We’ve all been stuck inside for almost a year at this point, and there’s no clear sign of that changing any time soon. So, how about a board game?
Evidently, that’s been the thought process for a lot of us during the ongoing pandemic. Board game popularity soared in 2020, with one manufacturer — Hasbro — reporting an increase of more than 20% in sales in the third quarter alone. And Mattel reported a whopping 48% increase in sales for the year.
That’s a lot of Monopoly and Uno, sure — but more involved games are seeing a resurgence, too. Dungeons & Dragons, for example, has been gaining popularity for years, and saw a 35% jump in revenue in 2020, according to the Los Angeles Times.
So, if you’re bored with your own board game collection, and looking for something new, there’s no time like the present. And, lucky for us, the Philadelphia area has long been steeped in geeky culture, board games included.
Here are a dozen great board game shops in the region , whether you’re looking to lose yourself in a game for a few hours, or just something more casual. Check out the list below:
Known as Philly’s first board game bar, Thirsty Dice has moved operations online due to the pandemic — but you can still get your geeky fix from them via pickup or local delivery (or shipping, if you’re farther out). One cool option is their “Comfort Crates,” which can be customized to include snacks, meal kits, beer or wine, and one of 125 available games and puzzles, or just go with a themed one and keep it simple. And you can even contact a resident “gametender” for gaming advice, too.
This Queen Village cafe is open for outdoor dining (and limited indoor dining), and you can even choose from a library of some 1,200 games to play while you’re there. But if you’re feeling more conservative, you can do pickup or local delivery for games and food, or just head there for a quick in-store browse. It’s a wide selection, too, with everything from Bob Ross-themed Monopoly to more hardcore geek culture like Magic: The Gathering.
Philly Game Shop is a “friendly local game shop” (or FLGS, for the uninitiated) in South Philly that aims to be as inclusive as possible because, as they put it online, “tabletop gaming is for everyone.” They focus on all kinds of gaming fare, including board and card games, RPGs, and locally made games — all of which are available for in-store shopping, curbside pickup, local delivery, and nationwide shipping. There’s also limited in-store gaming that can accommodate one four-person table, if you’re up to it.
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Known as a “tabletop gaming mecca,” this West Philly shop has styled itself as an LGBTQ and female-friendly destination since first opening its doors in 2009. You’ll find just about everything you need, including Magic: The Gathering and Yu-Gi-Oh cards, Dungeons & Dragons and Warhammer 40,000 minis, board game standards like Catan and Pandemic, and hundreds of other offerings. In-store shopping is available, as are curbside pickup, shipping, and local delivery.
Yes, Brave New Worlds technically bills itself as a comic book and toy shop, but they’re no slouch when it comes to board and card games, either. Located in Old City, this shop is great for both casual (think Cards Against Humanity or Clue) and more involved gamers alike (I.E., Arkham Horror and Dungeons & Dragons). And if you’re into Magic: The Gathering — or want to be — this is a great place to visit. Plus, you can check them out at their Willow Grove location, too.
At it since 2005, West Chester’s The Games Keep has long been considered one of the go-to tabletop gaming shops in the Greater Philadelphia Area. By all accounts, their selection of games is absolutely massive, consisting of 3,000 titles that run the gamut from board and card games, to RPGs and miniature-based games, plus all their associated accessories and supplies. In-store browsing and curbside pickup is available, and you can call or email ahead for stock and pricing info.
This family-owned chain of game stores also has locations in Blue Bell and Wilmington, but its home base is in Delco, where it first opened in 2003. But wherever you go, this one is for the card game lovers among us — especially if that means you’re into Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh, or Magic: The Gathering. Aside from buying cards (both in-store and online), you can also sell your rarer cards to the store and try and make a buck on your hobby, too (and if you’ve seen what Pokemon cards can go for lately, maybe you ought to).
If you’re out in the Jenkintown area, 7th Dimension Games is your spot for all the geeky goodness you can handle. Whether you’re looking for board games (like Catan), trading card games (think Magic: The Gathering), RPGs (Dungeons & Dragons), miniatures, painting supplies, dice, or any other gaming-related bits and bobs, they’ve likely got it waiting (and can do local delivery). Plus, there’s also a used game section, and you can sell your own used board games on commission if you’re looking to unload.
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Having first opened in 2019, Lookin’ For Games is one of the newer shops in the Bucks County area, but it’s quickly established itself as a great spot for local gamers whether you’re looking for regular board game standards, trading card games, or RPGs and all the accessories. Plus, the store partners with Extra Life, so you can help the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. And if you want, there’s also some limited in-store events, like miniature painting nights.
South Jersey board game addicts should take a trip to this shop, which has been around for about a decade. They’ve got just about everything a geek’s heart could want, including new and used games, a wide variety of gaming accessories, and even limited table play (reservations required). They’ve also got a “Nerd Mall” essentials shop, where you can get things like toilet paper and mac and cheese in addition to satisfying your gaming needs.
Open since 2011, Top Deck Games is one of South Jersey’s best board game shops, whether you’re a seasoned veteran or just getting into the scene. They’re especially great if you’re into Warhammer 40,000, Magic: The Gathering, Dungeons & Dragons, Pokemon, or Dragonball Super. Check them out in-store, or shop online.
In addition to having one of the best names in all of gamestoredom, Nerdvana also happens to be one of the best tabletop game shops if you’re heading down the shore. Located in Atlantic County, this is a family-friendly shop that specializes in board, trading card, miniature, and role-playing games, as well as just about any accessories you’d need to play them. So whether you’re a Pokemon fan, or a Warhammer 40,000 devotee at the shore, these folks can take care of you with an in-store visit.
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