Best Play was started by three fellas back in April 2016, synthesised during a chat over a pint, as is tradition in the UK. That chat took place in one of Brighton’s many hundreds of pubs, a city where we all lived and had originally met each other.

Since then, two of us have moved to London and the other has left the country altogether. So we don’t get to see each other too much anymore, and tragically, we don’t play games together either.

In November 2016 we managed to engineer a meet up, and got stuck into some good old fashioned Codenames and a round or two of Loony Quest. But where is the best place to meet for three dudes with a few hours and a hankering for gamin’?

A board game cafe.

You might have heard of them. They’re places that usually feature a cover charge and vast archives of board games that once you’re in, you can play as many of them as you like.

It’s a great idea to test out games you’re not sure about buying yet, or for introducing people to your favourite games in a fun, easygoing environment.

We’ve taken the time to list a selection of the best cafes the UK has to offer.


Draughts

Where? Haggerton, London. UK.

How much? £7 a person, you can stay as long as you like

What’s so good about it?

Located in one of the trendier parts of London, Draughts is tucked away down a side alley. It’s relative difficulty to find doesn’t make it any less attractive to punters, and the place is almost always full to the door with people playing a ridiculous range of games. We’ve seen people playing everything from Dead of Winter and Twilight Struggle to the accursed Monopoly or Game of Life.


Chance & Counters

Where? Bristol, UK

How much? £4 a head for non-members

What’s so good about it?

Well, firstly there’s the name. What a solid name. Secondly, it’s less of a cafe and more of a pub, meaning it has more of a night time atmosphere. The guys know a thing or two about beers and boast a fine selection of alcoholic beverages that really get the games going and the refills flowing. They also sell a range of cool merchandise, as well as offering a number of games for you to buy for your own collections.


Thirsty Meeples

Where? Oxford, UK

How much? a very reasonable £3.50 cover charge

What’s so good about it?

This one’s more about the hardcore. Nestled in the impressive, historical and academic city of Oxford, it’s no surprise that games are taken a bit more seriously here than most places. With almost 3000 games in their collection and counting, it’s a real haven for games fans. It also operates an online store, and the staff really know their stuff so feel free to ask for recommendations or help.


The Dice Cup

Where? Nottingham, UK

How much? £5 per person for at least four hours, with discounts and memberships available

What’s so good about it?

The first thing you’ll notice about The Dice Cup is the tables. The cafe boasts fancy Geeknson tables, specifically designed for board gaming. The Dice Cup also takes its food seriously, making it a great destination for a lunchtime session with colleagues or friends. It has an open-minded feel, and is a great place for new players looking to learn something new – or just sit down with a trusted family classic.


Geek Retreat

Where? Newcastle and Glasgow

How much? Varies (but free for some things)

What’s so good about it?

Remarkably, Geek Retreat is open every single day of the year (with two exceptions). Spanning a wider range of interests than most of the others on this list, Geek Retreat is a mecca for all things … well, geeky. Expect a variety of comic books, themed events and celebrity signings, as well as the usual board game tournaments. The best thing about GR is its range of free graphic novels and board games to get stuck into, and it boasts a decent selection of refreshments too.