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Playing the (board) game

A space for anyone in Gisborne who wants to play table-top games is now open.

Artemis Games NZ is a safe place for anyone of any age who is interested in playing table-top games like Dungeons and Dragons, Magic the Gathering, and modern board games.

Co-owner Alia Overend said the Gisborne gaming community had been wanting a place to socialise and play games together “for ages”.

“There are people out there playing Dungeons and Dragons on the floor. Playing that game can take several hours, so it’s not ideal to sit on the ground.

“You need a lot of space to play table top games and many people don’t have big enough tables.”

Ms Overend said last weekend’s opening day was really positive and a lot of people said they had a great time.

“We had so many people coming in and saying ‘Gisborne really needed a place like this’.

“Our most popular items were definitely the Dungeons and Dragons stock. We sold out of polyhedral dice, Dungeon and Dragons miniatures and starter sets.”

Ngaire Kimberley went along to the open day with her son.

“It was so busy, there were people coming and going all day,” she said.

“I was blown away by the number of different gaming groups. The gaming community has wanted a space like this for years.

“I didn’t think this sort of place would exist in Gisborne so it being set up is amazing.

“I play Dungeon and Dragons and I really wanted to find other people who play.

“I have an introverted son and he finds it quite hard to meet new people and this space is a great way for him to meet like-minded people,” Ms Kimberley said.

Ms Overend rented the space at 37 Lowe St with two business partners, Alan Gaynor and Colin Duffy, who are the financial backers.

“A lot of people have been interested in what’s going on here,” she said.

“There’s a good diverse range of people who are interested in playing here. It’s not just men.

“This place is for all ages and anyone who hasn’t played games is welcome. There are games that are good for beginners.

“It’s just table-top games because those games are a lot more social than video games.

“Video games require rows and rows of computers and the costs are huge.”

Ms Overend said they might host LAN (local area network) events where people bring their own computers and set up in the same place to play together.

“This whole space is created to be a safe social space for people to play games.”

In the future there would be model painting classes.

“We want to build a terrain library for the Dungeons and Dragons players to use. There are a couple of people who have 3D printers and they want to help.

There will be events like an introduction to dungeon masters class where people can share their skills as dungeon masters or teach people new to the game.

“We are going to have a free youth session from 3.30pm to 5pm every weekday. Teenagers aged 13 to 17 can come in and play for free and enjoy the space.

“We’re going to run a free session for seniors aged 65 and older or Gold cardholders every Wednesday from 10am to 12 noon.

“You would be surprised at how many older people are interested in table-top games.”

It costs $5 per hour to use a table at the space and you need to book in advance or be the first one in.

“Get your friends together and come down.”

Alia will be working there for free and there will be volunteers to help out.

“Unless it gets crazy busy I don’t think I will be getting paid.

“I saw the potential in this place and thought I could do something with it.

“I hope the community will continue to use this space.”

WHO SHOT THE SHERIFF: From left, Michael Hollis, Jeremy Brown, Kelly Blackwell, Paul Phillips, Steven Daws and Billy Simson playing Sheriff of Nottingham. Pictures by Liam Clayton
A NEW PLACE: Co-owner Alia Overend (left) and business partner Colin Duffy are happy to create a space for the Gisborne gaming community.