At the edge of your consciousness you may be aware that over the past few years there has been a resurgence in board games, tabletop role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons, and tabletop wargaming like Warhammer.

These games, which have always been situated in the home, also take place in public at your friendly local game store. Here you can buy the games themselves, any number of game expansions and accessories, and find other gamers to play with.

Driving back to my hotel today I saw a store I’d missed in the past and to get outside I took a walk.

After visiting the first of two stores today I was struck with how similar the feeling of walking into a local friendly game store that isn’t your own, is like the feeling I get when walking into any place of worship. It’s welcoming, but not necessarily where you belong. Don’t let that put you off. Any question you ask will be answered with genuine assistance and interest. Most stores are not like that at all.

These are the signs you are in a friendly local game store.

  • The manager, usually the store owner, may get up from a table where they are playing games and ask if they can help.
  • There are tables laid out in the centre of the store, with people playing games. All the stereotypes apply. Young to middle-aged males, often with long hair (scalp or beard), and frequently wearing black. If your nose is sensitive, there may be a stale odour in the air too. As I said, all the stereotypes.
  • People will be engaged in animated conversation which makes no sense to you at all.
  • The prices may astound you. It’s a hobby, and all hobbies are expensive.

I aborted my role-playing activities during Covid. Part of that was due to my anxiety running and also part because the weekly Sunday afternoon visit to my friendly local game store was aborted. It may be time to visit again when I get home.