Thirsty Meeples, combining Games and Tea (plus cookies, cake, sandwiches and coffee!)

Over in Oxford (which is surprisingly close to Goatswood), something new and awesome has opened.
Thirsty Meeples, which is a Gaming Cafe (Website).

Now other game shops (including the excellent Eclectic Games Website Here) have both games nights, where you can play the games from their library, and usually either allow food or have vending machines and snacks. However at Thirsty Meeples you have a fully functioning Cafe right there next to where you are gaming. The food and drink selection is very fine, and I was certainly pleased with the selection of Teas on offer. From Green tea, to Darjeeling first blush, to the rather nice Winter Brew (which was similar to Space Imperial) they seem to have a tea for everyone.

They also do coffee, but I won’t hold that against them! There is also Hot Chocolate, a brilliant selection of sandwiches, cakes and cookies. I didn’t actually sample the various food options as I am currently trying this whole getting fit thing ready for the Larp season, but believe me it was very difficult as they looked absolutely amazing.

Ordering a table is definitely a good plan, the place was absolutely packed, but luckily you can go in and ask them to phone you when a table becomes available. Once there, you take your seats and one of the staff comes over to help you with your choice of game. There are a LOT of games, easily covering both walls of the cafe, but luckily the staff can lead you to the right game for your group, including cooperative games, or two player games. If you have been there before you can just pick up your favoured game from the shelves. Given I saw such things as Rampage (new out last month), Elder sign, and also Twilight Imperium (although how you would manage to play that during even a full working day I have no idea), the selection is again very good and very much up to date.

Handily if you are playing a game you don’t know the rules of then one of the Games Gurus will descend upon you and give you a quick run through of the game rules, and even sit and run you through a few turns of the game. This is incredibly helpful, as sometimes just reading the rules is not enough to get the hang of the game, and sometimes (I’m looking at you Forbidden Island) they can give you important information that means the game won’t beat you in the first turn.

The game selection is immense but even here they have been very sensible and on the back of the Drinks menu is the Games menu, with the games separated out by type, time to play, number of players and so on. This makes it a lot easier to work out what games to play, especially given the huge amounts of games on offer. The separation out makes it easy to say “what do I want to play today” and then find a game that fits.
Finally you can actually buy the games from the cafe as well, I didn’t check out the prices but I expect they would be in line with other games shops. So in theory you can come in, play a game, decide if you like it, and then leave with it! This is a good thing.

Obviously there is a cost associated with the gaming cafe, the food and drink is priced competitively, and there is a £3.50 surcharge per person for gaming (£2 if you are 12 or under), although this rises to £5 if you don’t buy any food or drink (although why would you). However every time you visit you receive a stamp until your 6th visit is free, and believe me you will want to visit again!

All In all I heartily recommend Thirsty Meeples if you happen to be in Oxford!

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