A few weeks ago, Alex and I decided for once and for all to go to Oxford and visit Thirsty Meeples. We wanted to geek out, play some board games, and meet properly the place that seemingly set the standards of board game cafes in the UK. Well folks, the reason why it has taken me so long to write this up, is because the experience was not what I was wanting or expecting. I didn’t want to write a mean review all hot headed so, I decided to give it some time and reflect back. So, without more hesitation, here is the final report, I guess.
Just to set the scene, we went at the end of June on a Saturday at midday, and it was pretty hot and busy in Oxford itself. The total crew was us two and 2 of our friends, seasoned geeks with knowledge of board game cafes here and abroad. In fact, one of our friends has been working as a games master for different projects since 2017 so, we’d like to think we had some pretty decent background.
The first thing that struck me was how uninviting the space was, although that’s not completely their fault. I understand rent prices in the city centre are demanding and you do the best you can with what you get. However, I had this issue as well when I went to Snakes & Ladders (Bristol). The games for sale are right there as you come in, the space left between them and the first set of gaming tables is of one person, and this is the only way in and out. Needless to say it is tight. In Bristol this is even worse: the playing games are right in front of the bar which is at the entrance and gaming area at the back so, if there’s a queue you have to go through people. If it’s busy, you can’t afford to take your time to have a look in either of these locations, not without getting in the way of the staff and the other customers. I could have got past it in Thirsty Meeples, but then, you ha e the same problem with the actual playing board games. The shelves run along the walls, okay, cool, but then there are playing tables, big ones as well, right by them. And the section that is most heavily impacted by this is strategy games so, what, 70% of the playing collection? If I wanted to play something as simple and iconic as ticket to ride or catan, or even long game like scythe, I would have had to disturb a table of 6. Not great. Never mind though, because there’s no chance I’d have liked to play a long game there. Not only is the gaming space on the tables limited – an issue we had addressed for other places like draughts, though, mind you at least the have the trays under the tables which is useful – it’s so bloody noisy!! Continue reading “A Sour Visit to Thirsty Meeples”
Hello guys! How you doin’? We hope you’re having a blast! Now you may have heard that we were on holiday recently, but worry not, we were not lazy. As part of our little adventure in Spain we did a special edition of the Cespedes – Gonzalez household renowned timba: games party bby!!
We cracked open the board games and have a full on day (from lunch time until midnight) on geekery. There was much banter and fun had, and a few crazy moments and sore loses. So here is a quick report of what we played and a few thoughts on a couple of games.
STRAW – this is a great game and family favourite for a warm up. It has little to no rules, and it holds up to 5 players. You play one round per player so it goes pretty quick. And all that there is involved here is a little maths: you have to add or take weight from the camel’s back. I failed big time. For 4 rounds I scored nothing 😐 My dad got a clear victory with no possible competition. This was not a very usual game of Straw in that regards. But the game has a high luck component which needs to be taken into consideration.
KERALA – relatively new game for the family; certainly a first for me. It is a game of area control, under the premise that you are building a trading platform for your elephant. You score more points for each colour you incorporate into your platform, you score more points. It’s a fairly simple dynamic of time placement, and has a luck component similar to Azul. Surprisingly, I won! Well, it was a tie with my dad, BUT it still counts as victory!
Sorry guys, we have been on holiday! But don’t despair: to compensate we bring you a very special edition of our podcast. We had the infinite luck and pleasure of speaking with Rikki from Dice, the board game cafe in Portsmouth.
Rikki explained to us the concept behind their business, how it all came to fruition and their hopes and struggles. We also talked about a few board games.
We would like to send a massive thank you to the entire crew at Dice for their time and hard work. And we hope you guys come down there for a good geeky time!
Find them at diceportsmouth.com
The second episode of our podcast is here already! with some awesome geeky chat ready to be beamed straight into your brain… via your ears.
This episode features guests Nick and Nik! alongside our friend Mike returning from episode 1. Our chat is slightly more focused this time, it’s all about board games!
Be sure to check out Nick’s RPG publishing company, Owlman Press: https://www.facebook.com/OwlmanPress/
And keep an eye out for the release of Nik’s new board game, The King of all Bards: https://www.facebook.com/kingofallbards/
Hello guys today I am bringing you a post that will be comparing two different board games: Sagrada and Azul. Now that I have played them both, I can sincerely say that these are wonderful games. However there is a couple of things that I wanted to discuss and that I think is where the choice of game comes into in to play (at least for me), if I were to buy one of them – no, I currently do not own, either but have access to them via my gaming network. So here are my thoughts.
Thematically speaking, they are similar in the sense that the game mechanic involves picking up the tiles, or dice in the case of Sagrada, and making up a pattern in the shape of a grid that will score you points according to the rules at the end of the game. Interestingly, while I didn’t have a clue who would end up winning the game playing Sagrada, it became very easy to establish at round 3 give or take, who was clearly ahead in Azul. I think it has something to do with the fact that in Azul there are no further mechanics other than tile placement, whilst in Sagrada we have the cards and tools that you can use to change the dice or the scoring. But then I know people who didn’t have a clue the other way around, so hhhmmm.
I guess that what I’m trying to say is that, in a way I feel that Sagrada offers more possibilities in terms of the gameplay and the dynamic between the players, whilst in Azul it seemed when someone takes the lead it can become difficult to take that away from them, other than everyone conspiring against that player. At the same time it felt that if I was looking to trump the others I wasn’t scoring what I wanted…perhaps the idea is to find a fine balance or have 0 strategy and go with the flow…not sure on that one 🤔 Continue reading “Tactility Board Masters: Azul V Sagrada”
Here’s a new post I wrote for our History blog at W.U HSTRY. The wonderful combination of History and Board Games doesn’t get much better!
Board games have been a part of human society for thousands of years, and although most of them have been lost to the ages, there are still plenty that have survived either in some physical form, or described. Archaeological finds of various game boards and pieces that we may never know the rules to can be an interesting if frustrating source, but the combination of games that have survived to the modern day, written sources and artwork can often reveal how many of these old games are played. There is evidence to show that all levels of society would have enjoyed gaming in various forms, be you rich or poor, educated or not, old or young.
There are many examples in recorded history of people playing board games, such as Romans sitting in the forum playing Ludus Latrunculorum, Monks in Gloucester Cathedral playing Fox and Geese in their cloister…
View original post 1,820 more words
On the 2nd of February (2019), some of my friends and I ended up in Portsmouth with the intention to go to the game fest at the Guildhall… but our plans changed, and there are 0 regrets because our visit to DICE: Board Game Lounge in Portsmouth was more than pleasant! I am gonna make a very strong statement here guys, but i wholeheartedly believe this establishment is the best of its kind in the South of England – granted we haven’t been to All board game venues, but, hear me out. I will use points of comparison with our local BITC in Southampton and the big name in London – Draughts. Having been to either of these several times, and knowing that of course their audiences are slightly different, I think DICE have actually managed to find a very happy medium which makes their success apparent.
For starters, DICE has several aspects of the business which we approve of: you have the facilities to play board games, they have a bar, a shop, and seemingly a good set of activities throughout the week. We were stupid enough to not book a table – plans! Silly! I know – so please if you are reading this make sure that you book through their page or Facebook which is: https://en-gb.facebook.com/diceportsmouth/ And you will think reserving a table sounds pretentious, but nuh huh! It gets so busy! particularly during the weekend. And you can understand why very easily.
I am not bringing you something exotic today, but rather sharing my experience of how I have come to terms that I am for good – or at least until the game changes and Wizards rethinks its strategy…so probably eternities from now – getting rid of my Magic: The Gathering collection. Sad as it is, the truth is I am not really invested in the hobby any more: I have pretty much ignored the last 2 sets of the game, and even before that, I was mostly making decks that I wanted to play with and nothing to do with whether they’d be tournament legal or not. Plus, after a while cards take a fair amount of space, so I needed to clear some of this. In addition, the sudden turn of events for Netrunner earlier on this year has also meant I am saying bye-bye to most o my cardboard crack.
Hola gente! Hemos estado de vacaciones pero ya estamos de vuelta con mas posts. Hoy vengo a poneros al día con juegos nuevos que he adquirido gracias a mi cumple que fue hace un par de semanas. Así que os traigo un comentario rápido sobre estos jueguillos y lo que me han parecido.
El primero que se sumo a mi lista fue Tsuro: ya se que llega muy, muy tarde a la colección pero, la cosa es que en el Reino Unido, conseguir una copia nueva de este juego no es siempre fácil, y el precio ha fluctuado demasiado como para lanzarse a por ello – creo que en los últimos 24 meses he visto copias desde £19.00 hasta £30.00…Y ya lo siento mucho, pero 30 pavos por Tsuro me parece una barbaridad, por mucho que me guste. No creo que el nivel de producción, diseño y estética de este juego merezca tanto dinero, particularmente teniendo en cuenta que lleva ya en el mercado mucho tiempo. Por tanto, y a pesar de haber jugado chiquicientas veces, pues ha tardado lo suyo en sumarse al conjunto. Ya lo he sacado del precinto, estrenado y todo, y sigo invicta, así que mi record continua 😀 Para aquellos que tengan dudas o estén buscando motivos para probar o comprar Tsuro, aquí os dejo los motivos por los que a mi me gusta: lo principal es que es super fácil de jugar, apenas tiene reglas, y tiene capacidad hasta 8 jugadores, pero funciona bien con el mínimo que son 2. Siempre y cuando tengas un mínimo de visión espacial y sepas seguir el lio de líneas que forman el camino de tu dragón, lo tienes hecho. La partida mas larga que he jugado no llega a los 30 minutos, por tanto esta bien para calentar motores en una mega timba o por si no tienes mucho tiempo libre.