The Hippo


May 27, 2020








Stacks of board games lines the wall at Adler Hobby. Courtesy photo.

Pop culture gaming
Comic book stores host “geeky” game nights

By Ryan Lessard

 While the video game industry has blown up in the past decade, it has not been to the detriment of classic real-world gameplay. In fact, in just the past few years, gamers have been putting down their console controllers in favor of a more extroverted experience. And so-called “geek culture” has built havens for these kind of games.

“Video games can be a very solitary experience, but the games we have tend to bring people together across the table, and it’s a very interactive and fun way to meet people and hang out with your friends,” said Double Midnight Comics co-owner Chris Proulx. 
He breaks down the games commonly associated with geek culture and comic book stores into three categories: board games, trading card games and role-playing games. But a fourth type of game, miniature war games, crosses into both the board game and role-playing categories. It even blends into the hobbyist world, since many miniatures are sold to be assembled, painted and customized by the players.
And this isn’t just for kids, despite common perceptions. Millennials and even folks from previous generations are joining in the fun. Gordon Pittsley, owner of Adler Hobby, a board game café in Manchester, caters mostly to older players.
“There’s a growing group of … millennials who are looking for a social interaction that doesn’t include a bar. And I thought I would tap into that a little by branching off a little … and provide also a board game library,” Pittsley said. “I’d say our age group is 16 to 89.”
He said most other game and comic book stores tend to focus more on trading card games, which he said are more appealing to a younger crowd. 
And players are always eager to welcome newcomers, even if they don’t know how to play the games.
Here are some of the many places in southern New Hampshire where you can grab a seat at the table.
Adler Hobby (266 Mammoth Road, Manchester, 606-1946, is a board game café that boasts a game library of more than 250 games. Gamers pay an $8 cover charge. Geared more toward adult players and focused primarily on board games and miniature war games, it’s open Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 9 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 6 p.m. Mondays are closed. Free play is available during regular hours, and special weekly and monthly events are held regularly. Every Thursday is a tabletop gaming day.
• Alpha Titan Gaming (216 Central St., Hudson, 204-5669, check Facebook) is a gaming store and gaming space with a special emphasis on trading card games like Magic: The Gathering. It’s open to players every day with regular nights for different gameplay types of Magic for $5. Mondays at 7 p.m. is standard play, Tuesdays at 7 p.m. is non-sanctioned legacy play, Wednesdays at 7 p.m. is modern play and Thursdays at 7 p.m. is for standard sealed league games. Friday at 6:30 p.m. for $14, players come in for draft, where they trade cards to build their decks. Weekends are open to free play and Saturdays are also set aside for Magic game type commander.
• Chris’ Comics (341 South Broadway, Salem, 898-4151, is a comic book store that also sells games. It focuses mostly on trading card games like Yu-Gi-Oh!, Pokemon and Magic, but they also sell some miniature games like HeroClix. There is no gaming space in its Salem location. It’s open Monday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Thursday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• Collectibles Unlimited (25 South St., Concord, 228-3712, is a gaming store and gaming space that specializes in Magic: The Gathering and miniature war games. Every Tuesday is a gaming night for Warhammer 40K, a miniature war game, Wednesday night is for Dungeons & Dragons, a role-playing game, and every Friday they host a Friday Night Magic event. Every Thursday there’s an open gaming night. The store is closed on Mondays and Sundays.
• Comics Plus (865 Second St., Manchester, 782-8559, is a comic book store that also focuses on trading card games. It hosts a Friday Night Magic event every Friday and is open every day for free play. It’s open Monday 4 to 7 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday 4 to 10 p.m., Friday 4 to 11 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
• The Comic Store (115 Northeastern Blvd, Nashua, 881-4855, check Facebook) is a comic book store with a wide array of games and collectibles. The gaming space is open for free play any time during regular store hours, and it hosts Friday Night Magic events every Friday. On Wednesdays, they play the pauper Magic, and Thursdays are set aside for role-playing games. The store is open Monday and Tuesday 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Wednesday 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Thursday and Friday 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday noon to 5 p.m. 
• Double Midnight Comics (345 Maple St., Manchester, 669-9636, 67 S. Main St., Concord, 715-2683, is a comic book store with collectibles, games and a gaming space (at both locations) open for free play every day. While they carry some miniature games like HeroClix and Star Wars X-Wing, and some role-playing games, their gaming tends to focus on trading card games. There are Magic: The Gathering events every weeknight plus Dungeons & Dragons, a role-playing game, on Wednesdays and Sundays. A regular Pokemon event is held on Sundays.
• Myriad Games (1525 S. Willow St., Manchester, 623-4263, is a game store and gaming space for all different kinds of games. Every Monday is a miniatures night for war gamers, Tuesdays are set aside for tabletop beta testing, Wednesdays are for players of Pathfinder, a trading card game, every Thursday is a board game night and Fridays are host to a regular Friday Night Magic event.
• The Game Castle (125 Nashua Road, Londonderry, 425-7400, is a game store that offers free gameplay space to visitors every day. Every Wednesday, the store hosts an adventurer league Dungeons & Dragons game (fifth edition), and players come every Friday for Friday Night Magic. Pokemon league play happens on Saturday mornings starting at 10 a.m.
• Nex-Gen Comics (122 Bridge St., Pelham, 751-8195, check Facebook) is a comic book and game store that sells collectibles, trading card packs and board games. The gaming space is open to players of Magic for draft night on Mondays plus non-sanctioned legacy and standard tournaments. Every Tuesday is for Force of Will tournaments, another trading card game, Wednesdays are open for a Magic draft and Dungeons & Dragons adventure league play, Thursdays players come for modern Magic and HeroClix, and every Friday is Friday Night Magic, standard play and draft. Saturdays are open for commander Magic league play and Sundays are open for HeroClix players.
• Merrymac Games and Comics (550 Daniel Webster Highway, Merrimack, 420-8161, check Facebook) is a full-service retail store that focuses on comic books and games of all sorts, from trading card games and board games to video games. Every Tuesday is board game night, Wednesdays are host to a Magic: The Gathering draft night, Thursdays players come for commander Magic and every Friday the store hosts Friday Night Magic. Saturday is another draft day and Sundays are set aside for Yu-Gi-Oh! and Vanguard players. 
• Neonbomb (710 Somerville St., Manchester, 505-8098, is a retail gaming store that ships specialty fandom merchandise nationally and internationally. The gaming space is open every Tuesday for Star Wars X-Wing and Pokemon, every Wednesday for Dungeons & Dragons, every Thursday for Force of Will and every Friday for a Learn to Play Magic tutorial at 5 p.m. and Friday Night Magic at 6 p.m. Saturday is open for Vanguard league play and board game night and Sunday is open for all kinds of games including Magic.
• Pop Culture: Cards, Comics, Collectibles and Gaming (66 Route 27, Raymond, 244-1850, check Facebook) is a comic book and games store that specializes in trading card games, board games and miniatures. They also buy and trade collectibles and signed movie memorabilia. Visitors can come for free play every day and try out a board game library with 40 to 50 games. Every Monday is a Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder night, Wednesdays are for Star Wars X-Wing and players of a board game called Shadowrun Crossfire and war games, Thursday is for role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons and Savage Worlds, Friday is for Friday Night Magic, Saturday is for Warhammer 40K all day long and commander Magic and Sunday is for Dice Masters, HeroClix and adventure league Dungeons & Dragons.
• Relentless Dragon (483 Amherst St., Nashua, 204-5275, is a game store with space to accommodate more than 80 players. Visitors can come in for free play every day. Magic: The Gathering tournaments are held every Monday and Friday, Dungeons & Dragons players come to play every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday night and a Pokemon league plays every Saturday night. Thursday night is also host to miniature war gamers and Warhammer 40K players come every Sunday afternoon.

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