The Treehouse - board game cafe

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Re: The Treehouse - board game cafe

Post  Meurig on Sat 22 Jul 2017, 13:44

Oh, and the Derby club nights get free access to the upstairs.

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Re: The Treehouse - board game cafe

Post  Kes on Sat 22 Jul 2017, 15:34

You're totally right Aneurin, that did sound super negative!
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Re: The Treehouse - board game cafe

Post  karl_b on Sat 22 Jul 2017, 17:45

Yup, well done on pissing on this thread's chips.
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Re: The Treehouse - board game cafe

Post  Aneurin on Sat 22 Jul 2017, 18:25

Just voicing my thoughts on it... and yes this is all my own opinion. Isn't that what a forum is for? I know my stand will be different to others and that's fine. For all the positive 'we love it' people there will be negative 'not convinced' people and they shouldn't be ignored. As they are potential business.

I'm probably not the only one thinking this...

Putting the table charge against food/drinks orders should be seriously considered. This could even be on a per hour basis. Could help drag miserable old gits like me with their sprogs in on a weekend afternoon.
Especially if the Derby model (some free tables) Meurig mentions isn't possible.

How does your friend in Hull do it? Any free afternoons? Charges at busy times etc?
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Re: The Treehouse - board game cafe

Post  Jamie on Sun 23 Jul 2017, 19:29

Seemed expensive to me too.

If you can get people to engage with your business at that level of pricing Andy, then absolutely you should, focus on those people, not the skinflints of the world like me and mr grumpy bum! Shocked

Hope it all works out for hou though, good luck! Smile
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Re: The Treehouse - board game cafe

Post  Ste on Mon 24 Jul 2017, 12:32

Gotta agree with Aneurin, these prices don't represent good value for me. I'd sooner put the money towards buying a game and inviting my friends over to play. That's just me though, I'm currently the only earner in our household so we have to be a lot more careful with money.
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Re: The Treehouse - board game cafe

Post  Ianm on Mon 24 Jul 2017, 15:19

I was chatting with my partner about the price for the cafe entrance fee. And she suggested a token scheme.
For your £5 you get 5 tree house tokens. Worth £5 redeemed against cafe products/ sessions. So your session costs a quid but gives £4 extra back against drinks food etc. Or 2 tokens an adult 1token per child per session. Tokens could carry over to future sessions. If you don't buy any food etc.
Would need some refining and thought but would be a way of guaranteed income from some of the "tighter" folk and investment into the business by repeat visits etc
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Re: The Treehouse - board game cafe

Post  DaveB on Tue 25 Jul 2017, 09:58

While Aneurin is perhaps a little blunt in his comments I do feel he's making good points - I also haven't backed and for similar reasons. In addition to the cost the location is pretty inconvenient relative to where I (and he, for that matter) live and I have my doubts about parking at the site - especially on match days!

I'm really not a fan of the idea of paying a cover charge for tables but I do understand the need to monetise those that are occupying tables but aren't buying food and drink - but it does feel like you'll be double-dipping a bit on the people that *do* put money behind the counter - unless either you're planning to sell food and drink at cost or there would be some form of consideration in cover charge based on table spend behind the bar?

I realise that we're very lucky (and a bit spoilt) that we have free access to two seperate pubs to play in, but the fact is we do and that colours my thinking significantly. I guess one of your big value-adds is the good-sized game library to choose from but again for me that doesn't offer much appeal since I don't have time to play the stuff I have already! Smile

As I write this I'm coming to the conclusion that I'm really not your target market here! I really hope you find your market and it works out for you - anything that brings more gamers into the hobby is a good thing IMHO.



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Re: The Treehouse - board game cafe

Post  Kes on Tue 25 Jul 2017, 10:07

I agree with Dave. The important thing to remember is that we are spoilt and not really the target audience. They've been doing successful evenings, charging £12.50 a session. I think most of us would maybe pop down once or twice to check it out but it's really not exactly for us. I'm sure they'll tweak the method depending on its success but this model has been tried and tested successfully elsewhere, they aren't coming up with it out of the blue.
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Re: The Treehouse - board game cafe

Post  Aneurin on Tue 25 Jul 2017, 10:32

Kes wrote:I agree with Dave. The important thing to remember is that we are spoilt and not really the target audience. They've been doing successful evenings, charging £12.50 a session. I think most of us would maybe pop down once or twice to check it out but it's really not exactly for us. I'm sure they'll tweak the method depending on its success but this model has been tried and tested successfully elsewhere, they aren't coming up with it out of the blue.

Yes I forgot to add this point in my original moan - which is probably why it upset a few - the fact that we aren't really the target audience means that we shouldn't really be considering the Indio-go-go rewards as prizes... But happy to slog it out
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Re: The Treehouse - board game cafe

Post  psychomansam on Tue 25 Jul 2017, 17:53

Obviously I disagree re rewards, but it's not me that holds the purse strings, so there you go.

As you say, there's a huge market of people for whom the games library and guidance on how to play is a really good value bit of entertainment. Half the price of the cinema, a fifth the price of an escape room. For those of us who have played hundreds of games and own dozens at least, that's not such a novelty, especially with friends who own and explain other games. But, let's remember, we're far from the average punter.

I'm very happy to back them though - great for raising the profile of gaming, and I'm hoping it'll be a good place to take some slightly less geeky friends - some of those who wouldn't come to a club night, but might play a game after dinner. That, and it'll just make a convenient meeting place for certain games, and a break from playing at home.

Their up front prices aren't exactly low, and I'd suggest one token per session for a quid off might be a good idea. I'm aware this does come down to household income/outgoings as well. I've been skint plenty, but I'm not these days - and no kids yet - so it's not such a major factor right now.

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Re: The Treehouse - board game cafe

Post  AndyH on Tue 25 Jul 2017, 21:58

Hey everyone, really interesting to see all the views on here. It’s really helpful for us to hear both sides of the debate so don’t hold back on our account  Wink

One or two points to clarify first of all: the cover charge will be for an unlimited period at quiet times or up to four hours if people are waiting. Until 7pm on weekdays there’ll also be the option of visiting without paying the cover charge if you’re not playing, which could e.g. let parents bring their kids after school and chat while they play, or let people who are curious just pop in and see what it’s all about. We’ve been to Ludorati who have a separate area with free-to-play games, but the selection isn’t great and people that aren’t paying for a table are cordoned off from the rest of the café – it didn’t feel great. It sounds like the guys in Derby might be managing this a bit better though.

Re: the value for money point, we’re aware the café won’t represent great value for everyone, so we’re not too shocked by some of the views expressed. You guys already have a great space to play where you can play for free, and trying to come up with a workable business model that can rival that is tricky. The research we’ve done into the experiences of the UK’s other cafes has indicated that customers in a board game café will spend less per hour than they will elsewhere - in a café most people will only usually stay for an hour or so, while in a pub people will typically buy a refill when their glass is empty. We want to be able to welcome people who want to come for four hours and only buy a pot of tea, without having to keep pestering them to order something else. Hence, the cover charge.

We’ve recently found ourselves chatting separately to two big board gamers who’ve lived in Oxford since Thirsty Meeples opened in 2012. Of the two of them, one admitted that she maybe only drops in once or twice a year when she has visitors and wants to show them the sites, because for her it isn’t good value as she has plenty of games and space to play them at home. The other said that he finds himself in there ‘far too often’ because it’s a nice place to be and people bring you snacks. We hope that at least some of you will fall into the latter category, but we totally understand if others of you are more like the first person (or don’t fancy it at all).

Re: rewards for the Christmas party, I’m sure we’d be able to donate something along the lines of the campaign perks – we can talk about it nearer the time if you’d be interested.

So yeah, thanks for the feedback, please do keep it coming, and it’d be great to hear about anything else we could do that might make you want to visit us.
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Re: The Treehouse - board game cafe

Post  AndyH on Fri 28 Jul 2017, 14:58

Sam, thanks for all the suggestions
psychomansam wrote:I've been using Taluva recently as a great game for both gateway and more experienced gamers
I didn't know it, but it sounds perfect, and could probably make it onto the list on looks alone.
Samurai is nice
It's on the list!
And if you ever want any suggestions for abstracts...
Absolutley - Yinsh and Onitama are on the list to get, and we have a few others already, but its not an area I know a huge amount about - please suggest away!
a cheap/old tablet set up with some quick 'how to play' vids for some of the games. Could be something e.g. for if you get busy, or just for people to kill some time while waiting for friends.
When you add in the increasing number of games which need/benefit from a tablet, this is definitely something we'll need to investigate to see what could work in the cafe setting.
Beer advice: if I can't smell the hops from a nautical mile away I'm not interested.
Understood - we're looking to have a high quality range, with local and not-so-local guests, including beers you could certainly describe as 'big'.
Stock Birdhouse teas please
Again we'd like to go local, and Birdhouse is an option - it's good to hear a favourable review.
Good bagging can make some games a lot more pleasant to play. So can printed out crib cards
Agree on both counts - we'll assess each game and see what we can do to make set-up/pack-up as quick and painless as possible. The wealth of player aids etc. on BGG and beyond certianly seems like a resource that would be worth using, something we're definitely looking into.
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Re: The Treehouse - board game cafe

Post  psychomansam on Sun 30 Jul 2017, 15:38

On abstracts, I might suggest that Tzaar is more beginner friendly than Yinsh. Zertz too. All part of the same series.

Hive is a must. Pocket Hive is a good value option as includes some expansions.

Kamisado is a really good looking fun abstract which takes 1 min to explain. Simple but with puzzly depth.

I got a crappy version of Go for £7 from eBay. It does the job!
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Re: The Treehouse - board game cafe

Post  RikTheChief on Wed 27 Sep 2017, 16:23

Apparently there was something on the radio about Treehouse today, anybody any idea what programme it was on or what station?
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Re: The Treehouse - board game cafe

Post  Scott_Fryer on Wed 27 Sep 2017, 16:55

RikTheChief wrote:Apparently there was something on the radio about Treehouse today, anybody any idea what programme it was on or what station?

BBC Radio Sheffield this morning, somewhere between 8 and 8.30 I'd think, I arrived at work before the piece came on, though I caught the previews mentioning popping in for a game of monopoly or articulate etc...
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Re: The Treehouse - board game cafe

Post  RikTheChief on Wed 27 Sep 2017, 22:39

Scott_Fryer wrote:
RikTheChief wrote:Apparently there was something on the radio about Treehouse today, anybody any idea what programme it was on or what station?

BBC Radio Sheffield this morning, somewhere between 8 and 8.30 I'd think, I arrived at work before the piece came on, though I caught the previews mentioning popping in for a game of monopoly or articulate etc...

Found it!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05f8n81#play

Starts at 1:40.  Good job by Ruth and Andy to try and describe some better games than "monopoly" and "battleships"!
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Re: The Treehouse - board game cafe

Post  AndyH on Mon 02 Oct 2017, 20:30

RikTheChief wrote:Good job by Ruth and Andy to try and describe some better games than "monopoly" and "battleships"!

Cheers - a very surreal experience, but it was great they wanted to come down and talk to us.

Didn't really know it was going to be live until a few minutes before it started - cue wobbly legs!
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Re: The Treehouse - board game cafe

Post  karl_b on Sun 12 Nov 2017, 09:04

I went last night for the first time with Jess and some friends who are just getting in to the hobby. It was great!

The space is fantastic, great selection of games, drinks (of all kinds) and cakes and the staff are really knowledgeable and helpful. It's not just a place to go for games either, it'd be just a nice place to hang out.

Ruth/Andy - you should be very proud and I'll let you know about organising that work event.

Good work.
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Re: The Treehouse - board game cafe

Post  Samuel_C on Sun 12 Nov 2017, 22:08

karl_b wrote:The space is fantastic, great selection of games, drinks (of all kinds) and cakes and the staff are really knowledgeable and helpful. It's not just a place to go for games either, it'd be just a nice place to hang out.
I was also there for the first time yesterday and completely agree. I ended up staying for over 8 hours, and could happily have stayed longer - the atmosphere was amazing and the staff were incredibly friendly; in fact they were some of the friendliest staff I've ever encountered pretty much anywhere! Admittedly their need to explain games/make suggestions does factor into that of course, but their enthusiasm and willingness to help you play the games and enjoy being there was nevertheless top notch.

Thoroughly enjoyed my time, can't wait to go again! Andy/Ruth - keep it up!
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