Our story

Chance & Counters is the brainchild of three pals: Luke, Steve and Richard.

Luke got bitten by the board game bug whilst studying at university, then selfishly spread the cardboard contagion among his friends. One of whom was Steve. All it took was a sunny weekend in Salcombe and a copy of Settlers of Catan and he was hooked too.

Fast-forward a couple of years to Moseley, Birmingham. Luke and Steve were juggling postgraduate studies with a burgeoning addiction to board games – made worse by the corruptive influence of a certain Dicky Duerden (now Head of Games at our little café).

As Luke and Steve finally wrapped up their studies, conversation turned to their grim career prospects. Opening a board game café had been a fun thing to talk about while drunk, but set against a slow dribble of crap job offers it genuinely started to seem like a good idea.

Planning began in earnest after Alex – a school friend of Luke’s and owner of KONK! – generously offered to invest in Luke and Steve’s lofty vision. The pair were starting to put together a business plan, when a chance encounter (!) on Reddit led to an exciting development.

A certain ‘Kwansu’ was putting together a huge survey about board game cafés, as part of his MBA studies. Luke arranged to meet up for a chat about what he’d found. As it transpired, Kwansu was a man called Richard, who was not only a massive board game fan but also a ruddy good chap with ambitions in the board game café direction.

After another meet-up in a dingy pub in Fishponds, Richard was onboard.

The next three months were a blur of Skype meetings, legal wrangling and frantic googling. The end result was a fully-fledged business plan and a Kickstarter campaign, which launched in January 2016.

Within two weeks, thanks to the generosity and support of some fantastic people, we smashed through our target.

In total, our 292 backers pledged £13,192 over the course of a four-week campaign. The people below are the unsung heroes of the Chance & Counters story; without them we simply wouldn’t have been able to make it a reality.

So without any further ado, here they are

On May 20th 2016, we opened to the public in Bristol. There was still dry plaster on the skirting boards, only one working toilet and nowhere near enough air conditioning.

But the kind people of Bristol saw past our little imperfections and stuck with us while we got our act together.

Within six months we were booked up on weekends, climbing the TripAdvisor rankings and discussing inflation on BBC Radio 5Live. Totally surreal and totally amazing.

After a year of ironing out the creases in Bristol, Luke, Steve and Richard decided it was time to start thinking bigger. In the summer of 2017 we began to hand over the reins in Bristol to an amazing group of managers and staff, to focus on taking Chance & Counters to the next level.

Cue another 6-8 month blur of Skyping, bank meetings, location scouting, knockbacks, wild celebrations and such.

Finally, in spring 2018 we found our next home – a beautiful Victorian building on the High Street in Cardiff.

And that, dear reader, brings us to the present day. Lots remains to be done, but with good luck we’ll be open in August 2018. If it goes down anything like as well as Bristol, we’ll be over the moon.

To be continued…