The popularity of tabletop gaming—a broad term that includes everything from board and card games to roleplaying games—has exploded in recent years. Now, you may not think of Lansing as a mecca for gamers, but the Lansing area has been doing a fantastic job keeping pace with hobby gaming. Almost too good a job.
Newcomers to the hobby may be intimidated by the abundance of options to choose from and newcomers to Lansing may simply not know of a good place to start for their particular niche.
When it comes to tabletop gaming, I’m what you might call obsessed. Have been since I got HeroQuest in the early 90s (and am still its proud owner). I’ve even been fortunate enough to write for Geek & Sundry about board games.
More importantly, I’ve curated a list of places in Lansing where gaming addicts and newcomers alike can go to have some fun.
Where to Buy
When you want to find a new board game, miniatures, roleplaying books, or other gaming supplies, the place to go is usually a comic book store. Here are some of the Lansing area’s comic shops that also have a solid selection of games:
- Summit Comics and Games has a huge selection of board games. They have more space dedicated to gaming than to comics even. They also have a sort-of-but-not-really hidden back room where games can be played.
- Fortress Comics and Games sells comics and board games, but where they really shine is wargaming. If painting minis and constructing terrain to hold tiny epic battles, visit this shop.
- Hollow Mountain Comics and Games is the newest shop, but they have an eclectic mix of board games. If you want to pick up a fun, new game that hasn’t received a lot of attention, start here.
- Just 4 Fun Hobbies and Comics probably caters to the widest variety of hobbyist. They’ve got comics, board games, and all sorts of supplies for making terrain, painting, and making hobby trains and models.
There is such a thing as a dedicated game store and Lansing has ’em. If you know you want games and nothing but, check out these friendly local game shops (FLGS):
- Evolution Games has a big selection of pretty much everything. Whether you’re looking for board games, card games, roleplaying, wargaming, or painting/terrain supplies, there’s a good chance you can find something here.
- AFK Games. AFK has a selection of board games, collectible card games, minis, paints, and space to play. If you want to ogle some pre-painted miniatures, you can find do that at AFK, too.
Since board games have become so popular, bookstores have started selling them. Both Schuler Books and Barnes and Noble have pretty good selections of the more popular (and usually beginner-friendly) hobby board games.
Looking for Group
Whether you’re new to Lansing or just looking to expand your horizons, there are a number of gaming groups that are all very welcoming. For starters, practically all of the game shops have groups that meet regularly, organized and unorganized play times, tournaments, and other events.
If that’s not enough or not your cup of tea, there are also a number of groups on Meetup that get together at other venues to play. Lansing Board Gamers is an especially dedicated group and I’ve had a blast anytime I’ve met up with them.
Looking for something more low key or kid-friendly? Check out a nearby school or library. Schuler Books also hosts gaming events in their Chapbook Cafe occasionally.
When you’re ready to take your gaming hobby to the next level, I recommend attending a convention. These are large events where hundreds or thousands of people get together to enjoy their hobbies together. Lansing has at least three conventions (‘cons’ for short) where you can enjoy board games.
- MittenCon is one of Lansing’s two conventions that are all about board gaming. It’s held over President’s Day weekend and goes for three days. Gaming is a pretty good way to pass the time during Michigan winters!
- DaveCon is the Lansing area’s other board game-exclusive convention and you only have to wait until September to participate. You can join someone else’s game, bring your own, participate in a tournament, or even test out unpublished games by local designers!
- Capital City Comic Con is a comic book convention, but just like you can buy board games in comic shops, there’s typically board gaming at comic cons. This one’s on August 27, so you’ll have to decide quickly about attending.
- Shuto Con is actually all about anime, but they have rooms for video and tabletop gaming nonetheless. Plus you can admire all sorts of amazing cosplay and perhaps pick up yet another hobby!
Where to Give
If you have a heart of gold, you may also wonder about how to put your gaming hobby to better use than purely your own entertainment. One such way is to volunteer at Creating Heroes Stephen’s Way. They are a Lansing nonprofit that uses comics and games to help educate children and provide a safe place for them to play.
Other ways you fuse gaming with philanthropy in Lansing? You could join the Extra Life Lansing Guild to help heal sick and injured kids. Sparrow Hospital Children’s Center and MSU Federal Credit Union also organize toy drives and are happy to accept donated games!
Looking for More?
If you have more questions, are looking for game recommendations, or just want to play or talk about games, reach out to me! Find me on Twitter or Facebook.