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Unit 7 Calendula Place, 752-778 Christchurch Rd
Bournemouth, England, BH7 6DE
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01202 309938

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

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

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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

Marc Kenobi

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

Marc Kenobi

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!

Marc Kenobi


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


Opening a Coffee Shop Course

Marc Kenobi

On Thursday we travelled up to Limini Coffee in Bradford. The plan sounded simple; get some advice on opening our own shop and learn to brew up an amazing cup of coffee, but under the surface much more was at stake...

 Making delicious, high quality coffee

Making delicious, high quality coffee

This was the first time we'd be sharing our plan with someone who wasn't a friend, someone with experience opening coffee shops and knew what worked and failed.

We'd been trying not to get too excited and keeping our plans to the worst case scenarios, but I have to admit I've been getting more and more exited and was seriously afraid they'd pour cold water on our dream.

I'm delighted to say that if anything they took us the other way.

The first part of the course was all about the business plan, organising our business and setting up the shop. We got some great tips and advice and our business plan, which we feel still needs a lot of work, but was described more complete than some that get presented to bank managers (so kudos to Jess for all her work on it).

 Our perfect monk's head cappuccinos

Our perfect monk's head cappuccinos

Over the afternoon, buoyed by the morning's discussion we learnt how to measure and tamp shots of coffee, about flow rates, groupheads, ristretto, grinding coffee and the importance of a good crema. We also learnt how to steam milk properly and make gloriously rich cappuccinos, flat whites, macchiatos and hot chocolates... oh the hot chocolates.

The journey back flew by as we talked about the shop and our plans and growing all the time was my excitement to make this happen.

Marc


We are Coffee and Dice!

Marc Kenobi

We've finally come up with a name. The idea has existed in the back of our minds for a long time now, but we're finally taking steps to make it a reality. 

Marc and I are two friends who live in Bournemouth and love board games. We spend most weekends (and some evenings midweek!) playing board games with our friends. There are about ten of us who meet up regularly, its an awesome little group. We would love to open Coffee & Dice to expand this community of people who love board games.

Our plan is to create a space in Bournemouth where people can meet to play games, with great espresso drinks, cold beverages, snacks and treats. We are looking to have 500 games when we open, with staff on hand to help reccomend games and teach you how to play. Open gaming nights will give you the chance to play games with new people, and regular events will be in the calander to introduce you to games you may have not tried before.

The next year is going to keep us busy with planning on how to make Coffee & Dice a reality. We are currently working on our business plan, and looking into how we can finance the dream. Getting input from the community from the start is really important to us, so throughout the planning process we will have surveys to ask for your thoughts and ideas.

If you would like to get in touch with us send us an email, tweet or facebook post - we would love to hear from you. All the links can be found on our 'Contact Us' page.

We will be posting updates on how plans are progressing here on the blog. So come back soon to see what we have been up to!

Jess