Nov 12, 2014

[Gaming] Ludo: Boardgame Bar & Cafe

It is interesting to note the recent rise in popular being experienced by board games and other tabletop gaming activities. I can't quite explain what has happened - perhaps web shows like Tabletop have helped increase awareness and to some extent exposure to new board games or even new business ventures like the Gaming Library, that have made it a heck of a lot easier to get some of the new board games locally. Whatever it is, there's definitely a growing market for board game related entertainment.

Enter Ludo: Boardgame Bar & Cafe, which I think has pretty much set the gold standard for board game cafes thus far. At first I was pretty worried that Ludo might not do well, but it seems that we've been quickly proven wrong. The only problem with the place that I can think of is that it's become really, really popular and getting a table can be a challenge, especially during holidays and weekends. And that's not too bad a problem to have at all.

Ludo: Boardgame Bar & Cafe is located close to the corner of Sct. Fuentebella and Sct. Torillo in Quezon City. It's open every day of the week, although on week days then tend to open after 04:00pm while they open as early as 12:00pm on weekends. The term Ludo is roughly Latin for "I play" - which is exactly what folks can do while there. They do take reservations either through their Facebook page or you can call +63.920.921.8482.

Ludo currently has a games library of roughly 600 games for patrons to play. The only rule is for everyone at the table to order something, and then you get access to the games. There are no separate fees just to play nor are there rental fees per game. Just buying a single meal will allow you to stay for as long as you guys want. The food options at Ludo are a mix of Japanese meals like Wasabi-flavored Gyoza or topped rice bowls.

Beyond the meals though, Ludo has an interesting mix of drinks to buy while you're there to keep you sated as well. Admittedly they seem a bit pricey, but you could totally get by one one of their milkshakes instead of eating something while you're there. The costs of pretty much everything on the menu help offset the fact that you'll probably stay there for a few hours. And that seems to be the smartest way to maintain a decent revenue stream when your patrons might very possibly stay there 3-4 hours on average.

In terms of the game library, they have a pretty excellent collection that goes beyond the sort of board games most people think of like Monopoly or Sorry. Instead you have more recent games of interest such as Takenoko, Shadows Over Camelot, Last Night on Earth, and many, many more. Given the diversity of their library, I have to admit that Tobie and I tend to visit to test out new games that we're considering buying - it's a "safer" way to do so since the only real way to determine the value of a board game is to actually play it. Beyond that, Ludo is also a great option if you don't have a venue to host game sessions with larger groups of friends - but do try to make a reservation ahead of time.

Ludo also carries games for sale, which are separate from the shared gaming library. You can see the inventory in-store, or you can keep up with updates over on Facebook. They're pretty responsive over social media so it's definitely a page worth actively following.

Beyond just being a gaming venue, Ludo also makes sure to celebrate various geeky events and they tend to go all-out in terms of decorations, themed drinks and dishes, and even various events as well. In recent memory they celebrated the 75th anniversary of Batman, Gary Gygax Day, and various Doctor Who-related events. And they had a pretty rocking Halloween costume party complete with a massive Werewolf game.

And these are just a few great reasons of what makes Ludo such a fun place to visit. If you've ever been curious about how much board games have changed since we were kids or you're in search of new activities to share with your friends, Ludo is definitely a good option for you to explore. Block out a fair amount of time before you go since the hours will pass by pretty quickly as you get into the games. And if you don't know where to start, the staff will help you pick possible games to try out first or even explain the rules for some of the more complex ones.

Ludo: Boardgame Bar & Cafe is one of the best (if not the best) gaming experiences in Metro Manila that caters to both the serious gaming enthusiast to the curious casual player who is just starting to get into the hobby. With luck we might see more branches of Ludo in the future or at least a significant expansion to help the place increase its capacity. Here's to supporting more gamers!

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