strategy, laughs, and lattes: what to expect at a tabletop sl meetup

Jayath smiling
By Jayath De Silva
3rd April 2024
A bunch of friends playing QE the board game

What’s the best way to spend a Sunday? There are the usual options of going out, maybe having a bit of food at a café, meeting with friends and having a laugh before you steel yourself for the return to the office on Monday. But what if I told you that you could do all that and more, while incorporating board games into the mix? Tabletop Sri Lanka promises just that with their fortnightly meetups.

Every Sunday afternoon, board gamers of all kinds converge at Brew 1867 by Dilmah on Flower Road to enjoy a day full of strategy, laughs and lattes.

Now if you are still on the fence about attending one of these fortnightly meetups or unfamiliar with what they are like and how they go, this article is here to help you out! Hopefully it will be the falling domino that convinces you to add a novel experience to your Sundays.

When do meetings happen?

Tabletop Sri Lanka usually has meetings every other Sunday afternoon from 1.30 to 7.30 PM at the Brew 1867 café located on Flower Road. Each meeting is announced on the TSL social media pages, and there is a quick form for you to fill on to confirm your attendance. This is really important since the event does have a limit on how many people can be hosted at the café, so do make sure to RSVP on time!

When you arrive, head upstairs and if you are early you will be greeted by the sight of the organizers and members setting up the venue and preparing several games. All organizers will be easily identifiable due to the matching tees with the TableTop SL logo emblazoned on them. 

The Hosts

Each of the hosts shared a love for board games and sought to introduce it to a wider audience resulting in the inception of Tabletop SL. They are always there during meetings to help organize games, teach games to new players, and coordinate gaming sessions.

The Location

Tabletop Meetups take place at the Brew 1867 café on Flower Road. Honestly, playing board games while sipping on your favourite latte is a really soothing experience. Brew offers a variety of snacks and drinks and after a long, maybe intense gaming session, a sandwich and drink absolutely hits the spot. Brew has everything from burgers, sandwiches and wraps to more conventional meals like rice and pasta that will satiate your taste buds. They specialize in tea but they also offer a variety of other drinks, coffees and lattes that will refresh and energize you while you play. The service and ambience is pretty good, with enough seating areas that it doesn’t feel packed. While Google considers it as a $$ - $$$ price range café, the portion size: price ratio is quite reasonable.

So how do meetings work?

It's actually really simple! All you have to do is show up!

But in all seriousness even if your board game knowledge is restricted to just a well-known few don’t be intimidated. Most members will be unfamiliar with every game in the community which is where the experienced players come in. All those who are new to a game will be given a brief tutorial on how the game works so no one gets left behind. Each game will have a different set of rules, and though it might seem daunting to remember all of them, nearly every player will get the hang of the game by the end of a round. With time, you will notice several patterns that board games are commonly structured around, which in turn will help you learn new games faster. And don’t hesitate to ask questions! Experienced players are always ready to help a newbie out.

When you arrive at a meeting you might encounter several different games in play. Hosts will gather several new players together and set them up with a suitable board game. Experienced players will explain the instructions before gameplay begins, and also stick around to run the game for as many rounds as it takes for the newcomers to get the hang of it.

The Games

All board games have a theme/story that forms the narrative of the gameplay. The rules will form the manner in which the player interacts with the mechanism of the game. Typically, the available games can be divided into several categories.

  1. Social deduction games
  2. Quick card games
  3. Strategy
  4. Puzzle
  5. Role-playing

…and more!

Games can also be a combination of several categories as well. We will describe a couple of the most popular games we play so that you may also try them out at your next meetup!

Anomia – Quick thinking combined with good reflexes = Success!

A group of people playing Anomia

Have you considered yourself to be mentally sharp and quick on your feet? Well Anomia is designed to reduce even the quickest thinker to a flustered mess that forgets what a noun is.

Anomia is a card game that combines quick thinking, good reflexes and a little bit of trivia knowledge all into one neat little card game that can be played by up to 6 players in 15-30 minutes. Players draw random cards with symbols and a topic. If two players get cards with matching symbols, each player must quickly blurt out a word related to the topic on the other player’s card. The first to do so gains the other player’s card and the winner is determined based on who has collected the most cards.

It’s a fun game that is short and exciting and really makes you quick on your feet. Trying to think of a word sounds easy, but when it actually comes down to it, a lot of hilarious sputtering ensues. If you pride yourself on your quick reflexes this might be the game for you!

The Resistance: Avalon – Jayan’s favourite

A group of people resistance avalon

The Resistance: Avalon is a card based social deduction game. Essentially each player role-plays different characters from the King Arthur Universe, both good and evil. Characters may have special abilities that can give them added advantages. If you are on the good side, you will be tasked with venturing on missions that determine the safety of the kingdom. However, if you are on the evil side, you will attempt to derail these missions by impersonating one of Arthur’s loyal servants. Tensions brew as you try to determine who is on your side, and the Avalon Roundtable is where you will always find the liveliest discussions as players try to prove their innocence and skillfully advance their side’s agenda. Evil players will have to be crafty to avoid getting sussed out but they may still win if they determine who Merlin is and assassinate him.

If you are a fan of betrayal, social deduction and manipulation, this game should be right up your alley!

Mission: Red Planet – Be the Martian tycoon Musk could only dream of!

A look at the mission red planet being played on the table

Set in an alternate timeline where the Victorians have achieved space travel, you are the head of a Mining company that is attempting to create a monopoly on resource extraction from Mars. You have a band of faithful workers and explorers led by a group of special characters. Using your team, you attempt to scour the Red Planet and secure regions (before anyone else can) to extract the most resources. You will also complete missions that increase your reputation but beware! You will be playing against 4-5 other players with the same ambition! Will you persevere? Or will you end up being a mere footnote in the history of Martian exploration?

If you are a fan of long strategy, meticulous planning and competition, this space-style game is perfect for you!

Cryptid – Why share the glory when you could have it all!

A bunch of people thinking hard while playing cryptid, the board game

Cryptid is an interesting puzzle game where you try to be the first to find the location of a hidden cryptid using hidden clues that are shared among the other players. Here, players have to work together while still competing to be the first to find the cryptid. Players will try to determine what the other clues are in order to pinpoint where the monster is most likely to be. Question other players to determine their clues, and see through their deceptions. The challenge lies in not revealing too much information about what your clue is lest players beat you to the prize!

If you want to try a challenging puzzle game which will leave you scratching your head at times and creating eureka moments the next, this is the game for you!

Jamaica – Be the best, (or worst) pirate they’ve ever heard of!

A bunch of people having fun playing Jamaica the board game

Heed the ocean’s call in Jamaica where you roleplay as a pirate captain that seeks adventure and fortune in a journey around the island of Jamaica. Your ship starts off with an empty hold but as you journey around the island you get many opportunities to collect resources and gold which in time can make you a rich pirate indeed! However beware, because the seas are also home to other pirates who will challenge you, steal your gold and resources and ultimately beat you to the finish line. Do you have what it takes to brave the high seas? Begin your board game journey with Jamaica!

Jamaica is a fun and interesting game due to its playing mechanics. You get to chart your own course, look for treasure, engage in naval combat, and strategize in order to be the richest by the end of the game. So if you are looking for a good game to start with, this might be it!

All in all…

Each board game presents a unique experience each time. You create your own story as you play, which leads  to memorable and hilarious moments when players try to outwit each other. Strategies may fail, your luck may turn, and you just might have to turn against your fellow players but it's all in good fun. Board games allow you to immerse yourself in different characters, be it a pirate, a scheming businessman, a detective or even a lonesome explorer. And it's really interesting to witness just how boardgames replicate the actions and interactions these characters would have in the form of cards and resources to suit the tabletop environment.

So take this as your sign to join our next meetup. We look forward to introducing you to the wild and wonderful world of board games. See you there!

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About The Author
Jayath smiling
Jayath De Silva
Jayath de Silva is an aspiring chemist, an avid board gaming fan, and a dinosaur nerd. He spends his time drawing, playing the guitar, and finding new ways to avoid scrolling endlessly on his phone.