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  • Writer's pictureKelly


Updated: Feb 26, 2020

He’d mentioned on the phone that he enjoyed old fashioned games so we decided to go to Draughts in Haggerston, allegedly London’s first board game cafe. I arrived just before him and watched him walk into the geek-fest cafe. He sidled up and awkwardly side-hugged me before nervously and repeatedly asking if I wanted a drink before he’d even taken off his coat.

I suggested a game of Dobble thinking it would help calm his nerves. This showed his competitive side and, although he lost the first game, by the end of it he was much more relaxed and I asked him about his work as he’d never mentioned it before. I soon found out why: he runs all the crematoriums and cemeteries in the county. He then told me in detail about how and why he would like to be cremated.

We ordered a supper of smashed avocado and smoked salmon followed by salted caramel brownies, and then went up to the board game library area to choose a game each which we joking said would provide insight into our personalities. It was a difficult job sifting through the piles of games although the cafe does categorise them to help the novices like us.

Photo credit: Rob Greig

We returned to our specially designed board-game table to present our choices. He went first and explained he had chosen a geography-based strategy game centred in Africa where players have to carefully choose 10 days of travel throughout the continent taking into account distance and location. As he was talking I was already starting to regret my decision. Once he had finished explaining the rules he looked at me expectantly. I reluctantly proffered forth my selection: a strategy game (of sorts) based on coordination and dexterity, skill and a steady hand whereby you take turns trying to balance little plastic chairs into a tower.

In hindsight, Stack ‘Em probably didn’t showcase the depth of my character very well.

The hairy hobbit-man playing Cards Against Humanity with his hairy goblin-friends on the next table certainly was not impressed; he glared at me each time I knocked over my plastic furniture column.

4 February 2017

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