Put Down the Smartphone, Board Games Are Cool Now

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What's the first image that comes to mind when you hear the words "Dungeons and Dragons"? Some guys covered in Cheeto dust, wearing glasses and wizard hats, sitting in their basements playing cards: a small contingent of devoted nerds?

That stereotype is changing. 

Sales of tabletop games (including cards, board games, and role-playing games) at hobby stores have jumped 15 to 20 percent for the last three years in a row, according to a recent report from ICv2. In New York City, a few business owners are hoping to get gamers to their brick-and-mortar stores where people can play hundreds of games. 

Forget Scrabble and Monopoly (though yes, they have those too); we’re talking Cards Against Humanity and Settlers of Catan.

The owners of these businesses say people of all stripes are showing up to play: tatted up skaters, couples on a date, local librarians, college students, and even hardcore fans of Magic: The Gathering.

Here are a few of the latest spots:


Brooklyn Gamelab

353 7th Avenue

Brooklyn, NY 11215

Launched: February 2014

Library: About 200-300 games

Details: Holds afterschool and summer break game design workshops for kids, along with adult and mixed-aged game nights. Sells games, including modifications from the kids who attend workshops.


The Uncommons

230 Thompson Street

New York, NY 10012

Launched: October 2013

Library: About 350 games

Details: Kids and adults welcome. Located in the old Village Chess Shop near NYU. Sells games, coffee, and snacks.


The Brooklyn Strategist

333 Court Street

Brooklyn, NY 11231

Launched: January 2011

Library: More than 400 games

Details: Kids and adults welcome. Holds after-school clubs and school break camps focusing on gameplay and creative game design; evening tournaments and gaming leagues for adults; and private and group lessons. Sells games, food, and drinks.


Twenty Sided Store

362 Grand St.

Brooklyn, NY 11211

Launched: April 2010

Library: About 130 games

Details: Kids and adults welcome. Focuses on board games, roleplaying games, and Magic: The Gathering. Hosts tournaments and socials, private parties and other events. Sells games (more than 500 titles), food, and drinks.