Chit Chat Play

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

This past Saturday, I spent the day with a group of friends/boyfriend all the way in Markham for a board game café. The first time I went, it was a triple date with Markham friends and because we didn't have anything planned after dim sum lunch, one of the guys suggested this place.

I remember the first time upon arriving, I was thinking, "Wtf, where is this café?? All I see is a giant mosque/church/ whatever religious building that was, and the rest are townhouses. Dafuq?" But when you think about it, it's a pretty smart idea. It goes back to my last year in university working on a thesis project for workshop class — I was researching the idea of third places (I might have mentioned this in a previous blog post... I don't quite remember) and one of the things Ray Oldenburg pointed out was that third places should be easy to get to in a neighbourhood. That's why theatres and pubs were within walking distance in Europe, whereas here in North America, most of the time, you would have to drive to get to those kinds of places. And with Chit Chat Play being smack dab in a residential maze, I kind of envy the people that live there and can walk to the café anytime they like.

Another unique aspect is the game selection you can find there. I mean, yes, both Snakes and Lattes and Castle have an abundance of games in their library and I probably haven't heard of 90% of the games either, but I get this feeling that 80% of the games at Chit Chat Play, you wouldn't find in either of the other two places that I just mentioned. At least, that's how I feel. Maybe I should mission to downtown one day for the sole reason of cross comparison of these three cafés, lol.

Anyway, one of the games I was introduced to my first time there, was a fun board game called Survive that I would recommend if you want a new board game to try...

At first glance, those familiar with Catan would probably think this is similar to it. Using hexagon tiles aside, these two games don't have much in common. Well... maybe with the exception of the possibility of ruining friendships (except Survive would probably have a stronger impact). Seriously though, this is a pretty fun game. Basically, you want to get your little people off the central island and into either of the islands in the four corners of the game board. Along the way, you have opportunities to force other players into temporary or permanent alliances with you and/or sabotage them to reduce their chances of winning. And for some of the friends I have, just the ability to sabotage other people's plans in a board game makes their day completely *coughcough*

Sadly, I failed as a photographer both times I was there, as I didn't really take pictures of other board games or more of the interior. What I can tell you though, is that, again, unlike S&L and Castle, CCP doesn't really offer food. They offer gelato, which is pretty nifty, but you would most certainly need to leave to aid your stomach if dinner time was nearing. Another thing about CCP is that they offer mostly tea and coffee. And when I say tea, I mean the variety isn't English tea, green tea or black tea. I mean flavors such as Peach Oolong, Raspberry Green Tea, White Gingseng Detox, etc, etc. They are serious about their tea, which is something I greatly appreciate. When they first serve the tea, they provide you with a tea cup, a separate transparent teapot (you can see what the ingredients are inside) and a timer.

"What? Why does that even matter?"

They provide a timer with a time set for you so that when it beeps at zero, that would be the optimal time to pour out your tea and drink it. They know how long it takes for the ingredients to steep properly, giving the best potential of taste. That's awesome!

 I mean, ya, they could have just steeped it themselves (then again, they don't have a huge counter so having all those tea cups and teapots may cause problems) and there would be less of a hassle for the visitors/players to find room when they're preoccupied by their board games, but *shrugs* it's still a cool experience, and that's what makes CCP all the more different right?

Granted, I'm not much of a coffee drinker so I can't tell you how good their coffee is, sorry :P

Oh and one final thing — the board games there are at a pretty reasonable price, if you're looking to start your board game collection. My jaw dropped when I discovered that you could buy Catan (the basic original set) for only $29.95, not including tax. When I was at Chapters or Snakes and Lattes, that same game was $49.95. You essentially save $20. And sure, I could buy Catan on Amazon for the same price, but I would also have to account for shipping, so in conclusion, buying it at CCP was a good choice.

I know I went this past weekend, but I would be excited to go again just to try out more board games I have not heard about, especially when I have a friend who frequents there and could tell me some nifty recommendations :P

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