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Today, the best-known landmark in the southwestern English city of Bristol is the imposing Clifton Suspension Bridge. But one of the town’s lesser-known gems is nestled at the bottom of the Christmas Steps — a narrow, sloping walkway lined by small boutiques and eateries.
It’s Chance & Counters, a board game cafe where the shelves are bursting with more than 850 games. (The pun made it an instant win in my book.) Little did I know how often my study-abroad journey would lead me here, time and again, for the sinfully delicious mulled wine, yummy wraps and — best of all — priceless hours spent with other exchange students I met at the University of Bristol.
Something about Chance & Counters’ warm lighting, low ceilings and narrow spaces (reminiscent of the Christmas Steps) feels not claustrophobic, but intimate and cozy. I came here frequently with friends on weekends or the odd weekday, and we would pick up our newly minted favorite games — “Betrayal at House on the Hill” was strangely addicting — or ask an employee to teach us a new one (Japanese-themed “Tokaido,” we discovered, was beautiful and fun.)
With just one branch in Cardiff, Wales, Chance & Counters is truly a treasure in the realm of board game cafes. After all, this quaint little shop at the foot of the Christmas Steps deals in more than just games and local brews; it embodies the spirit of travel, bridging connections between people who have crossed oceans to meet — just like a chance encounter.
The DetailsChance & Counterswww.chanceandcounters.com