On Saturday my boyfriend Alex and I opted for a day trip to Nottingham, as the weather promised grey and intense drizzle. The plan for the day involved visiting geeky shops, charity shops and Nottingham’s premier board game cafe, Ludorati! I’ve wanted to check out board game cafes ever since I heard of the opening of the UK’s first in Oxford (Thirsty Meeples). So when a friend mentioned there was one in Nottingham (one of our local-ish cities) we HAD to go!
So after adding a new faux leather jacket, pretty lace detail hoody and tassel jumper to my wardrobe (city charity shop shopping is the best), checking out Forbidden Planet (soo many Funky Pop figures) and Page 45 (filled with stunning art and comic books), and yummy lunch at Tamatanga we headed to what would be the highlight of the day, the cafe!
It was a brilliant space, large open plan filled with big square tables that could fit pretty much any tabletop board game, even though we just had a 2 person table. It was bright (a necessity for being able to see your games as most cafes and pubs opt for too dark mood lighting) and colourful with a bit of a sci-fi feel to it. The amazing glassed cube Escape Room certainly added to this theme. I liked that they also had a small ‘normal’ cafe area for passers by who could drop in for a traditional board game such as chess or scrabble.
If you want to play tabletop board games with the proper tables however, you have to pay for the table. I liked that they had tv screens showing Will Wheaton’s Tabletop. It was satisfying to see them playing Fury of Dracula which we tried out only a week ago. But the best bit about Ludorati was obviously the ‘wall’ of games! They have about 800 games lined up in alphabetical order. The cafe also includes a board game store which I was slightly disappointed by as they didn’t have much choice but the prices were good not miles above online prices like many board game shops. They also have an online store which I’m keen to check out as I’ve been looking for a good place to buy games that isn’t Amazon.
We had thought we could probably just turn up, but on checking the night before I discovered incidentally that it was their anniversary weekend so they recommended booking in advance. I was able to easily book by email on Saturday morning though before we left the house. A good decision as it was soon packed out in the afternoon after we arrived. It costs £5.00 each to book a table for 4 hours or £1.60 per person per hour.
The cafe is primarily about the board games but they did have a few sandwiches and offer of pizza to sustain you whilst playing. The variety of drinks on offer are good though, their hot chocolate was heavenly! The staff were super happy and friendly and even helped teach you how to play games or offered recommendations if you weren’t sure where to start.
After struggling to choose a game to play (just so many to choose from!!), and losing out to Forbidden Desert as someone grabbed it beneath my eyes, Alex opted for The Ancient World, which we had never heard of. It has stunning artwork and involves warrior tribes and mythical monsters so we were sold! It was a worker placement city building game with the added touch of fighting titans and collecting tribe banners.
It felt a bit like a much simpler Agricola though still took us a while to learn how to play. It was pretty simple once we got our head round it though. We ended up drawing on victory points but as I had more money I won! But Alex then beat me at several games of Sushi Go!, a short silly fun card game. The card counting and maths didn’t really suit me!
It was a brilliant 4 hours spent playing games in a beautiful comfortable place with an amazing atmosphere. I loved seeing fellow tabletop fans playing some of my favourite games all around us! You could see the joy of playing board games in everyone’s happy faces. The Escape Room looked like a lot of fun too. It was nice to go out somewhere new to play new games too instead of staying home on a rainy day. Check out their website here and book your own session!
Also, another highlight was receiving anniversary mug freebies and the membership card is definitely going to be my most prized card in my purse!
Have you ever been to a board game cafe? Any recommendations? I’d love to hear about your experiences!