How a Pasadena Board Game Store Is Bringing the Community Together

Game Empire brings the community together, one roll of the dice at a time.
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While classic board games offer a taste of nostalgia, the gaming industry is currently enjoying a golden era marked by innovative and creative game design. Leading Pasadena into this new world is local board game store Game Empire.

Chuck Robbins’ store shelves are full of games in a wide variety of themes and styles. In one game, players become CDC scientists working together to stop diseases from spreading across the globe. Another challenges participants to try to marry Mr. Darcy from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

Game Empire is much more than a retail store; it’s a social hub where people can congregate and forge friendships. More than half of the interior square footage consists of long tables and chairs where anyone can come in and play, at no cost. Events are held almost every night, including organized tournaments for a variety of games.

If you’re intrigued but intimidated, Game Empire has you covered with Newbie Night, held every Tuesday. “You don’t need to know anybody, you don’t need to know anything,” Robbins says. “You just walk in and we’ll teach you how to play the games. By the end of the night, you’ll be one of the gang.”

It’s this come-as-you-are philosophy that has attracted players of all ages, from children to seniors, closing the gender gap that permeates so much of society. For Robbins’ regulars, it’s the people around the table who keep them coming night after night. The game in the middle is just a bonus.

For more information and a schedule of activities, go to gameempirepasadena.com.

While digital dominates, games you can touch are exploding—almost literally. The Exploding Kittens card game earned nearly $9 million in a single month of crowdfunding to become one of the most successful Kickstarter projects ever.

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