The cafe has game gurus who explain games from scratch and let your group play all day for the price of Rs 299 per person.

From Scrabble to Abyss you can play 700 board games at this Hyderabad cafe
news Board games Thursday, August 02, 2018 - 15:08

When was the last time you dusted your old Snakes and Ladders board and played a game with your family before bedtime? Whisper slow prayers so that you do not end up in the mouth of the snake that awaits you just a block away from the winning mark? Cry foul over manipulated dice moves, squabble and cheat each other while jumping around the squares?

If you still treasure your Ludo and Monopoly boards over scratching your smartphone screens slicing virtual fruits, this new board game café in Hyderabad, which is supposedly India’s largest, is going to be your new adda.

Located at a rather inconspicuous location in Jubilee Hills, Get On Board Cafe has been around for about 6 months and lets you and your squad have fun over board games. But if you still cherish your good old Ludo or Snakes and Ladders, this board game café definitely has something new in store for you.

The café houses more than 700 board games, a majority of which are from the personal collection of its owners, Sireesha and Bhujang. You can choose, strategise and laugh over games, many of which you might not have heard till date. From popular games like Scrabble and (Game of Thrones themed) Monopoly to award-winning games like Ticket to Ride, as well as the smallest and the largest board games in the world — they have it all.

Cleopatra, Abyss, Five Tribes, Keltis, Montego Bay, Codenames and Puerto Rico are some of the board games that might make the Snakes and Ladders generation slightly uncomfortable, but do not worry. This café does not leave you to learn the game all by yourself. They have game gurus who explain the game from scratch and let your group play all day for the price of Rs 299 per person.

Speaking to TNM, owner Sireesha Behara says that around 650 of the 700 board games available in the café are part of the couple’s personal collection. “These games were collected over a period of 15 years that we spent in the US and France. Because of the extreme weather conditions, we started piling our shelves with board games to kill time. And in 15 years, we had a game room where we spent our Saturdays and Sundays with our friends who had by then become board game maniacs like us.”

Sireesha says that the games in the café are arranged according to increasing levels of difficulty, on six different shelves. “There are six levels that we have categorised the games into. Whenever a group comes in, we try to gauge their level of interest and suggest games from amongst the most basic ones called the ‘Getaway games’.”

Getaway games are like ice-breakers that help to set the mood. Some of the popular games in the category include Lost Vegas, Sequence, Dragonwood and For Sale. Both Sireesha and Bhujang are masters at playing all the 700 games available in the café, including the smallest board game in the world, Sly, to the largest called The Market of Alturien.

“The next three levels are categorised as light strategy, medium strategy and heavy strategy games. By the time one reaches the heavy strategy category, they would not need any game guru to explain the game. Players become efficient enough to guide themselves through the game with the help of the rules. Captain Sonar, Catan, Abyss and Small World are some of the games that are in huge demand. There are more than a hundred games in the café that people are yet to lay their hands on,” Sireesha adds.

The fifth category is called dexterity games. These games require extensive movement of hands and sharpness of your five senses. “Games like Rings up and Jungle Speed require the coordination of hand movements with your five mortar senses. These are games where you can hone your balancing skills and may require you to pull gears and totems,” says Sireesha.

The sixth category includes games that give work for your brain. They are mostly IQ and word related games like Scrabble, Puerto Rico or Pandemic.

The café has 10 tables and some plush cushions spread on the floor to play bigger board games, where you can also host kitty parties, birthday parties and reunions too. Also, Get On Board is the only place where you can find all 15 versions of the award-winning game Ticket to Ride under one roof.

“A café exclusively for board games was Bhujang’s brain child. Though we were sceptical of its success initially, in a matter of 30 days people started flooding the café so much so that we run the café 365 days now, without any break. People have got so addicted to the games here that many of them even cancel their movie and pub outings and continue playing till 11 in the night,” Sireesha says.

Bhujang is an IT professional while Sireesha worked as an IQ enhancer in France. The couple is now planning to open another board game café at the Jubilee Hills which would be the world’s first rooftop café.

“We conduct stress buster programs at IT companies and have also begun the Get On Board portable service where game gurus visit your homes to teach groups of more than 10 members. These games have become so popular that we now get orders to host game events at sangeets and shaadis too,” Sireesha chuckles.