While Candyland or Connect 4 offer whistles of nostalgia, today’s gaming world is full of options and store owners are eager to engage people.
The fever of gaming is gripping this region and every age, skill level and interest is shown.
To cope with the growing demand, several gaming stores have recently popped up across the state and each one is unique.
Corey Chambers held a grand opening for the Game Chamber on June 4 in Dover. He says the whole variety almost guarantees people to find the right game for them.
“You can play every day for a year and not scratch anything that has come up in the last few years,” he says.
And finding a game store on the map is now easier.
“When I entered it 30 years ago, you had to drive for an hour and a half to get to the game and hobby store. With the advent of Marvel movies … they have grown overnight. “
Some gaming stores focus on tabletop games or role-playing games (RPGs for short) or specialize in trading card games (TCGs) such as Pokemon or Magic: The Gathering.
They sell board games along with other video games or offer hobbyist supplies, comic books or trendy pieces of pop culture. New games like Azul, Ticket To Ride, Survivor, and Exploding Kittens go two-to-two with classics like Dungeons & Dragons and Trivial Pursuit.
Chambers has a lifetime of experience and vast knowledge of board games. Growing up, Chambers says his family instilled in him a love of board games and spending time together. “My family always made sure we had a board-game night.
“It’s been a hobby for over thirty years,” he added.
With experience working in retail gaming stores across the country, Chambers says he has figured out what works and what doesn’t. For starters, he wants customers to feel comfortable trying new games.
“I wanted an open, friendly place. … where you can have everything happen at once, be it board games, miniature tabletop games, roleplay games or card games.
Game Chamber sells gaming hobby supplies – RPG supplies like 12-sided dice, and a private room for role-playing games and tables to try out one or two games. The video screen gives game instructions along the way.
He says, “Watch and see how the game is played as you go through the game and learn for yourself.
It offers a variety of games for a test drive with Survivor, where players must go to shore before the island falls into the sea, and board game codenames and Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards.
Hot Seller is Caton, the resource building game and its extension.
“There are explorers and pirates, merchants and savages, cities and knights. It’s a staple in most people’s libraries, “says Chambers of Caton.
He mentions more standouts: role-playing games like Stuffed Fables, Splendor, Pandemic and Strategies games like Mansions of Madness, as well as the trade game Gundalo and the medieval war game Warhammer.
Kids-friendly games include Throw Throw Avocado or Exploding Minions, a version of the Exploding Kittens, where players try to avoid flying.
But Chambers resented one of his best-selling scurvy dice.
“You build pirate ships out of your dice and you play against your opponents in an attempt to get gold from the island without screwing. If you have scurvy, you will go back to the place. ”
Diversions Puzzles & Games, headquartered in downtown Portsmouth, recently opened a new location in Somersworth.
“The gaming industry has grown significantly in the last 15 years,” says Laura Keith, owner and general manager.
Like the game chamber, the diversion is also strictly “unplugged”. They don’t sell video games, but they never hurt their business.
“People are really itching for social interaction and social interaction and parents are trying to turn off their children’s phones,” says Keith.
Diversions focuses on Lego, children’s games and books, construction toys, arts and crafts, but also sells trading cards, tokens, select-your-own-adventure games and jigsaw puzzles, which jumped early in the onset of the epidemic. .
Once upon a time there was so much interest in puzzles that they almost sold out.
“We couldn’t get them fast enough. Puzzling is a strong New England hobby and it’s for people of all ages, “she says.
Keith, himself a fan of board-games, has many personal interests. Among them, Stardew Valley is a cooperative game where players build fields and cultivate crops to defeat large corporations. In the tiling game Cascadia, players create terrain from different habitats. In The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine, astronauts try to understand unknown planets. The game has over 50 missions.
“We sell a ton of family games, party games. I love Scattergories. I would never hit any of these games – I think they are fantastic. They’re light and they let you relax, “she says.
There is only one basis of Honey Buzz – make money by making and selling honey. Keith’s other favorites include Azul: Queen’s Garden, as well as the tile-laying game Calico.
They may seem deceptively simple, but they are not.
Keith called Calico an “example of good stress.”
“It simply came to our notice then. They are like, super, super stressful. But you’re like, ‘Oh, that was so much fun.’
‘Family of Nerds’
The Wicked Gaming Center, which opened in Peterborough last May, offers a mix of board games and video games.
The idea for the store came to co-owners Brendan and Gail Bohl, who call themselves the “Nerds’ Family,” after playing “Betrayal at House on the Hill” for the first time with their daughter.
Gail Bohl says playing with family is “invaluable”.
“Being stuck at home for so many days deprives people of the social element that is important for their mental health. Gaming offers a way to connect with others, to have fun, to be creative and to enjoy each other’s company online or in person, ”she says.
The store offers a mix of tabletop and video games and manuals for Dungeon and Dragon and Savage Worlds. Bohl says he is working to become a WPN retailer for the Wizards of the Coast, which will allow him to sell Magic: The Gathering card and host tournaments.
Popular favorites at the Wicked Gaming Center include Betrayal at House on the Hill, while the Beat Saber, Pistol Whip and Walkbout Mini-Golf are big on the virtual reality headset Oculus. Nintendo Super Smash Bros. for Wii. And Guitar Hero is a popular video game.
And playing Attari’s Space Invaders is still a pleasure decades after its release.
Victor Johnson of Peterborough, a regular guest who works remotely, prefers to interact face to face with people.
“It’s a great change to sit and enjoy the game with others,” he says via text chat.
He calls the shop “Perfect Setup” because it offers snacks and has a pizza shop in the same building.
“I tend to order pizza to share before we start gaming,” he says.
Johnson’s current focus is Betrayal at House on the Hill and its extension game, Widow Walking.
“The game is never the same. There are always new situations, new ‘hangouts’, different items to explore in your inventory, ”he says.
Possibly the most well-known role-playing game, Dungeons & Dragons, is no longer considered a fringe or “dorky”. Chambers recently hosted a presentation with a professional dungeon master who taught storytelling skills, role-playing skills, and character-building.
Whatever your hobby, gaming stores are here to make you happy.
“I like interacting with my customers. I think I have achieved something to make everyone enjoy the sport they have, ”says Chambers.