Founded by Brenda and N.Kai, Unplug and Play is an event geared towards getting people off their phones through board games. Other than the activities, their music is just surreal. I mean, I can attend all their events just for the music. Had I going ‘ulalalah.’
The board games selection ranges from monopoly to chess, to Jenga (both giant and mini version), to monopoly, cards, scrabble to . . . I am sure you get the gist now. There is something for everyone. If you are not familiar with the games, fret not as Ms. Alie has you covered. She is the house games master, and she is available to give personal tutorials. However, I doubt you will need her services seeing as most of the folks are friendly enough to teach you.
Unplug and Play takes place on Sunday afternoons from two till late though they don’t have a fixed schedule. Nevertheless, expect one or two events a month. Check their Facebook page or follow them on Instagram to stay updated.
So, music check, board games fantabulous, what about the venue? These are just incredulous. They have two preferred spots, The Alchemist Bar in Westlands, and The Yard Ridgeways Inn along Kiambu Road. These are not your ‘kawaida’ entertainment joints. They are quite laid back which makes them stand out. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, right? They also have a touch of nature for the nature enthusiasts.
I got to The Alchemist Bar quite early (I am an early bird), though the event was in full swing. I had a chat with the two founders, and to my surprise, they are quite pleasant. They are nothing like the stories of Nairobi lasses (that’s one for my fellow rural folks). Afterwards, my crazy roommate (he is a permanent resident in my head) proposed I sign up for the chess tournament. After all, I am a decent player, and I was confident I would walk away with the prize money after winning two consecutive games before the contest, and I had full trust in my skill level. Well, ‘nilijua sijui.’ Lost all my games, lost Kshs. 500, and you can bet I will not be signing for chess tournaments again.
Later, to get over the humiliation, I joined my two new friends Joy Muthoni and Nigel Mutebi for several rounds of cards. Insanely fun. We would later play giant Jenga which was my highlight. Though it’s a relatively easy game to grasp, it’s quite thought-provoking. One misstep and the whole thing comes tumbling down. If for nothing else, make a point to attend future Unplug & Play events for the Jenga. It’s probably best if you go with a couple of friends, and I promise there isn’t a dull moment. If you cannot make it on Sunday’s, they just started trivia and board game night every Thursday night till 10 pm.
In less than 50 words, Unplug & Play is the full event package. It’s fun, great timing, fantastic venues, creativity, and fantastic music, but above all, the people are incredible.
Would I do it again? The question should be more like will I do it again. Well, absolutely.
Budget: Kshs 500 – 1000. The events are free so, this is for a couple of drinks and maybe snacks.
By Mark Muchina