I spent yesterday afternoon at Thirsty Meeples, a “games café” in Oxford. It is like an ordinary café, except that the walls are lined with bookshelves full of games. You can rent them to play while you are sipping your boutique coffee. I’ve seen cafés that have games available before, but nothing on this scale. Thirsty Meeples has hundreds of different boardgames and card games, most of which I had never heard of. The staff are very knowledgeable and are happy to help you find and try out new games. The food and drink are good too.
The illustration above is the box of Morels, a lovely little card game about collecting and cooking mushrooms. I was really impressed with it. The designer, Brent Povis, has done a great job of making the game feel like it is about collecting mushrooms, not just strategic card play, but at the same time the game is very playable. The mechanics are quite simple, and the game moves quickly taking about half an hour to play. The only possible disadvantage is the space needed for the spread of cards during play. I was not surprised to discover that it was voted Best New Card Game of 2013 by Games Magazine.
I warmly recommend both Thirsty Meeples and Morels.