I’m a Joburger boardgamer, and I’m always on the lookout for:
- More games to play (good ones, though I’ll try everything once)
- More people to play with (boardgames are all about the meta – playing the same game with different people makes it a completely different experience!)
- More flexibility (the more groups you know the more you can find the right time to fit around your schedule)
If any of the above ideas tickle your fancy, I issue you my official Seal Of Awesome. So many people stick to their regular playgroup and never venture out of it, so I thought it would be great if we all came together in glorious boardgy more often than the annual events!
The focus is on playing
I have collected here from my experience and some grapevines some of the best ways I know to get playing with groups outside of your immediate friends. I wrote this with the focus on inclusivity and playing, not on buying stuff, though those aspects sometimes do happily coincide.
1. Boardgames Joburg group on meetup.com – Monthly
Meetup.com is a great place to find common interest groups who are well-organised and regular… Yes… Regular. the Boardgames Joburg Group is a great group that has a general meetup at least once a month where people bring and play a pile of different games, and often has themed meetups in between for the popular choices (For example Catan and Dominion).
Notable games being played: Every kind of game, really.
Frequency: Once a month minimum, often 3-4 times a month.
Base: The most common venue is around William Nicol close to the N1, but it varies.
2. Amuse Cafe Boardgame – Tuesday Nights
Amuse Cafe is a cool little pub/bar joint in Linden that is super boardgame friendly. They have boardgames that patrons can pick up and play any time, but they’ve set aside Tuesday nights for boardgames. Once a month it’s a quiz night, but boardgamers still welcome. They have decent pub grub, liquor license, and amazing Glühwein when winter has come. Lots of character, it’s like a Central Perk for boardgames I’d go more often if my Tuesdays weren’t already taken by Capoeira.
Notable games being played: Pub-style games, so more casual, but anything goes too. Also a monthly quiz.
Frequency: Once a week, after 18h30.
Base: Linden: Shop 12 Manlam court 34 5th Street, corner 4th Avenue
3. Animeworx Boardgame Fortnights
Unfortunately this one seems to have stopped happening. Sorry
AnimeworX is our local mainstream geekery retailer, and known for hosting a couple of different clubs. Their games evenings used to be weekly but had been changed to every two weeks (that’s what fortnightly means, I’m sure you know what it means, but that was for *their* benefit). Could you say just say “Fortnights”? Cos it happens to be night too? Or do you have to say “Fortnightly Nights”? Anyway the AWX evenings are good ones, they’ve even been thoughtful enough to disallow Warhammer games, which in the beginning kind of overtook most of the tables (because they get REALLY sprawling and isn’t very social :P). This has made the event a lot friendlier and social.
Notable games being played: X-Wing miniature game, Netrunner, but also whatever else happens to be there. Great variety. No Warhammer!
Frequency: Once every two weeks, after 18h30
Base: AnimeworX, Brightwater Commons
4. Outer Limits – Public Holidays & other whens
On most public holidays, Outer Limits (the quintessential Joburg hobby shop!) hosts boardgame days. It starts right from the crack of the morning light (ok 9am) and runs till about 5-6ish. Super kudos for converting their holidays to work days, but a fun work day! Plenty of people turn up, plenty of different games get played. Outer Limits also has regular game nights for Magic the Gathering and Heroclix, two super popular collectible games, so definitely look them up if you enjoy those monstrously addictive games. They also do an annual Lory Park Zoo games day where we all go hang out at the Lory Park Zoo, play with big cat cubs, gorgeous parrots, enjoy nature and boardgames, in support of the great conservation work they’re doing just here in Midrand. It’s sublime!
Notable games being played: Everything ever.
Frequency: Once every two weeks.
Base: 8 Main Road, Melville 2092
5. DeeTwenty Geeking Venue
(photo credit: mbLife – http://www.mblife.co.za/Passion/DeeTwenty-Geek-Street-Pippa-Tshabalala/)
DeeTwenty is a new concept in the boardgaming socials – a few intrepid geeks once had the same thought I did (riiiight up there in the opening paragraphs), so they started up a venue dedicated to geeking. It’s a really different concept – it’s not a restaurant, you don’t have food there. It’s not a shop, you’re not be tempted to buy something shiny, it’s not a pub, so you’re not gonna get sloshed, it’s just a simply pure geeking venue. So how it works is you pay for use of the venue. There are daily, weekly, monthly membership options, and they regularly have events going on. Check their calendar to see what’s on!
Notable games being played: Probably everything ever.
Frequency: Often, check the calendar!
Base: 18 Consuenol Dr, Randburg 2194
6. Netrunners SA Events – when we can
ANR:SA is our local Netrunner players community. We have events at least once a month, with cool swag and excellent people to play with, so if you enjoy deep, strategic card games, come join us! Netrunner is the BEST board/tabletop game ever. Richard Garfield took Magic: The Gathering, fixed all the gameplay problems with it (mana-screw syndrome, impossibly large card pool full of useless crap, decks that run themselves), then Fantasy Flight Games took the design and fixed distribution problems (Living Card Game format means no random boosters and stupid expensive singles, three-per-deck card limit means no stupid 30-of-a-single-card broken decks) and now it’s just sublime.
Notable games being played: Android: Netrunner.
Frequency: Once a month, at least. Also regularly at other meetups, including Amuse and AWX ones, as above.
Base: Usually at Outer Limits, as above
7. Outer Limits Pretoria – Wednesday Nights
Pretoria also counts! I haven’t been to the Pretoria Outer Limits, but they look like an amazing bunch over yonder. Every Wednesday night they have a boardgame night, and it looks like a great blast, especially if you’re closer to that side of town. However they’re also close to the Hatfield Gautrain station, so travel isn’t entirely impossible.
Notable games being played: Everything ever, but they also have a few dedicated groups to Android: Netrunner, and even Vampire: The Eternal Struggle, and other classics.
Base: Outer Limits Hatfield, by Varsity Bakery. 293 Lynnwood Road, Pretoria
8. Timeless Boardgame Days – Monthly
Super accessible, the whole point of Timeless’ boardgame days is come and play games for a day, especially if you don’t own any games. Tons of open games to play. I wrote a whole thing about them here – so read that.
Spoiler: Highly recommended!
Notable games being played: Everything ever. The point is that noone needs to bring their own, of course you may if you want to.
Frequency: Once a month.
Base: Bedford Chapel, 4 Bradford Road Bedfordview JHB
9. Battle Wizards Centurion – Wednesday Nights
Battle Wizards is a new FLGS (Friendly Local Game Store) is open in Centurion, and they were also at rAge expo. They do a weekly boardgame evening on Wednesdays, as well as a bunch of other focused, regular events for Magic, X-Wing, Warhammer, Netrunner, and other big games. I haven’t been to them personally but they look pretty awesome, and doubly so if you’re in their neighbourhood.
Notable games being played: Everything, and presumably whatever people bring or get there.
Frequency: Once a week, Wednesday evenings.
Base: Shop 79, Doringkloof Mall, Lupin avenue, Centurion, Gauteng
That rounds off this list for now!
If I missed anything you know, please let me know via the comments under here, or you can Tweet me, or mail me, or whatever, and I’ll definitely add it here and issue updates
Play you around!