lot more going on than is at first apparent. Simple enough to be learnt in five minutes there is enough variety in the box and decision making in the game to keep you playing for hours. Our test game with Stuart (the game's amazingly friendly designer) was remarkable for the fact that Jay managed to pull a five card run on turn one effectively winning the game with her first play.

Super11

My favourite football game at the expo

My favourite football game at the expo

I'm not a fan of Football, I don't support a team and will only infrequently watch international events, but this seemed to be the year for football based games. There were at least four that I saw, but this was my favourite. A wonderfully made game with great components and I'm a particular fan of the way they've handled yellow cards. I was shouting at my players to track back and cover when the defence got out of place, but alas my opponent's team showed more discipline and took the lead. Seriously I really got into it, I'm not sure what was going on because...

Kix

This simple card game was brimming with footballing terms and flavour from the starting 11 cards in your hand to the half-time marker. This game takes the mechanics from Top Trumps and super charges them into a tactical decision making game that can be carried in your pocket.

Quadropolis

A seemingly simple game with interesting layers, lovely components and swift game play. Quadropolis has a great selection and placement mechanic and really encourages you to go after one or two tactics - and there are several to choose from. Where it shines though is in forcing you to figure out what to do when you can't have what you want. For a game with no direct interaction what your opponents are doing has a surprisingly impact on your choices.

Arcane Blaster Casters

My first spell was not impressive...

My first spell was not impressive...

I had a wonderful experience playing this little gem from Battle Boar Games. A simple arena contains the player's wizards and using the cards in their hands each player comes up with the most destructive spell they can using parts 1, 2 and 3 on different cards - each oriented a specific way. My first spell was 'Faint Blowing Petals' which as you can imagine did little to worry my opponent who responded by blasting away eight of my ten hit points. My spell responding to that was better, pushing him into a trap...which exploded doing enough damage to finish me off.  So our game didn't last long but I could see myself having a lot of fun with this game. 

Ice Cool

An awesome dexterity game about penguins - no I didn't manage to pull off any of the trick shots in this video...

Not Alone

Last, but by no means least Not Alone was my game of the Expo - complex enough to keep my attention, but quick to learn and easy to play. You play either the humans who've crashed on this planet or the creature that's hunting them. Both sides progress down opposing tracks till either the creature has blocked any escape or the humans have reached the rescue ship. Mixing mechanics from several game types this includes role selection, deck (hand) building, hidden information and bluffing.

Someone doubtless regrets their visit to the Wreck...

Someone doubtless regrets their visit to the Wreck...

It develops into a game of cat and mouse with the creature player trying to figure out where each player is likely to have gone. I also love that you're never out of the game - humans taken out by the creature re-spawn but there's a meaningful penalty so you desperately want to avoid it.

I can't wait for this to be released and can't say how thankful we are to the guys at Geek Attitude Games who gave us one of their pre-production copies at the end of the expo!

As usual there was so much going on that it was impossible to take part in everything, but fortunately Jess was able to cover games I missed. In particular she reported back positively on Beyond Baker Street, a game that's based on the same mechanics as Hanabi, which I love, Pandemic Cthulhu a masterful blending of concepts and Battle of the Bands which I heard was excellent - and as they were kind enough to give us a copy, one I plan to play soon.

Overall a wonderful event and one I hope continues to go from strength to strength.

Marc

 

 

The Force is strong with this one...

Marc Kenobi

When I first saw the game my excitement sparked as I’m a big fan of Carcassonne and a raving one when it comes to Star Wars, so combining the two could only lead to an awesome game right?

Unfortunately after looking at a few reviews I concluded this was probably a cash-in on the Star Wars franchise making a game I like worse and decided not to get a copy.

I was therefore a little unsure how to respond when Jay, my gorgeous fiancé, handed me a copy as a gift during our latest outing to Stabcon – on a side note we had an amazing time at this event as usual; playing games with people we’d never met before and running social games on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

Setting my trepidation aside we broke out the board, popped the pieces, stuck on the stickers, checked we had the rules right and started to play.

At first it felt like regular Carcassonne - there were a few cosmetic changes; roads had become trading routes, cities asteroid fields, monasteries were now planets and our meeples were linked to Star Wars characters – and then there were a few non-cosmetic changes; there’s one larger meeple, fewer meeples overall and fields don’t exist, but as someone who regularly commits too many farmers I can’t say I was too upset!

So far the game hadn’t changed too much, but then an invasion landed in Jakku, a planet I’d already claimed and dice came out for a battle and I couldn’t have predicted how much this changed the game.

In case you haven’t seen it elsewhere there are two major changes to the rules in Star Wars Carcassone.

First whenever two or more players are claiming the same feature (trading route, planet or asteroid field) you collect dice: For each of your meeples in the location (two for the big one) and for each of your faction symbols (Imperial, Rebel or Mandalorian) you get one dice, up to a maximum of three. You then roll off and the player with the highest single dice wins, the loser removes their meeple/s and scores 1 point per dice they rolled. If there’s a draw you each score one point and roll off again.

Second whenever you place a tile where it would score for a planet (monastery) you may place a meeple on the planet instead, either triggering a battle or seizing an unclaimed world.

These two rules do a few things to the game that I think are excellent.

Every player now has the chance to score for planets (monasteries), not just those lucky enough to draw one and planets drawn while someone doesn’t have a meeple aren’t just dead tiles. Additionally because of the opportunity to steal it, everyone tries to complete the planet. In our first game four planets scored the full nine points and the others all had seven tiles around them at the end of the game.

It also results in ‘dead’ meeples coming off the table far earlier. We’ve all seen the sprawling city/asteroid field that everyone’s got at least one meeple on but there’s no chance to finish. Now when (for example) a player connects two of their meeples to an asteroid field where you only have one, you get a chance to maintain control for the points at the end of the game or you get your meeple back.

As your meeples come back so much sooner players were deliberately starting battles for the bonus victory points even when the odds were stacked against them and as a way to continue being part of the action when they got a relatively unhelpful tile.

I’ve heard complaints this makes the game a bit too random, but given the basic premise of Carcassonne is a random tile each turn I actually think this gives you a bit more control. While I’ll continue to teach and play many of the other versions we own this one is a welcome addition to the collection and a lesson to always trust Jay’s choices!

Why not come and try it out yourself at our International Tabletop Day event on April 30th?

Marc

WynterCon & IndieCon 2015

Jessica Hancock

The last few weeks have been a busy time for Coffee & Dice with WynterCon over Halloween and IndieCon in early November. Over these two events we played games with close to 500 people and loved every minute of it. Weekends like this get us so excited about opening in spring 2016!

Back in January we met Andy Kybett at a role playing convention while we were launching our first survey. Andy aka 'Mr Wyntercon' offered us the opportunity to come to join the event teaching board games in the RPG zone - we jumped at the chance. WynterCon is a multi-genre convention in Eastbourne; if you’re into science-fiction, comics, steampunk, role-playing games, board games, cosplay, classic horror or anything a bit out of this world, then there's something there for you.

It was our first time at WynterCon and we weren't sure what to expect, or how many people would want to play board games. We were given three tables at the beginning of the event, but by the end of the weekend we'd outgrown these and were teaching games across seven tables - spreading like a virus in Pandemic! We played games with 300 people over the weekend with Codenames, Colt Express, Sushi Go, Evolution and Cash & Guns stealing the show as the most popular games.

We also had an excellent game of Werewolves of Millers Hollow on Sunday afternoon. There was a wonderful moment where someone pointed across the table "you must be the werewolf: your jacket is red!"... whilst wearing a BRIGHT red hoodie themselves. Thank you so much to everyone who came and played games with us at WynterCon. We met some amazing people and you made it so much fun. We hope to be back again on the 1st and 2nd October 2016.

After WynterCon Coffee & Dice packed up and left Eastbourne for IndieCon, a convention a bit closer to home in Dorset the following weekend. IndieCon is a role-playing convention designed for independent games, so there's always something new to try. If you've not tried role playing games this could be a great introduction as the games are four hours long and there is so much variety. I'd recommend signing up for a game based on a film, book or TV show you like for your first RPG adventure. I love the Walking Dead comic books and so chose a zombie survival horror for my first game - Marc was running that game and so in a roundabout way it was the beginning of Coffee & Dice!

We had only planned to run a couple of games of Two Rooms and a Boom at IndieCon, but were asked on the Thursday evening if we'd be able to run board games on a table all weekend. So of course we said yes! We played games with more than 180 people over the weekend and had a great time. Coffee & Dice team Jay & John offered to run a Two Rooms and a Boom session which allowed Marc and I a rare chance to play the game. We had so much fun plotting, scheming and trying to work out who was who! We also had another amazing session of Werewolves of Millers Hollow where Adele was declared chief werewolf hunter. Her gut instincts had her catching 6 werewolves in a row at one point!

We love attending events like these and have more planned soon.  We'll be at Castlepoint Library in Bournemouth for International Games Day @ your library on the 21st November, attending a Mega Game 'Doomsday' in Southampton on the 28th November, running more games of Two Rooms and a Boom and Werewolves of Millers Hollow at ConCeption a role playing convention in Christchurch 27th - 31st January 2016 and have International Tabletop Day on 30th April in Bournemouth. You can sign up and find more information about our events on our Facebook page. Be sure to Like our page to receive updates on all our events. 

Stabcon South - Autumn 2015

Marc Kenobi

The Stabcon South team were kind enough to welcome us back in September for another two wonderful days of games. Based at Jury's Inn, Southampton we once again loaded up the cars with games to attend this wonderful event, hoping to catch up with old friends and make some new ones.

We planned to run Werewolves of Miller's Hollow, Avalon and Two Rooms and a Boom in the afternoons. These are the games we most love and provide us with a real chance to build a community and interact with people we might not otherwise get a chance to. They're also the kind of games where someone who's come along alone can join in and get to know people. 

That left our mornings free for playing some of our current favourites; Mysterium, Evolution and Hanabi. We also took advantage of the number of gamers we had present to play-test Escape the Nightmare from the guys at 3D Total Games. A curious card game which will have you buzzing angrily, begging someone to save you, while hoping they don't, begging people to save you knowing you'll lose the game if they ignore you, trading cards to remove frustrating limitations... you get the idea - its a chaotic and fast moving game that's lots of fun to play. There's a few rough edges as you'd expect from a game in development, but I'm eager to see how it changes and definitely looking forward to playing the final version.

In the evenings we tried out a print and play version of Time Bomb, which was so much fun we'll be looking to pick up a copy soon, Spyfall, Qwirkle and the most played game at the con: Codenames. 

We saw Codenames on the Czech Games Edition stand at UK Games Expo and knew immediately it would be a hit, a simple game play with almost infinite variety and a simple rule set that has almost universal appeal, if you haven't yet had a chance I highly recommend you play this wonderful game!

We had a blast again; all of the players are what make this such a fun event for us to attend, but we loved all of your positive feedback too...

Marc

"Thanks for running the games, had an absolute blast and can't wait for next stabcon!"

"...having you there is always brilliant :)"

"I think you are both doing a really good job of helping to build a community and enabling others to have fun. THANKS!"

 

Evolving a dance in the maddest of castles!

Marc Kenobi

While we've been busy working on the business plan we've found the time for one or two games, these are three of our current favouries...

The Castles of Mad King Ludwig

Not sure who wrote the blueprints for most of the castles we've built in this game but a larder probably shouldn't be reachable only from the crypt and I'm not sure I'd want the shed directly next to my great hall. In The Castles of Mad King Ludwig you build up your castle from a shared supply of rooms trying to select those rooms that will most please the King (and reach your secret objectives). Even the set up of this game is on theme, building up the pieces of the game board. The rules are direct and easy to learn, but the strategic choices can be intense.

While there's no direct interaction in the game, each decision impacts and influences your opponents as what you build limits them and sometimes you'll be paying them for the rooms you want, so you need to make sure not to overpay! With a random selection of rooms available each game a great variety of win conditions and gameplay dictated by your opponents decisions, this is a game we'll be coming back to again and again.

 

 

 

Evolution

We saw a review of Evolution on a Shut up and Sit Down podcast which made the game sound so much fun we went out and bought it immediately - we have not been disappointed. 

Those of you following us on facebook will have seen that my initial response when I opened the game was to be amazed by the stunning components. Beautiful, vibrant artwork, great quality throughout, a reference card which pretty much covers all the rules and food bags with more great artwork. I'm not sure what more I could have asked for.

The game itself is great - you start with a simple species which you evolve - becoming a carnivore to feed on the other species at the table, growing a long neck or developing scavenging to ensure you always have enough food. Each trait card gives your species a new angle to survive and thrive, but once you start combining them the variations become immense - the fat tissued carnivore was particularly frightening! 

The game is also a wonderful explanation of the theory of evolution, so much so that one of our friends who teaches primary is already planning to use it in lessons. Finally wanted to say - great job by North Star Games with their 'how to play'  video, you got us into the game really quickly!

Waggle Dance

A wonderful game about making honey with bees - stay with us because underneath this wonderfully simple concept and brightly coloured dice is a game with depths of strategy.

It reminded me a lot of Alien Frontiers with its elements of area control, resource management and dice rolling, but more closely linked to the theme and less directly competitive. On each turn you roll your bees then take it in turn to assign them to various options. You'll want more bees (dice), to make honeycomb , collect pollen of course, but there's also those special action cards and naturally you'll be wanting to turn that pollen into honey (the victory condition). 

The competing hives will of course be doing the same thing and there'll be times you'll be cut off from particular options, but unlike in other games of this type it rarely feels like you're wasting a turn and the theme keeps it light and fun.  

A great game for people new to the hobby with a theme that's unlikely to scare anyone off, but with enough going on that old hands will be engaged and entertained - I certainly was!

UK Games Expo

Marc Kenobi

I don't think either of us really knew what to expect from UK Games Expo, but it was an amazing weekend and I've finally got round to writing it up. We met a whole bunch of awesome designers, producers and distributers, we also played (and bought) some excellent games. So in no particular order here are some of our highlights...

The generosity of Mage Company

The generosity of Mage Company

I played Tatsu a new game from Gen42. A simple game of oriental dragons moving around an elegant and simple board, the gameplay is pretty simple but the strategy looks intense. I experienced some of what my friend Dave struggles with though - for four turns I needed to roll an 8 to win the game, but no joy and so I lost my first game of the day.

Mage Company had an amazing stand where people were playing endless games (something we always love to see) and were kind enough to give us copies of 12 Realms and Wrong Chemistry as well as expansions for both games.

HexAgony have a beautiful puzzle game for three players and have been following us on twitter for a while (yay!) so it was great to meet them in person and have a game.

Jess is a huge fan of Chamelon Circuit who play rock music about Dr Who, so when she met Alex Day she fangirled out a bit. He was there promoting Sopio cards and was generous enough to give us some promos.

Amazing storage

Amazing storage

Basically Wooden make custom wooden boxes for board games and we particularly loved this amazing box for Carcassonne.

I played Lugu from Card Tower Games with the guys on the stall and we told the epic tale of Sir Prancelott in this simple but compelling game of joint story telling - if I remember correctly our goodly knight didn't have the best day!

Linkee founder Dean tempest talked us through the three new party games they will be launching soon in John Lewis. Silly quiz games that will be perfect with friends over drinks.

Put it on the overhead

Put it on the overhead

Backspindle Games has the new disworld game, Clacks which Jess played and loved. The game is hugely versatile and can be played co-operatively or competitively. It's now available on pre-order and you can be sure we'll have a copy in the store.

I managed to grab a game of Lords of War in their extensive play area - I first saw this game (and bought a set) at Dragonmeet a couple of years ago and it impressed me then how much effort they put into letting people play the game they clearly love, something they're still doing - great job guys!

Push It - great fun and looks amazing

Push It - great fun and looks amazing

Had a chance to play and chat with the creator of the excellent skill game Push It that can be played anywhere and looks gorgeous, and I only just got beat!

Looks cute, but don't be deceived!

Looks cute, but don't be deceived!

I played Stack Bots a fun little card game with adorable little bots like the Reaper Bot, fun art, clean rules and a wonderful 'something must be destroyed' mechanic that gets through stalled game states brilliantly. The guys at the desk were kind enough to give me a copy for the shop.

Had a great time talking to the guys at Czech Games Edition and trying out their amazing new game Codenames, the game involves a spymaster trying to lead his hunter to their team's agents while avoiding locating enemy agents , civilians and the deadly assassin! Sounds complex right? but the game is actually wonderfully clean and most of the difficulty comes from how you and your team mates read the clues from your spymaster. Would have bought a copy on the spot if I could and will definitely be grabbing a copy as soon as we can!

Spoke to the guys from Hopwood Games and grabbed a copy of Mijnlieff and 6, also had a good chat with Tom about Wizard's Academy which has some interesting mechanics, just sorry I didn't get a chance to try it out. 

The creator of Oligarchy who was kind enough to let me win a game at the Expo!

The creator of Oligarchy who was kind enough to let me win a game at the Expo!

I love Magic: The Gathering so when I hear about a similar card game that fixes some of the frustrations commonly found in the game I'm all ears.

Oligarchy is set in a dystopian future of mega-corps, secret societies and criminal families and I love some of the interesting mechanics. Had a great conversation with Gary and played a game which he graciously let me win (it was about time!).

Librium is a bizarre little game that's awfully simple, addictive and frustrating! A simple balance and dexterity game it's also visually attractive and completing to watch. They do branded version so I imagine a Coffee and Dice version may be coming our way soon!

The digger and a horde of zombies chasing us up the stairs in the excellent Z War One

The digger and a horde of zombies chasing us up the stairs in the excellent Z War One

One of the last games we played at the Expo was Z War One. This game is beautifully produced and wonderfully terrifying. In my first attempt Ciaran was dead within seconds, tripped and then buried under a heap of dead bodies that unfortunately were still trying to eat him - that game ended very quickly. The guys running the stand were kind enough to let us try again and this time we got moving fast! On the edge of our seats the entire time this game pushes you right to the limit, we ran, hid and made use of every charge in the stink tank to escape and evade the horde of undead that relentlessly pursued us.

A wonderful event a chance to play new games and an amazing opportunity to meet loads of people who love games as much as we do. I leave you with some photos of the wonderful cosplayers who made the whole event that much more colourful.

Marc

Dalek's looking for the Dr.

Dalek's looking for the Dr.

but it seems he had a plan with these decoys

but it seems he had a plan with these decoys

Professional soldiers sharing tips

Professional soldiers sharing tips

The Jawa's came for me...

The Jawa's came for me...

Awesome costume 

Awesome costume 

ConTroll

Jessica Hancock

We are all about board games at Coffee & Dice, but we also enjoy tabletop role-playing games. This weekend we'll be at ConTroll, a one-day role-playing convention in Dorchester.

A role-playing game is not about winning or losing, but about imaginative storytelling. A group of players will each assume the role of a character and interact with the world the GM (games master) has created for them.  A classic setting is fantasy (think Lord of the Rings), but a game can have any setting or theme. I'm a fan of the walking dead comic books, so I chose a zombie apocalypse setting for my first role playing game. Also (in a roundabout way) this game was the beginning of Coffee & Dice, as Marc was the GM and we became friends following the game.

Marc and I are members of a local RPG group Bournemouth Berserkers who meet on Friday evenings, ConTroll is run by RPG group Have Dice who meet on Thursdays. If you have not played role-playing games before and would like to give it a try, conventions are a great introduction. ConTroll is split into three sessions; the morning and afternoon have games you can sign up to play for four hours, and the evening is for informal board games and social games.

Marc will be running a horror RPG in the morning session, a zombie apocalypse RPG in the afternoon and I will have a selection of board games available all day for people to try out. In the evening we will be running social games such as Two Rooms and a Boom, Avalon and Spyfall. We'll post a full list of the board games available at ConTroll on our Facebook page. If you would like to try something in particular, send us a message and we'll be sure to bring it along.

If you'd like to try out new board games or role-playing games this weekend sign up for the event here, or contact the organisers on their Facebook event page. Tickets are £25 for the whole day and include all day gaming, bacon rolls on arrival, lunch and dinner. We hope to see you there!

Jessica

Watch Will Wheaton & co playing RPG Dragon Age

Stabcon South - Spring 2015

Marc Kenobi

Despite the somewhat worrying name Stabcon is a board gaming weekend run twice a year in Southampton. We weren't really sure what to expect so we grabbed some games, jumped in the car and took the short trip to be there bright and early Saturday morning.

Playing Avalon late on Sunday - so where are those minions of Mordred...?

Playing Avalon late on Sunday - so where are those minions of Mordred...?

Things were just getting started as we arrived with several games being set up. We had a look through the great selection of games available and were delighted to see many that we've wanted to try for some time but hadn't yet had a chance to try out.

Our friend Dave has been particularly keen on XCOM for some time so that was our first game of the day. The components for the game are excellent but as the guy who's normally handed the rulebook when we start a new game, I was surprised to find just a single sheet in the box.

Fortunately we had good signal and were able to download the app you need to run the game. I'm a big fan of incorporating technology into a game when it improves the gameplay. For XCOM the app short cuts the need for extra decks of cards, tables galore in the rulebook (that I'd have to find) and/or dice rolling that you'd need to create a game that reacts in the same way to how well or badly the players are doing. It also lets you create tension by limiting how much time player have to make decisions.

Figuring out how to  play XCOM the boardgame

Figuring out how to  play XCOM the boardgame

My only complaint would be that the tutorial on the app is pretty poor. It doesn't really explain the mechanics of the game until you get to resolving them and that's a bit odd as the game breaks into two halves, planning for and reacting to the Alien threat then resolving the events. Without a clear sense of how the resolution works it was really difficult to judge what resources to put against each threat. It also fails to highlight that the mission it sets up requires you to have elite soldiers to complete the game, we got to that point only to realise we had...zero elites.

The first game saw us crushed by the relentless hordes of aliens (and our own incompetence) but I I believe the team were able to crush them in the second game.

Where was I during that second game? Well I was truckin', bringing supplies, travelers and my perfectly designed spacecraft safely to the far corners of the 'verse in Galaxy TruckersThe game runs a pretty straightforward premise - you've been let loose in a supply dump and need to put together the most effective spacecraft from the various components you can find lying about, A-Team style.

Building our own spacecraft in Galaxy Truckers

Building our own spacecraft in Galaxy Truckers

Then you'll launch into the unknown and hopefully make it to the new settlements who desperately need the supplies and colonists you're bringing with you. Obviously you want to get there before your competition to get the most glory and the best prices, so make sure to take a few engines right?

We found the game fun and I particularly enjoyed the building phase where you constructed your craft, though laying out all the pieces each time took while. The mechanics also seemed to provide the leader with a real edge as they always got the first choice on opportunities and if we played again I think we'd all be a bit more frantic about building our craft quickly!

I got in on a game of Dungeon! which was quick to pick up, simple to play and looks great on the table. We were also able to try out Superfight which gets you into some pretty weird discussions about the fighting strength of, for example: Jess 100 stories tall vs hundreds of Dave's ex-girlfriends?!?! We ran Two Rooms and a Boom in the afternoon which went well, though we were a little short on numbers and after disappearing for an excellent curry recommended to us on the day (thanks Claire) returned to play some Spyfall with new friends. By the end of the day I knew I was coming back for more.

Never mess with a goblin crafted contraption!

Never mess with a goblin crafted contraption!

Arriving ready to play more games we eased into Sunday with a quick game of Infernal Contraption a great little game about building weird and wonderful goblin machines, pressing the button to set them running then hoping for maximum carnage! The rules were unclear in places, or it could have been that I wasn't awake enough to make sense of them - whatever the case we had a good laugh and felt rather like Frankenstein watching as his creation wandered into  the village...

Next up Zane managed to draw us into a game of Tammany Hall and boy were we glad he did! I have to admit the board is not the most exciting, outlining as it does the various wards of New York, but the game play is elegantly simple but deviously complex. Deals were done, votes rigged and slander flew back and forth. It looked like the English might hold sway while the Germans held their own little enclaves and the Italians moved into neighborhoods almost unnoticed, but it was the Irish that rose to power in the new world.

If you've ever lost a piece from a game you'll have a huge appreciation for the frustration it can cause, and looking ahead to when we open this is a real concern. Imagine my delight then at meeting Andrew from Board Game Extras who sell all the replacement parts you could ever want!

We ran Two Rooms again with a slightly larger group on Sunday afternoon which was excellent fun, then settled into the early evening playing more Spyfall and a couple of ten player games of Avalon, which I was delighted to be able to play in. As the con closed down around us Dave, Jess, Dan, Lizzy, Ricky and I kept playing enjoying whatever game came out of the bag next with the possible exception of Ugg-Tect - Lizzy hits hard when you get it wrong! 

Looking forward to the next one

Marc

International Tabletop Day!

Marc Kenobi

As game geeks we're a big fan of Geek & Sundry and of Tabletop in particular, so the chance to be a part of International Tabletop Day was something we just couldn't resist.

On April 11th from 2pm through 9.30pm we've secured an amazing venue and have room for nearly 100 people to meet up and play games.

For just £4 per person you'll have the opportunity to try out over 100 games. You'll also have our helpful staff on hand to help you set up and learn the rules, so you'll get straight to the action.

We'll be at The Stourvale Centre, 108 Stourvale Road, Southbourne, BH6 5JB, so why not bring your friends or come along and make some new ones?

We'll be organising games in three different categories:

Big Games

Lasting a few hours these are for 4-6 players and give you a chance to try out that big box game you've been curious about, maybe one of these takes your fancy:

  • Last Night on Earth – can you survive a B Movie Zombie Apocalypse?
  • Pandemic – Can you discover and spread the cure for the deadly diseases threatening to become a global pandemic?
  • Game of Thrones – Lead your house to take control of the Iron throne and avoid defeat by the armies and political maneuverings of your opponents.
  • Mansions of Madness – will your team of intrepid investigators be able to solve the mystery before Cthulhu rises?
  • Powergrid – Develop your power stations to power as much of the country as possible in this surprisingly clever game

Small Games

10-30 minute games for that quick fix of gaming goodness, we'll have plenty to chose from but to whet your appetite:

  • Machi Koro – fast playing game where you build up your town as the new mayor, the first player to have all their services up and running wins!
  • Splendor – develop mines, trade routes and shops to sell the magnificent gems and jewelry, gaining prestige enough to attract noble visitors
  • Incan Gold – a classic push your luck game, how long will you stay in the ruins collecting treasure and will a danger strike before you can escape?
  • Mag Blast – you are the leader of a mighty fleet of dreadnaughts (or if you're unlucky scouts), silly laser noises are required as you blow up the other player's fleets on your way to victory!
  • Coup – in a dystopian future, powerful factions plot and scheme against one another, can yours use deception, trickery and accusations to avoid a Coup?

Social Games

Join in whenever you want, these games are a great opportunity to meet new people and learn some great games designed for lots of people

  • Spyfall – Can you ask and answer questions without letting the spy figure out where you are or as the spy can you piece together your location from the other player's cryptic statements? The clock is ticking...
  • Werewolf –a village terrorised by wolves that look like men – can the villagers figure out who the beasts are or will they lynch poor innocents trying to find the guilty?
  • Two Rooms and a Boom – Will the Blue team win by keeping the President away from the Bomber or the Red team win by getting the Bomber to him? Or are you on the Grey team with a mission all your own? A game of secret roles and the hunt for information.

We'd really like to see you at our event, and if you'd like to hear more you can find our event on facebook but whatever you're planning to do for International Tabletop Day, remember: Play more games!

Marc

Zombie Games

Jessica Hancock

Grrr… Arrr… Braaains!

Zombie SFX make-up

Zombie SFX make-up

Who else loves a cheesy zombie film? I love the classic Romero films, collect the Walking Dead comics and have a copy of the Zombie Survival Guide to hand… just in case. I can waste hours discussing zombie survival plans with friends, and zombie SFX makeup is my go-to Halloween costume. There are some great zombie themed games which explore the survival horror theme and make you feel like you are part of a zombie b-movie. These are some we plan to have at Coffee & Dice when we open:

Dead of Winter is a fantastically themed game. It is about a group of survivors who have managed to survive the undead and are now in a struggle to maintain resources and live beyond the harsh winter. The game has great mechanics to make you feel like you are really struggling to get by, and the Exposure Dice roll means your character can get bitten and be removed from the game at any moment. Playing with the betrayer cards (which I highly recommend) adds an interesting layer to the game in which people become the enemy as much as the zombies. It’s a fantastic game that deserves its great reputation and success. And by the way, if you ever play with Marc - he’s the betrayer. Check out TableTop's episode to see the game played here.

Last Night on Earth is one of my favourite games, as lets you feel as though you are in a zombie b-movie. It has a range of different scenarios to go through, so is hugely replayable and covers all the classic zombie movie tropes. One person acts as the zombie player, and the remaining players are the heroes. The zombie player will have an opposing win condition to the heroes, which is unique to each scenario in the game.

Last Night on Earth

Last Night on Earth

The game gives the option of one or two players in the role of the Zombies, but our recommendation would be for there to be only one Zombie player. When we have had two people controlling the zombies, we have found there was not quite enough for both players to do. The zombies in this game feel really dangerous, as they are hard to kill and can swarm in huge numbers. Hero characters have two or three hit points, so it can often happen that you need to say goodbye to your original character and get a new one. Flying Frog Productions always make beautiful, high quality games, so look out for their other titles which we will have in store.

Lastly, Zombie Dice is a quick, fun dice game. The packaging is small enough to throw in a bag and play with friends when you are out and about. You play as a zombie on the hunt for brains, because who doesn’t want to play the bad guy from time to time? Your turn consists of rolling the dice to collect as many brains as you can without being shot at by survivors. There is a push you luck element to the game which makes you balance your will to eat brains against your desire live (or continue being undead) for another day. TableTop on Geek & Sundry have a great video if you would like learn more. Skip to 10:30 on the video to get straight to the section on Zombie Dice.

I have not mentioned 'Zombie 15',Zombicide’ or ‘Zombies!!!’ in this post - so many games, so little time! They are on our list to buy for the shop, so you will be seeing them in store when we open.

 What do you guys think of these games? Any good zombie themed games I have missed? Let me know in the comments or on Facebook so we can make sure these un-dead games shamble their way onto our shelves at Coffee & Dice.

Jess

Two Rooms and a Boom

Marc Kenobi

We recently ran two four hour sessions of Two Rooms and a Boom at a local convention and loved every moment of it 

The game's makers, Alan Gerding and Sean McCoy, have kindly allowed people to download a Print and Play version of the game here before it comes out for which we're very grateful as it allowed us to run the game. This post wont explain the full mechanics but aims to give you a quick overview of the game and how we ran it

Overview

In Two Rooms and a Boom you have a hidden identity and play in two teams; Blue who want the President in a different room to the Bomber at the end of the game and Red who want the Bomber in the same room as the President. Two Rooms plays over several rounds, with some people switching rooms at the end of each round. The game comes with loads of additional roles which make the game more interesting and introduce different or unique win conditions. 

During each of the sessions, several games were played and we introduced new characters each round to build up the player's understanding of the mechanics and make the game more interesting:

Simple concepts, fantastic gameplay

Simple concepts, fantastic gameplay

Game 1, Basic Cards

This was the warm up game to get everyone used to the basic concepts, we also ran the shorter three round version. The Gambler is included to keep the teams even when you have an odd number of players and wins by correctly guessing which team will succeed.

  • President
  • Bomber
  • Gambler (Grey)
  • Team Cards (Red and Blue)

Game 2, Limited Shares

For game 2 we were looking to add different 'sharing' mechanics and sow a little suspicion; you have the Negotiator and Coy Boys who can only share in specific ways and the spies whose cards are one color but they are on the other team.

  • All the above plus
  • Negotiators (Red and Blue)
  • Coy Boys (Red and Blue - we actually only had Shy Guy cards but used the Coy rule)
  • Spies (Red and Blue)

Game 3, Grey Objectives

Adding Moby and Ahab as well as the Mistress and Wife gave us roles that had win conditions with nothing to do with the Red/Blue team conflict. These characters seek to ensure they are with (or not with) the President (or Bomber) and that the other character in their pair is. We found that they changed the game in subtle ways and information began to be bartered with these grey players by both teams.

  • All the above plus
  • Mistress and Wife (Grey)
  • Ahab and Moby (Grey)

Game 4, Zombie Apocolypse

Given our love of zombie games, comics, books, TV shows and films we had to add this one in. The zombie turns anyone who shares with them into a zombie who can then go on to infect other players. Zombies win if everyone who survives (isn't with the bomber) at the end of the game is a zombie. During the first game with the zombie one room was completely infected in the first round and the zombies won easily. The second game saw everyone refusing to share or trying tactics to avoid getting infected. The end result was that this card, just 1 of 15, became the only thing players were focusing on. We feel that this card is one that should be added randomly every now and then so that the whole game doesn't become "avoid the zombie"

  • All the above plus
  • Zombie

Some Other Characters

While we didn't get a lot of games in with these characters we also tried:

  • Vampire (Red or Blue) - makes thralls who have to do what they want which is great for sowing confusion, but makes the Zombie even more dangerous
  • Born Leader (Grey) - wants to be in charge of their room at the end of the game. What we saw was each leader found a room and then agreed to vote with the majority in it, making their victory pretty easy
  • Agoraphobe/Traveler - The Agoraphobe never wants to move rooms and the Traveler wants to move multiple times. These roles can either lose or win very quickly and we saw them revealed almost immediately at the start of games with them in, so it felt like there was not much of a game for them

Closing Thoughts... 

We had enormous fun with this game. It has investigative elements as well as opportunities to sow confusion and misinformation, you can out-think the opposition or get lucky in the final round and everyone is involved from start to finish. There were some odd characters in the stack of ones we didn't try and some roles that didn't work for our group but with so much to choose from we had plenty to play with. We also decided that name badges would have been a good idea as some people didn't know everyone. Also suggested was a corner of the card made for colour sharing, so there was no danger of sharing the picture by accident and some help with the rules on your card. I can't wait to see what changes have been made between whenever they set up the Print and Play set and the final product but you can bet this is a game we'll play again and again.

I found a video by "Board with Life" so if you'd like to see the game in action, check it out below.

Marc

Back from Conception

Marc Kenobi

Great games and great times. Conception is an excellent convention but this year my attendance would be different...

I normally organise and run a game or two at Conception but mostly I'm there to play, this year though I went with the express intention of running a lot of games. I ran six RPGs and with Jess's help, coordinated two games of Two Rooms and a Boom. In addition we had a whole bunch of copies of our current survey that I think we asked everyone to fill in at least twice.

For all the help and support we received I have a whole bunch of thank yous to put out there.

First and foremost thanks to the organisers of Conception and especially Duncan for being so helpful - you made it easier for us and helped in so many ways. Getting us space for Two Rooms, letting us hand out surveys, having them on the desk and introducing us to some useful contacts, we really couldn't have asked for much more.

Games added to our collection

Games added to our collection

The strangest conversations of the weekend were definitely the ones with the people who gave (yes gave!) us games. For some reason I don't understand they were apologising for not giving us more. Julian trying to desperately explain why he wasn't giving us more of his games was weird, Mike's apology that he wasn't actually able to give us sake to go with the game and Dave's "sorry it wasn't one of the better prizes" when he gave us his raffle winnings left me baffled. By the time Nigel felt the need to explain that he'd like to keep the special edition of Ticket to Ride he won but would donate his regular copy I was used to the strangeness. You're all a bit nuts but thank you, you have no idea what it means to us.

Thanks to everyone who played in one of the RPGs that I ran, I had a great game in all of them and hope you did too. Also thanks to Tijs and Max who ran the only RPGs I got to play in, both were excellent and introduced me to worlds I didn't know, but had fun running around in. Tijs' game also led to my quote of the con, when our Fixer turned to our Decker and asked: "Why have you been arming our hostages?" Thanks also to Patrick for running the Cube Draft where I managed to put together a deck with a possible infinite combo on turn one, multiple redundancies and a bunch of other powerful plays that you still managed to beat!

Last but by no means least thanks to everyone who filled in our survey whether offline at the event or here on our site, we're using the data to help our business plan and to help us understand what will work so every piece of feedback we get is extremely valuable. 

Confuse the opposition and achieve your goal  

Confuse the opposition and achieve your goal  

The last thing I wanted to talk about was Two Rooms and a Boom, the awesome game we ran on the Saturday afternoon. Thanks to everyone for taking part, for accepting the odd mistake that we made and for keeping up the energy through four hours! We liked this so much we added a second slot, running it on Sunday night as well, for an even bigger group. This game is amazing and I highly recommend it if you have a big group and want to play something a little different. While we were late finding it and couldn't add to the kickstarter, we will definitely be purchasing a copy when it comes out!

Marc

Happy New Year!

Jessica Hancock


Happy New Year! We hope you had a fun time over Christmas and celebrating the New Year. We welcomed in the New Year playing all the new board games we got over Christmas.

Boom Boom Balloon

Boom Boom Balloon

Boom Boom Balloon is a simple, fun game which was recommended to us by Draughts when Marc visited last month. You roll a dice to see how far you have to push a stick into the balloon, whoever bursts the balloon loses the game.

Reminds me of Jenga or Kerplunk, and is a fun party game. A great game to play with friends who are new to board games.

 

Legendary Encounters: An Alien Deck Building Game, is a cooperative deck building game based on the four movies of the Alien series. The art work is beautiful, and the game mechanics perfectly simulate the panic and horror of being in an alien film. The fear of  a face hugger being the next card you turn over builds throughout the game, because if you can't kill it before the end of the next players turn, your life become a ticking time bomb waiting for an alien to burst through your chest! This is one of my new favourite games, and I would highly recommend it.

Legendary Encounters: An Alien Deck Building Game

Legendary Encounters: An Alien Deck Building Game

We tried many other excellent games such as Splendor, Machi Koro, Trains, Power Grid, The Tortoise and the Hare and Dead of Winter to name a few. All of these games will definatly have pride of place in Coffee & Dice.

Get any new games for Christmas you think we should try? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook.

Jess

Visiting Draughts of London

Marc Kenobi

Space for over 80 game players

Space for over 80 game players

Last Thursday I had a chance to visit Draughts, the recently opened Boardgame Cafe in London. It's a bit out of the way, just round the corner from Haggerston overground station but well worth the trip!

I arrived as they opened and from what I heard it was just as well I got there before six as they've been full most evenings since they opened. I got talking to Nick at first and then later Toby, the two owners. Both were kind enough to give up some time to speak with me, give me the tour and let me take some photos.

The comfortable sofas at the entrance...

The comfortable sofas at the entrance...

As well as hearing about how the opening went and some of the immediate things they had to change, they were also kind enough to share ideas they'd incorrectly held before opening (some of which we may need to reconsider ourselves!).

I also learnt some surprising things they're experiencing:

  • Lots of people on dates coming in
  • Connect four one of the most popular games
  • The need for more signage
  • They had to take a day off!
Stunning Purling Dark chess set

Stunning Purling Dark chess set

It was a great experience to hear them share so freely what was working as well as a few things they'd change, but also to see someone actually making a go of running a Boardgame Cafe - it can work!

I plan to to be in touch again when we're a bit further a long and when things have settled for them but it was great to see what can be achieved.

So if you find yourself in London with nothing to do for an evening I highly recommend popping in for a visit.

Marc

 

Just some of the many games they have that you can play

Just some of the many games they have that you can play