A Hidden Gem
Nestled snuggly on 18 Roeland Street in Cape Town, ideally placed across the road from a great craft beer bottle store, The Big Box Café is one of the hidden treasures of Cape Town. The shop is aptly named, with the term “café” coming from the French for coffee and the term “big box” coming from the English for big box. The Big Box Café provides both amazing coffee and a dazzling assortment of board games to try out and buy, as well as their Nutella pancakes, which make this venue a must-visit for everyone from the newbie looking for help and suggestions to the experienced fanatic looking for new rivals to compete against.
Opened in 2009 by Eric and Emilie, it was modelled after La Grosse Boite, a board game café in the coastal city of La Rochelle in France. They are highly passionate about the industry and the scene and not only do they import a large portion of games, but 5% of every board game sale goes towards their social development programme, allowing them to purchase games for schools and orphanages.
The selection of games is really staggering and can be intimidating, but thankfully the Games Master, Scot, is on hand to help with suggestions, tutorials, setting up games with other players and so on. He’s highly knowledgeable and just as passionate as you would expect. The staff are friendly and attentive without being invasive and you never feel rushed or harried.
The Cards You’re Dealt
The Big Box Café is also developing their own version of Cards Against Humanity, called Cards Against South Africa. Calvin and I had a chance to go through one of the demo decks and we were smitten. We can’t wait to take that one back to our group once it’s released! The version we saw was still an initial draft. We were assured that the edition they are currently working on will be full of even more South Africanisms. It is probably just as SFW as the original CAH so, you know, best read the cards first before playing with your mom.
All in all, I cannot recommend The Big Box Café highly enough. Swing by, grab a coffee and a copy of Wazabi and, who knows, maybe I’ll see you there for a game.