Alert Level 2 Update

26 MAY 2020 UPDATE
Due to the loosened restrictions surrounding Alert Level 2, we have updated our own rules a bit. Outdated information will remain with a strike through it, and new information will follow the struck out info in italics.


It’s official! As of 11:59 PM on Wednesday 13 May, New Zealand is moving from Alert Level 3 down to Alert Level 2! We’ve done a great job so far, but now’s when we really have to focus. I’m sure we’ll all breath a sigh of relief as life begins returning to normal, but we can’t yet let down our guards completely. Having said that, let us be clear:
Cakes n Ladders will be re-opening for in-store business from Thursday 14 May at 4:00 PM.

There will be a few temporary changes in place for the duration of Alert Level 2, as outlined below. The first three points are in accordance with the government’s recommendations for the hospitality industry, with some additional information after.

1. SEATED. Patrons must be seated. Board games are generally played while sitting anyway, but this means that when you come in you will be seated immediately, instead of browsing the game shelves, ordering food and drink, or grabbing a Meeple table token. In fact to avoid unnecessary contact, we will not be using the Meeple tokens during Alert Level 2, instead taking a name from your group to write down.

You can get up to use the loo, of course (don’t forget to wash your hands after!), but that’s pretty much it.

2. SEPARATED. Players 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. The people you game with can only be people you already know, which means for duration of Alert Level 2 we will not be hosting Feature Fridays or casual meet-ups.

Groups who come in may be no larger than 10 people, and we’re capping our maximum occupancy at around 30 people (normally 45-50). As of Friday 29 May at noon, groups of more than 10 will be allowed. Maximum occupancy will generally remain at 30ish people, but if you’d like to book out the cafe for a group event we may be able to allow more than 30 people, so long as they’re all people who know and are familiar with each other already. Please message or email us for details if you’re interested in this.

It is also recommended that gaming sessions don’t go over two hours. Once you hit two hours of game time we’re not going to kick you out or rush you to finish your game, but when that game has finished we recommend that you head out. We know it’s not ideal, and we’re not fans of putting time limits in place, but it’s for the best right now. You can always come back to play more later!

3. SERVED. We will come to your table to take food and drink orders and receive payment to minimise shared surface contact. Additionally, we will ask what game you’d like to play and get it for you. When you’re finished with a game we will take it so it can be properly sanitised before it goes to another table, and we can get you a new game at that time. Groups should not have more than one game at their table at a time. Customers are once again able to browse games themselves. At government guidance, books are not required to have be disinfected before returning them to the library, so we’re going to treat our games library in much the same way. We also will no longer have a restriction on the number of games a group has at their table, but please be mindful to grab only games you intend to play.

If you don’t know what game you’d like to play, as always we are happy to recommend something based on your preferences. If there’s a silver lining to being shut for 6 weeks, it’s that we’ve had some time to learn plenty of new games we weren’t so familiar with before! Also remember that if you’re not sure what game you’d like to play, you can use our Games List to search based on difficulty, number of players, and more!

4. SANITISED. COVID-19 can persist on surfaces if not properly cleaned, and with any number of people playing a game and touching all the pieces, this is probably the most pressing concern for us. This is why we strongly encourage you to wash your hands, wash them thoroughly, and wash them with soap, for a minimum of twenty seconds before and after playing a game. As mentioned before we will also be sanitising the games before they are allowed to go to a new table. As mentioned above we will no longer be sanitising games after being played.

We’ll also be working to keep our tabletops, bench tops, and door handles all clean and disinfected regularly throughout each day.

5. CONTACT TRACING. With our renewed freedom, it is entirely possible that more cases of COVID-19 can begin to spread. If this happens, contact tracing will be essential to pinpointing where those cases originated. As such, if you come to Cakes n Ladders during Alert Level 2, we ask that you check in using Facebook or Instagram so there is a record of when you were here. If you do not use these services, we will have a notebook to take down your name, as well as the date and time you were here. Ideally you should try to keep your own record of where you go and who you are with!

We are working on setting up Cakes n Ladders with the government’s NZ COVID Tracer app, but it’s not quite ready yet. We’ll let you know when it’s sorted.

6. 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%.

Thanks for sticking with us through this rough time! We count ourselves incredibly blessed to have your support even when times are tight and tough for everyone, and are so pumped to get back to business.

If you need a refresher on further details surrounding Alert Level 2, not specific to Cakes n Ladders, be sure to check out the official NZ Government update.

Alert Level 3 Update

On Tuesday the 28th of April New Zealand will be moving to Alert Level 3. This means stores can open up for contactless retail, but cafés and social gatherings will remain restricted.

So what does this mean for us at Cakes n Ladders?

This means from 28 April onwards we WILL be able to sell board games to help keep you going while remaining in your bubbles, but only via online orders. We do not have an online store, so please let us know what titles you’re looking for, and we’ll let you know what the price and availability is. If we can get the game you want, you can pay via bank transfer and we can send it to you by courier.

We can’t guarantee we’ll be able to get any game you want, but we will certainly try our best!

To be clear, this also means we WILL NOT be able to open the café for standard business at this time. Rest assured, we’ll let you know as soon as that’s possible. We’re just as eager to get back to it as anyone!

Hopefully you’re all staying safe and well. If we can help make the lockdown more enjoyable for you and yours, let us know! 🧁🎲

Closed for quarantine

Hey folks, we are now officially closed for the lockdown. Thank you so much for coming out and supporting us yesterday (24/04/20) by buying games. Hopefully what you’ve picked up will help you stay safe and sane during the lockdown, and make the social distancing seem like less of a burden.

We’ll do our best to keep you updated on what we’re playing, and we hope to hear from all of you about what you’re playing also!

Remember: the more vigilant we are with our social distancing, the less time we’ll have to do it for.

Much love from the Cakes n Ladders crew – let’s get through this together and come out safe and happy on the other side. Take care, and we’ll see you again when we re-open.

Quarantine Begins

As you are no doubt aware, New Zealand is now at alert level 3, and is moving to alert level 4 within the next 48 hours. This means all bars and restaurants must close now, and all other non-essential services must close within 48 hours.

This is the right call for New Zealand as a whole, and we can work together to come out safe and happy afterwards. After 48 hours have passed, so around 2:00 PM on Wednesday, we cannot sell, loan, or rent board games so as to prevent transmission.

To prepare for the extended shutdown we will be in-store today (24/03/20) sorting things out, and WILL be able to sell games to keep your mind occupied, including several that have solo-player modes. Once we’re finished securing the shop we MAY be able to deliver a few purchased board games to those who can’t come to us. Drop us a line and we’ll see what we can do.

We will be ensuring that we maintain distance and hygiene during this single day of sales, and trust that we will all come out the other side of this having grown more appreciative of the company of others and the simple joy of spending time with friends over a board game.

Once level 4 begins we will cease trading and instead start working on a role-playing game designed to be played while maintaining physical distance, but keeping the social contact that communities need to thrive. We are also looking into hosting online game sessions and podcasting our journey through owning a board game cafe.

Take care everyone. We look forward to re-opening once things are under control, and seeing you all return safe and sound.