Our group decided it would be a great idea to visit Thirsty Meeples in Oxford. Our primary aim was to play-test a couple of games that we were considering purchasing on the UK Games Expo.
Our trip down was very easy. A quick drive to a Park and Ride, and a cheap bus fair to the centre. Finding the shop was very straight forward, and we got there nice and early. We had booked a table for the whole day, so turning up a little early was not an issue. We ordered drinks and proceeded to get our first game (Cosmic Encounters). The game was easily found, and the staff inside were very knowledgeable - and gave us most of the rules in a brief and concise manner. We were up an playing the game very quickly. This was a running theme for us through the day - the staff knew their stuff. However, as the shop got busier, they got more distracted.
Thirsty Meeples has a MASSIVE range of games. We played 3 larger games, and all but one was in great condition. The one that wasn't, Mysterium, is a VERY popular game. The cards were a little dog eared and some of the playing bits were missing. This was not a major issue as we were just play testing a game and not buying a used copy.
As the day moved on, the shop got busy. REALLY BUSY. In fact, too busy. I had my chair knocked a number of times, and the temperature of the shop rose massively (and were by the door). We started to get people hovering around us (we later found out they were the next people on the table, and i think they wanted to pressure us in leaving sooner). A negative was you were rushed to get out of your seat once your time was up. They do not book anything with a 5-10 minute handover period.
As we booked for the day, we had to have our food there. It was very expensive for what you got (essentially over £3 for a basic sandwich). Drinks were also too expensive, and if there were cheaper - we would have bought a lot more. Same with the snacks - far too much for what you got. These are things we have learnt and will not do again in the future.
We enjoyed our trip, but doubt we will go again. It was just too expensive (£150 for 5 of us for the day). We could have spent that and bought the games we had played. However, we wanted to experience the cafe scene - and it was a price we were willing to make. The premises is too small for their business, and they need to expand. Too many tables/chairs were cramped together - and the quality of them was very poor. I would recommend most people to go for the one off experience - but only go for a morning session, and eat away from the place.