We have become regular visitors to The Den, a boardgame cafe. I am always looking for activities to do with my 11 year old to get him off electronic devices and I’ve found it at The Den for sure.
The Den website http://www.theden.cafe/
The Den is suitable if you’re looking for something to do with the family , a lover of board games old or new, or are just wanting to sit and enjoy a lovely relaxing lunch.
There is a collection of over 150 games ranging from classics such as Chess, Monopoly, Othello and even Mah-Jong to the newest of new, including JamSumo, Click Clack Lumberjack and Sub Terra.
They open from 12pm until 5:30 pm and will be at:
Paston Scout Hut
1087 Lincoln Road
Standard entrance prices, giving entrance and access to the games:
£3 for 12s and up
£2 for students showing an NUS or Student card
£1.50 for children over 5
Under 5s go in for free.
For entry, plus a sandwich or salad deal
£5 for 12s and up
£4 for students showing an NUS or Student card
£3 for children over 5
My 11 year old and I have visited on two occasions now and has become a family favourite. The cafe is open once per month at present and my son really gets excited when the day arrives. He wakes up at 6am, gets dressed and is super excited to be going.
The current location is handy for the city centre with ample free parking. There is a warm and welcoming feel to the event. We have always been greeted by one of the organisers and felt welcome.
We paid our £5 which included a sandwich and the entrance fee, then chose a table to sit. We were given a ticket to take to the counter to exchange for our food.
On each table there is a varied menu with sandwiches, toasties, cakes, drinks and snacks. There is always a ‘special’ of the day, which is a well thought out and delicious sandwich. There is a list also of sharing snacks that can be ordered for your table such as popcorn, cheese biscuits and pretzels.
We chose our sandwich, drinks and snack, then went up to the food counter to place the order. That’s it. Then we choose our first boardgame and started playing until our food was very kindly delivered to our table.
The toasties we ordered were tuna mayo and ham and cheese. They arrived beautifully presented with a crisp, fresh side salad and pretzels. The toasties were freshly made to order and arrived lovely and hot. The ham in the ham and cheese toastie was lovely thick and flavoursome deli ham with a good quality cheese. The quality of the ingredients is superb, we always look forward to a Saturday lunch at The Den Cafe.
The drinks are pretty impressive too! I ordered a cola which came in a pint glass and only cost £1. The drink was cold, fizzy and tasted good. The milkshake was very impressive with a large swirl of cream. The photo here is of the milkshake but my son couldn’t wait for me to take a photo, he had eaten most of the cream already.
At first my son was in complete awe of all the games on offer, neatly stacked on the table. Therefore we played a variety of games for about 5 minutes each. However Adrian kindly recommended suitable games, based on games we already liked. We then settled down to play JamSumo. This now is our favourite game we play each time. There are few rules and it’s great for children and adults to play together. On each table are 2 pegs with ‘help’ or ‘join us’ labels on them. I love this idea and we were lucky to be joined by 2 more gamers.
Having more players made the game more interesting and fun, especially when you have to knock out another player, as it adds a whole new dimension to the game. For me, I didn’t want to knock out someone I had just met but on the other hand if I kept knocking my son out, I could see a family feud developing. Once we were in the middle of the game this was no longer a problem. The competitive streak was unleashed in us all and we were out to win. We managed to complete a whole game of JamSumo which wouldn’t have been possible if it was just me and my son.
We then went into play another game recommended by Adrian called Tsuro. Adrian now knows the types of games we like (few rules) and this game was perfect again.
This game is based on the puzzles in children’s magazines where they follow a trail on the page to find the item, like a maze. Each player has 7 square tiles to place on the game board. Each tile has a piece of a pathway and the aim is to follow the pathway and stay on the board.
The competitive element is that another player may be in the pathway and your tile may cause them to go in s different direction. This was easy to follow but also competitive and hugely funny.
The boardgame geek explains it well https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/16992/tsuro
I can highly recommend The Den to everyone. It’s great for families to get out of the house and away from game consoles and electronic devices. It’s also great for adults, groups of friends or you could even come on your own as joining others is the aim of the cafe.
The upside is the chance to play games before you buy them. Games can be expensive and to be able to ‘try before you buy’ is such a good idea. I found the cafe to be very friendly and sociable. It’s a social event where you can have a laugh, meet new people and enjoy a delicious Saturday lunch at such a low cost.
I have bought a few games that we played at the cafe and I know it’s a game we love and will play at home.
The next Den cafe is on the 4th November from 12pm to 5.30pm.
We’ll see you there x