Alert level changed!

Well done New Zealand it looks like we’re doing so well with Omicron that we’ve moved back to Orange Light Alert Level.

This is much better for Cakes n Ladders and everyone looking to relax with some board games.

VACCINE PASSPORTS
Cakes n Ladders can open normally, vaccine passports are no longer required.

CONTACT TRACING
Contact tracing is no longer mandatory, so please scan if you want to but don’t feel you have to.

SEPARATED.
Groups no longer need to be separated. This means we can start hosting events again!

STAYING HOME
We know it can be tempting to brush off a small sniffle or seemingly harmless cough when you feel perfectly fine otherwise, but if you show any signs of sickness, no matter how small, we ask that you stay home and rest up. We’ll still be here, and will gladly welcome you back when you’re back to 100%.

OPENING HOURS
Our hours of operation will be back to normal at this level. So we’ll be open 1pm to 10pm Wednesday to Friday and 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM on weekends

If you need a refresher on further details surrounding Traffic Light System not specific to Cakes n Ladders, be sure to check out the official NZ Government update.

Alert level changing!

Well it looks like Omicron managed to make it into the community. This means we’ve moved from Orange Light Alert Level back to Red Light Alert level

The good news is that the Red Light level allows us to be open and we’re not having any lock downs (touch wood). So what does this mean for Cakes n Ladders and everyone looking to relax with some board games?

It means we can open with only a few restrictions provided we’re using the Vaccine Passport system. So if you want to come to Cakes n Ladders then make sure you have your vaccine passport ready. Once you’re fully vaccinated you can go here to get it sorted. Cakes n Ladders is required to check vaccine passports so lets work together to make this as seamless as possible.

CONTACT TRACING
Contact tracing remains mandatory, so please scan in with the COVID Tracer App QR code, which will be posted in the shop. People are required to scan in with the Covid Tracer App AND have their vaccine passport verified.

SEPARATED.
Groups must be separated. We will be moving our tables around slightly to allow for social distancing, ensuring that different groups remain at least 1m apart, and reducing our seating to make sure people aren’t sitting too close. This means for duration of the Red Light Level we will not be hosting Feature Fridays. We will however consider keeping TableTop Tuesdays going.

STAYING HOME
We know it can be tempting to brush off a small sniffle or seemingly harmless cough when you feel perfectly fine otherwise, but if you show any signs of sickness, no matter how small, we ask that you stay home and rest up. We’ll still be here, and will gladly welcome you back when you’re back to 100%.

OPENING HOURS
Our hours of operation will be back to normal at this level. So we’ll be open 1pm to 10pm Wednesday to Friday and 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM on weekends

If you need a refresher on further details surrounding Traffic Light System not specific to Cakes n Ladders, be sure to check out the official NZ Government update.

Cakes n Ladders reopening!

Welcome to the traffic light system, folks!

Friday, 3rd of December 2021 is Auckland’s first day using the traffic light system, we’re stating out at the Red Light level. So what does this mean for Cakes n Ladders and everyone looking to relax with some board games?

It means we can open with only a few restrictions provided we’re using the Vaccine Passport system. So if you want to come to Cakes n Ladders then make sure you have your vaccine passport ready. Once you’re fully vaccinated you can go here to get it sorted. Cakes n Ladders is required to check vaccine passports so lets work together to make this as seamless as possible.

CONTACT TRACING
Contact tracing remains mandatory, so please scan in with the COVID Tracer App QR code, which will be posted in the shop. People are required to scan in with the Covid Tracer App AND have their vaccine passport verified.

SEPARATED.
Groups must be separated. We will be moving our tables around slightly to allow for social distancing, ensuring that different groups remain at least 1m apart, and reducing our seating to make sure people aren’t sitting too close. This means for duration of the Red Light Level we will not be hosting Feature Fridays.

STAYING HOME
We know it can be tempting to brush off a small sniffle or seemingly harmless cough when you feel perfectly fine otherwise, but if you show any signs of sickness, no matter how small, we ask that you stay home and rest up. We’ll still be here, and will gladly welcome you back when you’re back to 100%.

OPENING HOURS
Our hours of operation will be back to normal at this level. So we’ll be open 1pm to 10pm Wednesday to Friday and 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM on weekends

If you need a refresher on further details surrounding Traffic Light System not specific to Cakes n Ladders, be sure to check out the official NZ Government update.

Lockdown Game Review: Scooby Doo! Escape from the Haunted Mansion

Over the last couple years my partner and I have really embraced co-op gaming experiences, especially growing fond of the escape room puzzle genre. We’ve played over a dozen Unlocks, a couple Exits, and multiple campaigns of Chronicles of Crime. As with any genre of game your mileage will vary, and not all campaigns are created equal. Some are clever, tricky, and satisfying, while others are obtusely infuriating.

Recently we had a crack with our first Coded Chronicles game — Scooby Doo! Escape from the Haunted Mansion — and came away really enjoying it. Having only played escape room games that use apps, this was almost a breath of fresh air to see how the genre could play out completely analog.

Similar to other types there were rooms with numbers, a deck of cards correlating to those numbers, and puzzles to solve, but this time with a beloved and well-known cast of characters who talk and interact with each other throughout. The entire Mystery Incorporated gang is along for the mystery, and each of the five have their own dialogue book to reference as you play the game. Velma researches, Freddy investigates, Daphne uses, Shaggy eats, and Scooby-Doo smells. Each of the character standees has a single digit on it that is placed in front of 3-digit codes throughout the house to interact with, making up 4-digit codes to look up in their respective dialogue books to get that character’s input on the object in question. An empty dinner plate may have the number 324, so when Scooby (numbered 5) stands in front of it you’ll get the code 5324. Look up that code in Scooby’s book to see what he has to say about that plate and how it smells. It could be a vital clue!

The party is split up throughout the game so you don’t always have access to everyone’s abilities, making you think more critically about who should interact with which items. There were a handful of moments where we felt stumped, but never to the point of frustration or needing hints. The game is well thought out and cleverly assembled. A few times we were told to discard cards we were finished with but somehow hadn’t yet picked up, which usually meant we made a lucky guess or solved a puzzle without needing all the information in the game, but that just added to the fun of it.

Your team’s endgame evaluation is determined by two factors: whether you correctly peg the culprit, and how many of the 20 Scooby Snacks are remaining at the end (you use Scooby Snacks throughout the game if you need hints or make mistakes in certain puzzles). We only needed one single Scooby Snack, and did indeed unmask the correct villain, which was extremely satisfying.

All-up the game took us over two hours to complete, but if you don’t have that amount of time to dedicate it’s got a built-in intermission point where the books instruct you how to pack away the game mid-way through so you can easily set it back up how you left it to complete another time. It’s something I haven’t seen in this kind of game before, and even though we played it all in one sitting I love that the option was included!

If you’re looking for a new kind of escape room game to tease your brain and test your mental mettle, Scooby-Doo: Escape from the Haunted Mansion is well worth your time.

Alert Level 3 Update (hopefully the last time)

From 22/09/21 Auckland will be in Level 3 and Cakes n Ladders will be open for contactless game sales.

In this post here you can see details of what is in stock and we can arrange delivery or organize a pickup time. We’ll also post when we’ll be in store for takeaway coffees or board game purchases.
Lets get through these two weeks safely and without getting cabin fever!.

At level 3 Cakes n Ladders can sell takeaway food/drinks and board games as long as it is contactless. Unfortunately our in store board game library is out of bounds until level 2 or lower. We’ll link to our for sale games once we’re prepped to sell them.

All events are on hold until we’re at alert level 2 or lower but keep an eye on Halloween!

We can also order games in (for pickup or delivery) though most suppliers use the Auckland ports/warehouses so they will be observing level 3 protocols which makes things safe but adds delays.

Take care everyone and we’ll get through this, just like we did last time.

Alert level 3 announcement
What alert level 3 means for Cakes n Ladders

Lockdown Game Review: Galilean Moons

The first game of Galilean Moons my partner and I played left a sour taste in both of our mouths. For her it’s not unreasonable to say part of it was that she lost by a significant margin, following a string of losses in other games we’d played during lockdown. But for both of us it also just felt confusing and unbalanced. I managed to obtain a combo of Technology cards early on that made it feel like I was completely uncatchable for the rest of the game, and sure enough I wound up winning 75 to 57. We almost never invaded each others’ spaces, which was okay because it meant there wasn’t a lot of back-and-forth animosity, but then at the game’s end we were both just segregated to two moons apiece; me with Callisto and Europa, and she with Ganymede and Io.

There was no challenging each other for the greatest claim to any moon, and things were very cut and dry. The rounds also seemed to pass with the snap of a finger, and all of a sudden the game was over. My win felt hollow and anti-climactic, and neither of us felt satisfied. There were a few neat mechanics, but overall I was highly disappointed by that first game. I wondered if maybe this was one of those games that’s technically playable with two, but just not worth it unless you’ve got three or four folks together. It was easy for us to stick to our separate moons without bothering the other because there were just the two of us. We both had access to what we needed, and there really wasn’t any need to encroach on the others’ space except to be a dick, which isn’t really the ideal way to trial a new game.

Y’all, it cannot be overstated how glad I am we gave Galilean Moons a second chance.

After simmering on our thoughts for a few days we both felt ready to try again, having properly wrapped our heads around the rules and gameplay. We understood more about the Technology cards and how to combo them from turn to turn to maximise our actions, which points we wanted to shoot for, and why spreading yourself across the board and invading opponents’ bases can be vital for your operations and not just a way to piss off your opponent(s).

Game 2 lasted at least twice as long as Game 1, and the scores were much higher and closer. My partner won with a narrow margin of 6 points; 112 to 118. Since most of the points aren’t counted in Galilean Moons until the end of the game, neither of us was completely sure what the outcome would be. I suspected she was going to take it since she had amassed more gems than I had (they can be the most valuable points in the game), but thanks to my high-scoring Technology Cards and greater number of invaded bases, I was able to close the gap substantially and nearly overtake her. The slower pace (around 75 minutes compared to Game 1’s 30-40 minutes) made it feel more thrilling and interesting, and at the end we both had units spread across every moon. Both of us secured some solid base combos throughout and collected Technology cards that complemented our personal strategies nicely. Neither of us felt like we were being demolished by the other, and the overall experience was night and day to that of Game 1.

Contrary to how my victory in Game 1 was disappointing and underwhelming, my loss in Game 2 of Galilean Moons felt like nothing of the sort. It felt like the game we hoped for the first time around, full of clever moves and thought-out tactics. I’m now excited to be able to recommend and teach it to folks when Cakes n Ladders opens back up, instead of relegating it to the never-play-or-think-about-again pile.

In a nutshell, Galilean Moons is the perfect example of why you should always give a new game a second chance at a first impression.

Alert Level 1 Update

Welcome to Alert Level 1, folks!

Midday today Auckland dropped out of Alert Level 2, and as of now we are now down to Alert Level 1! So what does this mean for Cakes n Ladders and everyone looking to relax with some board games?

We’ll be able to fit larger groups and let people browse the collection (and the food at the counter) on their own again. There are just a few things that remain in place at Level 1.

CONTACT TRACING
Contact tracing is highly recommended, folks can keep their own records of where you go and who you are with. We can help with that with the COVID Tracer App QR code, which will be posted in the shop.

STAYING HOME
We know it can be tempting to brush off a small sniffle or seemingly harmless cough when you feel perfectly fine otherwise, but if you show any signs of sickness, no matter how small, we ask that you stay home and rest up. We’ll still be here, and will gladly welcome you back when you’re back to 100%.

OPENING HOURS
Our weekday hours of operation didn’t change for this version of Alert Level 2, so expect to see no changes here.

If you need a refresher on further details surrounding Alert Level 1 not specific to Cakes n Ladders, be sure to check out the official NZ Government update.

Alert level 2 (again)

Looks like level three was just the seven days as advertised. This means we’ll be open as usual (with the regular level two restrictions) from Sunday the 7th of March

Hope to see you all back again soon!

Alert Level 3 Update (The return)

It was a short lockdown last time. Hopefully it’ll be just a little bit longer this time.

At level 3 Cakes n Ladders can sell takeaway food/drinks and board games as long as it is contactless. Unfortunately our in store board game library is out of bounds until level 2 or lower. here is a list of the games we currently have for sale. We can either courier them out to you or you can pick them up in store on Wednesday 03/03/21 between noon and 3pm. If you’re in the mood while you’re there you can also get a takeaway coffee/tea/hot chocolate.

We’ll also be delaying our Total Party Kill event which was scheduled to run on Tuesday 02/03/21 See this post here.

We can also order games in (for pickup or delivery) though most suppliers use the Auckland ports/warehouses so they will be observing level 3 protocols which makes things safe but adds delays.

Take care everyone and we’ll get through this, just like we did last time.

Alert level 3 announcement
What alert level 3 means for Cakes n Ladders

Alert level 2 (part 2)

We’ve played a lot of games in our bubble during the second lockdown but we’re super excited to be heading back to level two and Cakes n Ladders being able to open again.

We’ll be in the cafe on Saturday the 30th of August setting up for level two so if you wanted to get a sneaky contactless boardgame purchase in before we open up again on Wednesday 02/09/20 then drop by between noon and 4pm

Hope to see you all back again soon!