Tapping into ‘games vibe’

AN INDEPENDENT board-gaming store in Woking is entering its fourth year of trading. Ibuywargames is a war-gaming community and hobby retail store on the Chertsey Road, organising themed gaming nights and organised play weekends. Owner Ian Simpkins spoke to News and Mail about the store and his expectations for the year ahead.

AT THE HELM – Gaming shop owner Ian Simpkins with a display of his stock

Ian notes that Woking has always had a “games vibe”, and his desire to open a board-gaming shop stemmed from his interaction with similar businesses in his youth. Ian also referred to Games Workshop, the “founding war-gaming shop in the UK” as a source of inspiration for his own store.

Ibuywargames is notable for initially trading online, selling “board games, war games” and “miniature games”, alongside “paints, airbrushes and merchandise”. Ian reflects on the wide variety of products available, including “card games, Yugioh, Pokémon, and Dungeons and Dragons”.

A community feel is vital for Ian, as he notes that “one of the main bloodlines of an independent shop is the community”. Speaking to Radio Woking at the beginning of 2017, Ian is grounded in his belief that a sense of belonging and community is crucial in order to succeed. Ian aims to instil this in his team and customers at Ibuywargames, particularly through his organised social events. From Monday to Friday, the evenings are dedicated to themed gaming nights, such as fantasy Lord of the Rings and more. There is also a league set up, but Ian ensures that no one goes home empty handed.

At the weekend, Ibuywargames hosts more “large scale tournaments”. These are played with “special kits”, some of which are “limited edition”. The turnout at these events is fairly large, with “20 to 30 people” attending the tournaments. Additionally, the owner hopes to encourage the younger generations to take part in these activities. Ian hopes to open “lots of after school clubs” every weeknight, from 4 to 6pm. He emphasises the importance of ‘social interaction’ for children, and that the games might even improve their “probability” skills, adding that there is often “maths involved in card games”.

With Woking having undergone recent regeneration, Ian looks forward to “continued growth” in the New Year. He speaks of a “nice, fun, friendly atmosphere”, aiming to become even more “family friendly” in 2018.

Ibuywargames is situated on the Chertsey Road, Woking. For more information, call 01483 772031 or visit their website: http://ibuywargames.co.uk

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