Games of Berkeley 2015 - Year in Review January 15 2016

The Year in Review

We take a look back at some of our favorite moments from the year. Our 35th year has been an eventful one and it shows. We'd love to hear what your favorite was! Tell us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram!

 

Star Wars Day

Star Wars Day

Star Wars Day on May 4th had us demonstrate X-Wing (thanks Chase!) and saw a visit from local artist Tony Foti! (Star Wars LCG, Imperial Assault, X-Wing, Netrunner)

 

Tony Foti - Star Wars artist

Tony Foti - See more of Tony's art

 

Events

Valentine's Game Night at the Freehouse

It's been a year of many events. Many of them external. We began a continuous relationship with the Freehouse in Berkeley where we held several game nights. Here's from our first one during Valentine's Day. See all the pictures. 

 

Oar Else!

Tabletop Day 2015 had us try something new. We placed game designers outside on Center Street and let regular passersby test their games. Here's Julia showing off her game 'Oar Else!'.

 

Outside at the Freehouse

And then we ended the Tabletop Day with an evening event at the Freehouse. The inside filled up quickly and we had to move players to the outside. At the height of the event there were even players finding seats at Caffe Strada across the street.

 

Freehouse Game Night - Tabletop Day 2015

We have tons of pictures from the Tabbletop evening. See them all here. 

 

Locally Grown Game Sunday

The success of Tabletop Day inspired us to create a new event; Locally Grown Game Sundays. Then we teamed up with Downtown Berkeley's Eats, Beats & Brews festival, (happening on the same day) which gave game designers even more chances to meet playtesters. Here's Marek testing his game 'Crown of Tines' at the first event which he then funded through Kickstarter a few months later.

 

Jeremy from the Forbidden Limb podcast shows off Booze Barons a few days before it launched on Kickstarter. Congratulations on the successful funding!

 

Skulldug! 

Speaking of successful Kickstarters; here's Skulldug! by Ruddy Games being tested at the first Tabletop Day. We can't wait for it to appear in our store.

 

Playtesting

The event was also a place for game designers to meet and exchange experiences, not just a testing ground. 

 

Cardboard Table!

It was also a place for anyone to just borrow some games from our free game library and enjoy the festival's beer garden. Here's the award winners for 'Most Creative Table'.

 

Tabletop Day 2015

Long story short. In a few short months we went from about 70 attendees at our first outdoor event...

 

Locally Grown Game Sunday in Berkeley - October

 ... to more people that could physically fit outside of our store. Thank you so much to all the game designers and playtesters that came by! Keep an eye on our Newsletter for info on the 2016 season.

 

Locally Grown Games Display at Games of Berkeley

Stop by our Locally Grown Games display to pick up locally designed favorites. Some of which you might have tried at the Sunday events. Also available online.

 

Tournaments

 

Laboratory Mayhem at Games of Berkeley

We've tried hard to support local game designers this year, so we'll start with one of the most active ones; Laboratory Mayhem is a game designed here in Berkeley by Lixivium games and they now run regular tournaments both here and all over the East Bay.

 

Laboratory mayhem winners

 Attendants at the first Laboratory Mayhem tournament with artwork from the game.

 

Netrunner Tournament at Games of Berkeley

Netrunner's been growing steadily in popularity and with good reason. Here's the crowd from our Store Championship 2015. Read full event review by Brian Cronin. Picture by Jamie Kennedy.

 

Doomtown

No 'Year in Review' would be complete without a mention of our Doomtown community. You don't need a hat to join in the fun, but it sure helps. Tournaments will return in 2016.

 

Conventions

 

Caltopia 2015

Convention time! Caltopia 2015 was our first visit to the mayhem. Our sweepstakes there was so popular we didn't really have time to get pictures. Luckily the contestants took plenty. So many that we dominated the Caltopia social feeds on Twitter and Instagram with gems like the picture above. Thank you wonderful students! 

 

We also visited KublaCon 2015 which was a ton of fun. Our Dice Tower challenge saw some very impressive results this year. 

 

The Champion

The Supreme Champion of our Kublacon Dice Tower Challenge 2015.

 

Gaming

Tabletop Thursday

Our Tabletop Thursdays at Hotel Durant's been a wonderful time where players get to enjoy drinks and snacks while playing games. The event is free and happens every Thursday at 7pm.

 

Hotel Durant Game collection

Over the year the Hotel have built up an impressive game collection that is free to try for visitors. If you're visiting the restaurant, stop by the hotel reception desk and ask if you can borrow a game while you dine. 

 

Playing Caverna

Playing Caverna in Henry's is as fun as it sounds. 

 

Game Designer Night

Game Designer night at Hotel Durant's pub 'Henrys'.

 

Lovecraft Night

Our 'World of Lovecraft' game night at Hotel Durant saw us enjoy the atmospheric board room. 

 

Playing Machi Koro

Gordon teaches Machi Koro during our College Game Night. The room filled up so fast we had to move the event to Hotel Durant within just a few nights. 

 

Dragons of Tarkir

A few players enjoying the Dragons of Tarkir prerelease event

 

Warhammer 40K

We had to reduce our Warhammer 40K events going into the new year. We'll miss the beautifully painted minis!

 

 

Terrain

There's been a continuous cleaning operation downstairs. We're still not done, but we're happy that our war gaming terrain is finally all in one place. 

 Warhammer at Games of berkeley

Warhammer 40K, Malifaux and X-Wing are all played at our Wargaming Thursdays. Here's the Dungeon Room filled with Warhammer.

 

Dungeon Room at Games of Berkeley

The Dungeon Room is also open for Dungeon Masters of all tabletop roleplaying games. This shot from a DnD 5th Ed session was even used by Wizards of the Coast in an article about ambiance at gaming stores! Read it here.

 

Why is there a tripod on this table? Check out SanSan Francisco's Youtube Channel for Netrunner gameplay with commentaries! Watch now.

 

First ever Game of Thrones Night

Our first Game of Thrones night was so popular we had to move gamers down to the downstairs Dungeon room. Not that they complained. But we soon realized we needed a bigger and better venue. 

 

Game of Thrones Night

That's where the Freehouse came to our rescue. We've now had two Game of Thrones/Fantasy Themed Board Game Nights there and they've helped many a fan survive while they wait for the show to return. Our nights there saw over 70 people join in each time.

 

Bargains

It might look nice now, but...

Our craziest sale yet saw us slash prices of our backroom stock and rarities with up to 75%! And then we even slashed that another 50%! For updates on the best deals we have, make sure to subscribe to our Newsletter or ask in store to register in our Fivestar program. 

 

New York 1901

Pile of New York 1901 during the release of the game. Blue Orange's (San Francisco) new game received a ton of great press.

 

Shop Small

Bears enjoying some Fasttrack during our Shop Small event. Go Bears!

 

 

Celebrations

Hurray!

This was our 35th year in business and we've been celebrating all year long with more contests and more events than ever before. Here's a group shot from our anniversary party at Hotel Durant. Did we mention we run game nights there every Thursday? 

 

East Bay Express

Bragging time! The readers of the East Bay Express voted for us this year again and gave us the title as Best Game Store. Now to figure out how to outdo ourselves for 2016.

 

Love Wins

We also celebrated the same-sex marriage ruling in June and our meeple tribute for #LoveWins went viral after Wil Wheaton and Felicia Day both shared our post. Yep, we're on Twitter.

 

Community

 

A Christmas Miracle

When the Toys for Tots program didn't turn up enough toys this year, the community came together and raised thousands of dollars in just a few hours. Customers would buy extra gifts that they donated and the local toy stores pitched in. Here's Erik sporting his Santa beard before heading over to the donation station. Read full story on Berkeleyside.

 

Winners

 

Winner!

One of the years best contests was our Tabletop Day Treasure Hunt. The winner walked away with an amazing collection of awesome games. 

 

Caltopia Winners

 

Winner!

More Caltopia Raffle Winners!

 

Tokaido

Our 'Not-so-Secret-Santa' contest was a fun hit. Customers shared a picture of themselves with what they wanted to win from the store. So much to choose from...

 

Winner!

Erik with the winner of our Not-so-Secret-Santa contest.

That's all folks! Send us your favorite pictures and we'll try to include a few in this post!

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