Welcome to my post on Croydon’s best Board Games Cafe, The Ludoquist!
Find out what games we played and what we thought of the food and the prices!
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The walls are lined floor to ceiling with all the best games, old and new, light through to heavy, abstract through to immersive roleplay and everything in between. The prices are very reasonable and the food is great! Ludoquist caters for kids, couples, serious gamers, stag and hen dos, families, trading card fanatics and roleplaying geeks!
How to Get There
The best thing about Ludoquist* is that it’s very easy to find. They are at 63-67 High Street, Croydon, on loads of bus routes (all roads lead to Croydon after all!) and accessible from any of the Croydon train stations.
The best thing about Ludoquist is the venue! Situated on a corner, The Ludoquist is very bright with lots of natural light and big rustic tables to play your games on. It is very welcoming and the staff are very helpful.
The owners have carefully laid out the games with lighter games at the front and the most complicated games at the back so it is easy to find the kind of games to suit you. Most of the space is given over to tables and shelves of playable games, but they also have a retail section where they sell a decent selection of games, cards and accessories.
The best thing about Ludoquist is the menu! They serve a decent range of snacks, including sweets, chocolate, olives and crisps, and full meals of pizza, pannini and curry, as well as deserts. They cater for veggies, vegans and gluten free diets as well. Prices are reasonable and I can highly recommend the pizzas which are well-made and tasty!
The best thing about Ludoquist is the games! They have literally tons of games. As they focus on the in-store gaming experience, they have dedicated over 60% of the space to playing or shelving games. The rest is the counter/kitchen and the shop. They don’t have every game under the sun, but they come close!
I won’t bother to list all the games they have, but if you can think of it, they probably have it, and if they don’t, they will have something very similar! They also have lots of the expansions for many of the games they have so you can keep on coming back to play your favorites.
It’s a great place to try-before-you-buy if you’re thinking of picking up a game or to try out an expansion for a game you already have. You can pop in to play some quick games before a night out or, as we did, book a table for an all-day session to get some serious games to the table!
The best thing about Ludoquist is the regular events! They have several regular events including board games socials on Mondays and Wednesdays and a specific ‘new-to-gaming’ meetup on Thursdays.
In addition to this they have drop-in DnD on Tuesdays, as well as Arkham Horror, Marvel Champions and Lord of the Rings card games meetups every week – check their website for further info!
What we played
So myself and my friend, Zein, from my weekly DnD group, met up at 11 AM for a full day of gaming. We wanted to start with something heavy that neither of had played before so we settled on Terraforming Mars. We followed this with Lords of Waterdeep which took us into the early evening.
At this point another friend joined us and the beers began to flow and we tried out some lighter games. We played Dice Throne, Mob Sitters and Riff Raff, so our journey went from the very serious to the very silly over our 12 hour stint!
Read on to find out more about Terraforming Mars – I will be posting separately about the other games we played, so watch this space!
No. of players: 1-5
Designers: Jacob Fryxelius
Artist: Isaac Fryxelius
Time: 120 mins
Terraforming Mars has had a lot of hype around it over the last few years and it was a game that I hadn’t played yet so I was eager to give it a shot. It is definitely on the more heavy-weight end of the spectrum but, actually once we had got our heads around the rules, the game play flows nice and smoothly.
The game is set in a Utopian future where a benevolent World Government is intent on human expansion through the solar system. The aim of the game is to win the most victory points (measured by your Terraform Rating) by terraforming the planet and making it ready for human habitation.
Each player chooses a starting corporation which gives a slightly asymmetric game play. I played as Credicor, basically a wealthy bank, which means I started with more than the average in terms of cash and my friend, Zein chose Ecoline allowing him to build greenery at a reduced cost.
There are a dozen corporations to choose from which really makes the game interesting from the get-go and means that there is a lot pulling you back in for more plays. Each corporation will have its optimal strategy and it would be fun to play each one to see what they’re like.
There are several elements in the game to keep your eye on which keep you engaged the whole way through. Building greenery will increase the oxygen level and producing heat raises the global temperature. Both of these moves are crucial in transforming Mars into a place where humans can live, and both actions increase your Terraform Rating.
Each round players have the option of buying cards drawn from the deck which allow them to build infrastructure, create cities, increase production of resources and many other things which will help you build up your economy. As you develop the surface of the planet you will be placing tiles representing forests, cities and oceans and there is a fair amount of tactics in where you choose to develop. Building next to oceans awards you points and you gain points for every greenery tile adjacent to each of your cities at the end.
As you progress you will be producing Steel, Titanium, Plants, Energy and Heat as well as keeping track of your MegaCredits. The player boards are clearly laid out with sections for each resource.
Make sure you take advantage of the Standard Projects. These are actions which are available to any player on their turn as long as they have the cash to complete it. Standard Projects include building a city, placing greenery and placing an ocean tile.
Pay attention to the Milestones and Awards. These are highly tactical elements of the game which you don’t want to miss out on. There are a limited number of each so be sure to claim yours as early as you can.
The Milestones are available to anyone who reaches them first and represent titles for successful corporations. They include Terraformer available to anyone with a Terraform Rating (TR) of 35 or higher, Mayor, for owning at least three cities and Gardener for having placed at least three greenery tiles.
The Awards are even more tactical; they are essentially a gamble. Any player can Fund an Award, but only three Awards can be Funded per game. Funding an Award does not guarantee that the funder will claim the award at the end, so you need to be pretty confident, at the time of funding, that you will win it come the end of the game.
Awards include Landlord, awarded to the player with the most tiles in play, Banker, having the highest MegaCredit production, and Scientist, which goes to the player with the most cards with the ‘Science’ tag on. Both Milestones and Awards are an important source of TR points for the end game, so don’t let your opponent nab them all!
There is one little rule which we got wrong during our play and which, after some research, I discovered that lots of other people make too! This section of the rules, I think needs to be clearer. The section I’ve highlighted states that in each generation, every player can have as many turns as they like. You get up to two actions per turn before play passes to the right, but when everyone has had a turn you can opt to take another turn or pass, and this keeps going round till everyone passes.
We didn’t quite get this, so we just had two turns each per generation. It didn’t break the game, but it did mean that we ended up racing through the generations and building up a lot of resources instead of spending them. Not a disaster, but I wanted to let people know as apparently a lot of first timers make this mistake!
We had a fab time playing Terraforming Mars! I would highly recommend it to anyone who likes a tactical game of resource management. It is competitive but there is not a lot of direct conflict between the players, it is more of a race to see who can terraform the most efficiently.
We were also luckily enough to play with the 3D tiles and wooden boards, which although not essential, just make the game the look amazing! If you haven’t played Terraforming Mars yet and you like the idea of a longer, in-depth gaming experience, then you won’t be disappointed!
So Terraforming Mars was a big hit for us and I can now see what all the hype was about!
Watch this space as I will be posting about the other games we played, including Lords of Waterdeep very soon!
Let us know in the comments below if you’ve played Terraforming Mars and what you thought of it or if you’ve been to The Ludoquist.
I’d like to thanks the staff at The Ludoquist for being so accomodating and I would urge anyone to pop in for a visit if you’re in the area!
And as always, thanks for reading!
*The best thing about this post is that I have shamelessly stolen a catch phrase from the legend that is Bardic Broadcasts! If you haven’t seen his review of my childhood favorite, Heroquest, I urge you to do so now! It is hands-down the best review of any board game ever!