The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT)

Play Dungeons & Dragons at these game stores around the state

- By Joseph Tucci

Gathering up a band of fearless adventurer­s to journey into deadly dungeons filled with firebreath­ing dragons is becoming a popular hobby around Connecticu­t.

Game stores around the state are organizing Dungeons & Dragons campaigns that let players lay out challenges for their friends to conquer. Aside from organized events, some game stores let players set up games on their own and several libraries offer events as well.

Dungeons & Dragons is a tabletop role-playing game that lets players “explore fantasy worlds together as they embark on epic quests and level up in experience,” according to the game’s publisher, Wizards of The Coast.

Matt Fantastic, owner of Elm City Games in New Haven, said a few hundred Dungeons & Dragons gamers use the store to play their campaigns. The store helps organize the games, ensures that there are enough players in each role for a functional game and aims to be welcoming to all adventurer­s regardless of their experience.

“What we do is work as the lubricant, because the nature of tabletop games, role-playing and D&D in

particular, is that you need people to play with you,” Fantastic said. “We really help people connect with each other.”

Fantastic said that the game, created in 1974, has seen a massive resurgence as “nerd culture” becomes more popular. An upcoming movie based on the game, “Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves,” is set to be released in March. Dungeons & Dragons was also featured in the hit series “Stranger Things.”

Live streaming games on the internet has also contribute­d to the game’s recent popularity, Fantastic said, and makes it

easier for people to learn how to play.

“D&D has exploded,” he said. “D&D is kind of obtuse. You look at it and here’s a bunch of books you need to read and are like, ‘Wow that’s a lot of homework to learn how to do a thing.’ But the reality is that D&D is actually supremely easy to play at a basic level because it is collaborat­ive storytelli­ng.”

Despite the resurgence, Steven Bryant, owner of Norwalk’s Battlegrou­nds Gaming, said attracting gamers who stopped playing because of the COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be a challenge. However, Bryant said the store continues to see new bands of adventurer­s rising to the challenge.

“We used to have, before COVID, around 11 or 12 groups that met weekly. Since we have been open for events again after COVID, only two of those came back,” Bryant said.” All those other groups moved onto playing something else or moved to playing online. The other groups I’ve had, I think we’re up to six or seven now, are new groups.”

Here are some of the game and hobby shops where you can play Dungeons & Dragons around the state.

Elm City Games

Elm City Games is a hobby shop that sells Dungeons & Dragons items, as well as other games like Magic: The Gathering, Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh!

The store hosts Dungeons & Dragons nights for both beginners and experts. Check the store’s events calendar for dates and times.

Nutmeg Games

Nutmeg Games is a game store that sells games like Dungeons & Dragons, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Pokémon and Magic: The Gathering.

Every Tuesday at 6:30 p.m., Nutmeg Games hosts Dungeons & Dragons games, according to its event’s calendar.

Battlegrou­nds Gaming

Battlegrou­nds Gaming is a game store that sells games like Digimon, Magic: The Gathering, One Piece and Dungeons & Dragons.

Groups come to the store weekly for Dungeons & Dragons games organized by volunteer “Dungeon Masters.”

Nomadic Ravens Tabletop Gaming

Nomadic Ravens Tabletop Gaming is a moving game store that aims to bring games to “mainstream locations.”

It hosts weekly Dungeons & Dragons campaigns every Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the Hop Haus Brewing Company, giving guests the chance to enjoy a drink while they explore their dungeons.

The Battle Standard

The Battle Standard is tabletop game and hobby store that sells on multiple games including Magic: The Gathering, Dungeons & Dragons and Star Wars.

Dungeons & Dragons games are held at 1 p.m. Sundays and 6 p.m. weeknights.

The Dragon’s Lair

The Dragon’s Lair is a hobby, game and collectibl­e store that focuses on games like Magic: The Gathering, Pokémon and Dungeons & Dragons.

The Dragon’s Lair has a weekly Dungeons & Dragons campaign on Thursdays.

Table Top Shop

Tabletop Gaming Center is a hobby store that sells games like Dungeons & Dragons, Magic: The Gathering and Pokémon.

Tabletop Gaming Center schedules time for Dungeons & Dragons players to get together every Wednesday at 6 p.m.

 ?? Thomas Grespan/Getty Images/iStockphot­o ?? A Dungeons & Dragons game.
Thomas Grespan/Getty Images/iStockphot­o A Dungeons & Dragons game.

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