Samedi – nous avons voyage “Draughts Café” à Haggeston. We’ve been meaning to head on down since its opening in November and Saturday seemed just a good a day as any. Although there was a bit of mumbling about the proposed start time of 12, I pointed out that the online gushings seem to suggest that it gets very full very quickly. We nabbed our table and remained there for almost six hours…though I didn’t gloat. What did we play…um – started off with King of New York (I won) which wasn’t as immediately picked up as fast as King of Tokyo, then moved onto Street Fighter the Card Game (similar to Dominion), Star Trek Catan (I won easily as I adjusted quickest) and finally Rivet Wars Eastern Front (a Dieselpunk WW1 game of tactics).

So the venue itself – very easy to get to from Haggeston station, nice and spacious, proper gaming tables, easily accessible games both for play and for purchase, sensibly sited bar and unobtrusive. My main gripe was the lighting which was severely lacking in the evening and some games were harder to play in the semi-darkness. If you were at the table by the main door, cold but well lit. Tables were quite close together and as the day went on with people getting slowly drunker and drunker, noise became a bit of an issue – for me, at least.

I’m not sure quite how many games there were – 200 + with about twenty different titles for sale. But they were organised well and the members of staff seemed to know their stuff in helping the various hipsters choose easier games to suit their tastes. And the ones on the counter were very affable. Food was despatched quickly, sammiches were nice, cake was good and the chocolate eggs were a nice touch. I know it’s early days but as the range is reasonably limited, if one could pay corkage on alcohol – or at least alcohol that the café doesn’t sell – I think that’d help boost business.

For five/six hours gaming, I spent about £35 – £5 on the “all day play games charge” which was fair enough, £10 on food and £25 on one round of drinks plus Dutch. Not too bad, all in all. If you get there early, you’ll probably be on the tea and coffee before graduating to the liquor which balances out costs a little. Cash flow is a little problematic – you can set up a tab and then settle up; Haggeston is strangely devoid of an ATM surplus so keep a careful eye on things. Otherwise it’s well worth the visit. Get there early, cannot stress that enough.

Brussels Sunday through Tuesday. Drank two bottles of Retsina on the Sunday + gawd knows how many beers. Regretted it Monday.

Found a suitable Raclette Grill at Media Markt though, back next week and will nab it when I don’t have a huge suitcase sweeping all behind me. Brussels Xmas market was a bit disappointing this year, it’s like the Southbank offering; not really trying all that hard. But the usual chocolatier/truffle maker was there by the church so paid him a visit. C’est tout.