So, you’re a gamer or you’re interested in gaming.
Maybe you’re not getting all your fixins from the screen anymore, or are looking to expand your collection of easy-breezy classics to more intricate and extreme tabletop options. Lucky for you, Corvallis has the goods. Here’s where:
Gamer Jim, The Sherpa
I met Jim Taylor, aka “Gamer Jim,” at 5th Street Growlers on one of his usual Tuesday board game nights – on the first and third Tuesdays of the month, from 6 to 8 p.m.
Taylor is a man about town, and not just Corvallis – he also hosts a game night in Albany at Calapooia Brewing on the second and fourth Mondays of the month, from 7 p.m. to close.
Join Taylor for a beer and he’ll teach you whatever board game you choose out of his curated selection. His primary purpose? To educate people that there is more to tabletop gaming than Risk, Uno, and Monopoly have to offer. The great thing about tabletop gaming these days is that the options are plentiful, and new games are coming out all the time.
“I want to break the seal and get people engaged,” says Taylor.
Taylor approaches prospective gamers by finding out what they’re into – fantasy themes, building cities, solving puzzles, or trying to survive a Lord of the Flies scenario on a desert island, perhaps?
“I break apart why they like that theme,” he explains, then he finds a game they jive with.
Within five minutes he explains the rules to Machi Koro, a Japanese city-building game, without even having the box in front of us.
You can find Taylor at the aforementioned haunts, as well as at 2 Towns Ciderhouse, from 2 to 5 p.m. on the second, third, or fourth Sundays of the month.
Pegasus Gives You Wings
Ready to get your geek on? Pegasus Games has been serving up games in Corvallis for the past 16 years. Owner Marc LaRoux said that now is the golden age of board games, and his store has over 100 to choose from. Or, if deckbuilding is your thing, Pegasus hosts Magic the Gathering on Friday nights at 7 p.m.
LaRoux has many games patrons can try before they buy. Per his recommendation, I picked up a copy of Morels – a card game for two, where players compete to hunt and cook different mushroom varieties.
Pegasus Games is located at 155 NW 4th St, in downtown Corvallis. They’re open 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Tuesdays through Saturdays.
LEGO Family Business
Brick Circuit LEGO Store is more than just Legos, although that have plenty of those too. Along with large bulk bins of Legos in every color, they also have specialty Lego sets, including rare and out of print varieties for the true Lego lover.
“Legos had always been a fun, enjoyable activity for our family,” said store owner Jonathan Brownell.
Brownell and his wife, Carrie, were selling Legos out of a small storefront near their home north rural Corvallis when they decided to open Brick Circuit LEGO Store in February of this year. While their initial focus was Legos, they also have a wide selection of curated board games, specifically for families.
The Brownells have five kids, and they find board games more satisfying than other forms of entertainment. “We’ve developed an appetite for sharing games with other people,” Jonathan said.
Their staff are all very familiar with the games they sell, and can help find the perfect one for your family. The number one game Jonathan recommends right now is Kingdomino, which has won several awards this year.
In Kingdomino, you are a lord seeking to expand your kingdom. But watch out, other lords are also looking for the best fields and mountains for their domain.
Brick Circuit LEGO Store is located at 255 SW Madison Ave, in downtown Corvallis. Operating hours, 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Oregon State University’s Gaming Club organizes events throughout the year on campus that are structured a little bit different than typical board game meetups.
“At our events we have, ‘Game of The Hour,’ which is the clubs way to provide incentive for people to play with each other,” said club officer Greyson Peterson.
OSU Gaming also has weekly “Tabletop Tuesday” meetups, where students can get together and play card and board games. If you’re an OSU student and interested in joining the group, head over to their Facebook page and click join: facebook.com/groups/
It is a good time to be alive, and a good town to find yourself in if you’re like me and have a passion for tabletop gaming. With so many places to discover new options, and so many people to play with, Corvallis really is the city to be.
By Ashley Rammelsberg