- Patrick W. Dunne
Avid gamers may have searched far and wide across the Bay Area to find the very best game stores. The choices are numerous and the quality strong, but if you’re into tabletop gaming and live play in the Bay Area, we recommend you pay these stores a visit.
GatorGames in San Mateo is the perfect gaming paradise, with a generous selection of both the latest games and old classics. An added advantage of Gator Games is that it is located in a part of San Mateo with very good parking opportunities, making it extra convenient to pause and peruse the selection. Prices are at a premium – especially on its ‘Magic: the Gathering’ singles – but the experience and convenience makes it well worth that little bit extra.
Gator Games, 4212 Olympic Ave, San Mateo, CA, USA, +1 650-571-7529
Gamescape is one of San Francisco’s oldest gaming stores and has both traditional board games, such as chess and dominos, roleplaying games, card games, and everything else you may desire. The store also has a very consistent schedule: Warmahordes on Sunday, board game night on Monday, Pokémon League and Fantasy Flight Games Night on Tuesday, Dungeons and Dragons on Wednesday, WarHammer & 40K on Thursday and ‘Magic: the Gathering’ on Friday. Saturday’s event differs every week.
One of the best aspects of Gamescape is that it rewards loyal customers. Frequent customers who spend $250 or more will be rewarded with a 10% discount that lasts a full year after their name is entered into the system. This makes Gamescape a great place for board game enthusiasts to stock up on their collection.
Gamesscape, 333 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA, USA,+1 415-621-4263
Heretic Games hasn’t been around for very long, but is easily one of the greatest go-to places for any tabletop gamer in the Bay Area. Heretic Games’ walls are packed with games of all shapes and varieties and it would be almost impossible not to find the game that you were looking for. You’ll find that all the staff members are extremely warm, friendly, welcoming and knowledgable. You can even play the store’s variety of board games and learn something new. The staff members will be more than happy to show you how to play a game like Star Trek Attack Wing or anything else from their extensive selection.
Heretic Games, 442 San Mateo Ave, San Bruno, CA, USA, +1 650-204-0554
Anime Imports is a beloved feature of the local area and very popular amongst gamers. In addition to this, the store has a selection of fantastic ‘Magic: the Gathering’ events. The venue boasts a good selection of Modern, Standard, Limited, and EDH every week. Anime Imports has an excellent Magic community and the greatest collection of singles in the area. For those interested in other tabletop games, there are plenty of great options to try out, most of them being Settlers of Catan expansions.
Anime Imports has a lot of room for games and the storeowner is famously friendly. The walls are packed with countless board games and it also stocks a fair selection of miniatures, role-playing manuals and video games. As the name suggests, Anime Imports also specializes in anime goods. You’ll find a robust collection of manga and anime DVDs, along with action figures, posters, playmats and tons of other anime-related merchandise.
Anime Imports, 1305 Palmetto Ave, Pacifica, CA, USA, +1 650-488-7900
Games of Berkeley
Games of Berkeley is well-known amongst local gamers for stocking the most coveted and sought-after games of the moment. The store itself is probably one of the biggest gaming stores in the Bay region, enticing patrons with rows upon rows of various games as well as hard-to-find expansion packs. It also carries a huge collection of RPG books, comics and figurines. Games of Berkeley has a downstairs section, used to host ‘Magic: the Gathering’ events and a small library of fantasy novels. Sneak round the back and you will see one of the greatest gems of Games of Berkeley – a room full of over 100 games that you can play for free.
Games of Berkeley, 2151 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA, USA, +1 510-540-7822