ROLL PLAY CAFE

Roll Play Cafe

On a Thursday afternoon, my brother and I had some time to kill before picking up my cousin at Union station. After a quick Google search, I found Roll Play Cafe, a boardgame cafe within walking distance of our final destination. I’m a big fan of board games and have been visiting Snakes and Lattes since they opened. Since then, many similar establishments have popped up in Toronto with varying business models. After this visit, I have to say my favourite is still the original.

Atmosphere: Roll Play Cafe aims to be more upscale with a large wine selection and dark sleek furniture. The space has lots of booths for 2-4 people (each equipped with a set of Connect Four) and tables in the centre of the room that can accommodate large groups. Two shelves at opposite ends of the space housed a decent selection of board games. They did have lots of popular games and we found plenty to keep us occupied (Zombie Dice, Love Letter, Tokaido and Kingdom Builder), but nothing really new or hard to find. At Roll Play Cafe, the board games felt more casual, entertainment but not the focus. Kind of like the magazine selection at a bubble tea place.

Service: Honestly, service was over the top friendly, to the point of suffocating. Our server checked in on us constantly, hovering close by, asking we needed any more food or drinks. When I’m engrossed in a game, I’m not really looking for friendly banter with my server. Food did arrive quickly, and we had no issues getting the bill. Complimentary wi-fi was also provided.

Food: My brother and I were at Roll Play Cafe from about 5pm-7:30pm, just shy of 3 hours. Without a food purchase, 3 hours of game usage is $20/person. With a food purchase per person, the game usage fee was $5/person. Our total bill ended up being >$50, pretty steep for the amount of food we ordered and the time we spent there.

In total, we ordered a Hawaiian flatbread pizza ($18), Wild Boar Bites ($8) and two Americanos ($4). The americanos were very good, had a strong and rich coffee flavour. I wasn’t sure what to expect with the Wild Board Bites and it turned out to be a sausage, cut up and served with a cheesy, tomato, sauce. The sausage had a lot of strong flavours, savoury and the sauce was tasty. I’m not sold on the price. Also considering the only other snack options were $5 for nuts, $6 for olives or $12/person for charcuterie, the choices were limited.

The Hawaiian pizza was a good size, but again overpriced. I did like the crust and the spicy sauce, but there was little cheese and the toppings were fine, but not noteworthy. I wasn’t visiting Roll Play for a gourmet meal and was looking more for snacks to be enjoyed while I played. A selection of cakes were on display and I’ve been craving cake for weeks, but when I found out the price tag was $10 for a slice with some added flair, I chose the skip dessert.

Reading reviews online, it seems that Roll Play Cafe has changed how they bill guests several times since they’ve opened. Personally, I’m not convinced the latest iteration works. We could’ve easily stuck to ordering just the americanos and kept our bill below $20, but I would’ve been happy to spend another $20 on reasonably priced snacks, and naturally increase my spend without being forced to. As is, the menu offerings were limited, with hefty price tags and doesn’t encourage ordering. I believe they’re trying to attract an older crowd, more office workers with larger wallets than students and it may be working. For me, I’ll have to pass.

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  • mooken

    My boardgame cafe of choice nowadays is For The Win Cafe — uptown at Yonge/Lawrence. $2.50/hr, with a $5 max cap Mon-Thurs. Not much for food selection, but their game selection is fantastic.

    • http://xiaoeats.com/ xiaoEats

      Interesting, haven’t heard of them before. Will have to check them out. I think another place opened at Yonge/Eg too?