I was really excited about The Ludoquist opening in Croydon. I had seen about it several months before, when they launched their Kickstarter, and was looking forward to them opening up and us having a board game cafe much closer than the one in Bromley.
At present it seems to be taking a more family-friendly approach than the one in Bromley, or even the one in Brighton, where they bring people in to play games and have food rather than them having loads of tournaments and competitions taking over the shop floor and making it an intimidating environment for children or more casual gamers.
The layout is also pretty good as the tables are nicely split up and the games are neatly presented on bookshelves throughout, rather than being jammed into one small section, with a separate section near to the spot where you order drinks or food for sealed games that are available to purchase. This is something that is really important to me as layout can make a space welcoming or make you feel rushed and watched and the former certainly applies here and as long as you are interacting/drinking/eating and being happy the staff are in no rush to shove you along.
With a huge variety of games from two people to groups looking to work against each other or collaboratively there is almost certainly a type of game for everybody; even the sort of person that isn’t into games but has been dragged along by their friends and they are too polite to say no (we all know the sort). If you know somebody that is not super keen on the gaming front you can at least tell them that there is good pizza on offer.
Anybody familiar with Croydon’s landscape will know that the site of this board gaming cafe is where Pizza Ora, the badly punned pizza place that clearly hoped Rita Ora was going to be the biggest thing of the decade, used to be. Instead of stripping out the pizza ovens and on-view kitchen The Ludoquist have made the most of what was already there and sell pizzas at good prices to their gamers.
In fact the pizza alone is enough reason for me to want to return to the cafe. I mean I love a game or two but if I am going to enter battle I want to be well fed in the process and their cheesy heaven ensures that will be the case. For some the amount of cheese on the pizzas might be too much but they are the people that do not appreciate the good things in life. It would be no exaggeration to say that the pizza I had there was possibly up there with the best pizza (I had the vegetarian one on the menu) I have ever eaten…
They also do a meal in bowl which, absolutely essentially in a boardgame cafe, allows you to eat it all with one hand so that the gaming fun does not have to stop. This might be a chilli or something completely different but they always make sure to have a vegetarian option close to hand too. At present their vegan options are lacking but several of the menu items could be adapted on request and they do have a selection of sweet bites around the till that easily have the potential to be vegan (all allergy advice is labelled on these).This is certainly a place I want to support in 2018 and would recommend others to support too. With the price of many board games this spot allows for people to try a game out before they fully commit to purchasing it, they can check the replay value of the game or if they love board games but are unable to have people over to their own place this is a great compromise. It allows for endless variety of the types of games that are played and you can ask advice from both staff and fellow gamers about a certain game or type to lean towards.
The Ludoquist is a real gem to have come to Croydon in 2017 and long may it stay.
What is your favourite board game to play? Let me know in the comments below!