Croydon’s first board game café is opening in the town centre next week.
The Ludoquist, located on High Street, opposite The Green Dragon, will offer customers the choice of more than 750 different board games to sit and play with friends or other people at the café. When people enter they will be greeted by a wall stacked high with all of the games to choose from. Next week’s opening date has not yet been decided as the team work hard to transform the building which was previously home to Pizza Ora.
Nick Smith, owner of the innovative take on the usual coffee parlour, said: “We want to create a space for people to interact without a screen, phone or tablet. You can stay at home and play video games or you can get out and communicate with people. We wanted to do things differently.”
Staff working at the café will be knowledgeable on the huge selection of games to help people learn how to play something new. Customers will be shown to a table – with craft beer, coffee, snacks and meals on offer – and they will get to look through a restaurant-style menu dedicated to helping them select their ideal game.
Mr Smith, who lives in Thurlby Road, West Norwood, said: “We want to introduce people to other games apart from Monopoly and Cluedo and we can do that through our staff who were sourced mainly through board game meetups and adverts in the windows. The menus are a way to explain that the nature of games has changed and with the staff being able to educate people on what’s on offer, we can introduce people to something in a friendly way. If we just had 750 games stacked up on a wall with no information about them it would be quite intimidating.”
A variety of food and drink will also be available at The Ludoquist, including coffee, paninis and cake, as well as “home cooked” shareable bowl food, consisting of curries and stews. “The point of the bowl food is that you’ll be able to eat with one hand and roll dice with the other,” said the 50-year-old owner.
Mr Smith’s family wholeheartedly support him in his decision to jump from owning an IT business to running the café and they will be heavily involved. While he is sticking to the games, his wife will be handling the food and his daughters running the social media accounts, making it a strong family business. Mr. Smith said: “I’ve got a particularly nerdy mindset for the games but now I need to take my experience into a completely different world. I’ve run a business before but not a café, that is something I need to learn.”
The café will hold regular scrabble events run by Brett Smitheram, the 2016 Scrabble World Champion and a Purley resident, and has plans to launch local chess tournaments. Also on offer will be a selection of limited edition games, including a 10th anniversary collector’s edition of Catan with 3D tiles and playing pieces, of which only 100 were made.