Remember sitting around the coffee table with people you love and playing a board game? Remember how good it felt to immerse yourself in something other
than media on a night in? Thankfully, Empire Games in Pasadena is here to bring you
back to the good old days. Empire is actually two shops in one- first, a retail board
game store offering everything from classics like Monopoly and Risk to more niche
games like Dungeons and Dragons. Then, just past the retail half of the massive shop
is a gaming area complete with intricate wall art, tables, and demo games anyone
can pick up and try out. Every night of the week Empire holds an event like a
Pokémon gym, newbie night, and game tournaments. Most events are free and every
event is open to the public. (Stay up to date with their Facebook page!)
“We’re building a community here” says Travis, the shop’s manager. He notes
that the store gets families, individuals, young people, older people, and a good
gender mix on a regular basis.
What really sets Empire Games apart from many other Pasadena stores or play areas is the
customer service they provide. Anyone can come inside and get plugged in right
away thanks to the friendly and inclusive staff. Want to get hooked up with a group
of people who can teach you some new games? Want to bring in your own board
game to play? Want to try out a game you’ve heard of? They will literally do
anything it takes to make it happen.
During my six or so hours in the shop, Travis, one of the most interesting
people I’ve ever had the pleasure of speaking with, showed me every game and
every opportunity Empire provides. I walked away with some new playing cards
and a plan for how to fill my next Tuesday night.
Empire Games in Pasadena is located at 1795 E. Colorado Blvd. For a schedule
of their games, check them out on Facebook.
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