Leamington already has a big reputation for gaming through its Silicon Spa cluster but one Old Town shop has found success by creating and selling a similar but more traditional type of escapism.
The Games Den was opened by Tim Gadd at a former chiropractors at 29 Clemens Street about two-and-a-half years ago.
The shop not only sells board games and collectible card games including the highly popular Pokemon and Magic the Gathering but it also provides a venue and tables at which people can come to play either with or against others.
Customers can also rent games and play them on site and also buy snacks for when they’re feeling peckish during a gaming session.
Tim, who is 32 and moved to Leamington ten years ago, said: “There is something for nearly everyone - planting trees, building castles, planting farms, exploring jungles, surviving in the snow, playing intrigue in Merlin’s court, trading spices, waging epic battles.
“Also, even if a particular theme is not your favourite, board games are a great engine for turning time with other people into fun.
“We work hard to appeal to the youngest possible gamers up to anyone who wants to play.
“I say that as long as a child wants to sit down and give me two minutes of attention then I can teach them a game.
“We have a great mix of backgrounds including lots of international residents of Leamington.
“Board gaming can be such an inclusive hobby - it’s good for anyone who wants to have fun with their friends or with new friends.”
Tim has said that through hosting meetups, tournaments and daily games events the shop’s customer base has grown steadily and strongly since it opened.
The shop’s location away from the hustle and bustle of the town centre and close to the Grand Union canal has also allowed the business to grow.
Tim said: “It grew quickly because there were so many avid gamers in and around Leamington.
“It is still growing but there are also things which I am just now learning to do better such as organise one-off events and draw in players from further afield and encourage new people to visit and draw in players from further afield and encourage new people to visit or try our meet-ups.
“But it’s super exciting to watch Old Town fill with businesses and people.
“I remember when I first applied with estate agents for various properties of the right size and three or four were already under offer and opened the same time as us.
“We couldn’t open anywhere else in Leamington and have the same walking traffic as well as the parking for people who want to come and spend more time with us or travel from other towns and cities.
“We also do a lovely trade with people visiting by barge.
“Canal travel is perfectly suited to board gaming and those who pick up food on Clemens Street often pop in to us.”
Gamers can sign up to a membership with The Games Den which gives them access to various events and offers.
For more information about the shop and the events taking place there visit www.gamesdenuk.com or call 07794 437165.
** Pokemon and Magic the Gathering are two of the collectible card games on offer at The Games Den.
The former, based around Japanese-created fictional creatures, is part of one of most successful media franchises of all time.
But the latter, based around battles between wizards, has a massive worldwide appeal and fanbase itself and has a fairly complex set of rules recommended for players aged 13 or over.
Having only been released in August of this year KeyForge: Call of the Archons is a new deck game sold at the shop which also holds weekly events for players.
The Games Den also runs a board games night on Tuesdays, a tabletop role-playing game night on Wednesdays, which can include a group playing Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) or other games from this genre and a ‘competitive’ night on a Thursday.
The female only Girls That Game group ‘takes over’ the shop on Tuesdays from 3.30pm to 6.30pm.
For more information visit the shop’s website or search for The Games Den on Facebook. **