All A-Board! Review: Board @ Exeter

Board is a café-bar located on Exeter’s South Street, yet it offers much more than your usual bar: specialising in a variety of board games. On 13th February 2018, I went along to see if it was worth a recommendation.

Upon entering Board, I was immediately greeted by warm and friendly staff who were quick to explain the structure. Essentially, you take a seat, order your drinks and then are free to browse the vast collection of board games they have, and play until your heart’s content. The admission fee is £4 for students, £5 for adults, £3.50 for children and £3 for members, which I was somewhat sceptical about upon entrance. After all, one usually is allowed entrance into a restaurant for no fee, however, the great amount of board games available quickly made up for the entry cost.

The restaurant is set up with American diner-style booths, all bright blue to match the colour scheme of the bar. This works perfectly for maintaining a sociable but competitive structure for games with your fellow companions. The majority of the board games are situated at the back of the restaurant and categorised into helpful genres, such as party games and strategy. Many of your classic board games are there, but what I was particularly impressed with was the variety of new games that were completely unfamiliar to me. Other games are also sprinkled across the main body of the restaurant, offering plenty of variety for whatever you fancy playing. The great variety of games meant that the bar appeals to a great amount of people, and it works regardless of the quantity there are of the group. During my visit, there were large groups taking up multiple tables, but an with equal amount of couples. Equally, there is a range of games no requiring a specific amount of people to play, meaning it can work for the small and big numbers of people as well.

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After ordering our drinks, a member of staff got us started with a game called Geistes Blitz. They kindly explained the rules to us, which was valuable as it probably would have taken my friend and I a lot longer to have worked it out independently. The game was essentially a German variation of snap, where each of us would take turns to draw cards which would have two images in different colours. The game also came with various objects and if the pictures on the card did not match the object in both matter and colour, the first person to pick up the other option would win the card. It sounded pretty simple but took almost no time for the pair of us to become completely enthralled by the game.

In between this game, we placed an identical order of the Spicy Fried Chicken Burger and chips. The menu offered plenty of alternatives, including vegetarian and vegan options. A particular strength of the menu was the ‘snack’ section, such as popcorn and sweets which suit the gaming environment perfectly. Similarly, the selection of drinks was equally appetising, offering plenty of milkshakes and soft drinks, in addition to plenty of alcoholic beverages. I had a raspberry and orange cider which was delicious, and my friend enjoyed her elderflower cider.

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After finishing our game of Geistes Blitz, sadly I was robbed of a victory, I went to browse the selection of games. After being tempted by a Pictionary type version of Cards Against Humanity, a member of staff helped me settle on a game called, Dragonwood. She then helped us set the game up and explained the rules of it to us. This game was even more competitive and was equally enjoyable but was also simple to get the hang of. It was valuable to have the staff helping us make selections as there was such a wide range of options available, it would have been difficult to make a decision without some guidance. The staff were also very kind and chirpy, making the whole experience a very positive one.

I left the restaurant having not only had a great evening, with excellent food and drink, but also had a brilliant time playing board games, something I rarely do. In an era so caught up with technology and social media, it was wonderful to have an evening enjoying a friend’s company whilst playing ludicrous but hilarious games.

– by Francesca Getty

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