Nine years ago, a team of games enthusiasts opened Thirsty Meeples cafe in Gloucester Green and it soon gained a loyal following.

A second cafe followed in Bath in 2019 and the following year the Oxford branch moved to a bigger unit in Gloucester Green after record store Fopp closed.

Now staff are thinking of lining up some suitable celebrations for customers to mark the 10th anniversary next year.

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Manager Marc Hanson said his team was looking forward to the celebrations, although staff are so busy it is difficult to take time out.

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“I think we’re pretty much back to normality - the new bigger space has worked well for us and we’re filling it,” he added.

“I think it’s twice the size of the old unit and we can get about 20 tables - about 100 people in total - although that would really be squeezing people in.”

He added: “We’re busy all the time - we only close three days a year - and most nights we stay open quite late.

“We close about 10pm on Sunday so that staff can get transport home.”

The cafe stocks hundreds of board games and it’s part of Mr Hanson’s role to regularly review the stock, to make sure they have the latest games, and check how suitable they are to play in the cafe.

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It costs £7.50 per person for three hours’ play but this fee is reduced to £6 if you buy a drink or something to eat from the menu.

“We regularly curate our board games stock to make sure it is up to date,” Mr Hanson added.

The cafe maintains a good working relationship with other board games businesses in the city, including The Gameskeeper in Cowley Road, and Hoyle’s in the High Street, which focuses on magic tricks and more traditional games.

Mr Hanson said: “Sometimes we send people over the Hoyle’s or Gameskeeper - I think it’s good for the city that it has such a strong board games community.”

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One board games venture that appears not to have survived after opening last year is Geek Retreat in New Inn Hall Street.

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Mr Hanson doesn’t want to comment, but Geek Retreat’s proximity to a more well-established board games cafe may not have helped.

Thirsty Meeples looks set to continue opening seven days a week, with the accompanying late hours, as some players like to keep going until late in the evening.

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“We get lots of students, local people and visitors coming in, and customers who have come here to enjoy the Gloucester Green markets,” Mr Hanson added.

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“The market stalls change almost daily and there’s a good little community around here right now - the traders all support each other.

“I’m glad to see the Spires cafe doing well after it took over our old premises.”

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This story was written by Andy Ffrench, he joined the team more than 20 years ago and now covers community news across Oxfordshire.

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