I know most gamers who converge upon at the Crossroads of America in Indianapolis for GenCon rarely have time to do anything else but game, talk about games, or shop for games. However, just in case any of my readers have some free time, arrive early, or leave later, I am writing a series of articles that present attractions and events that might pique your interest. This second article of the series deals with the local hobby game scene as well other types of gaming.
First up are Indianapolis’ friendly local gaming stores. These stores serve as hubs for the local hobby gaming community and we’re lucky enough to have several fine establishments in the area.
Indy’s only downtown location dedicated to hobby gaming. The Arsenal not only has three themed game rooms (dungeon, back alley, and board rooms) but they also have a cafe that offers modestly priced food (I recommend Troy’s pulled pork sandwich). It may actually be the cheapest place to grab a bit to eat in the immediate vicinity. A buddy of mine, Mr. Givens, has secured the Arsenal for a couple of old WoD LARPs he is currently running. The Vampire game is held every 2nd Saturday and the Werewolf game is held every 4th Saturday.
If you are looking for a decent place to play outside of the con, I recommend you check out the Arsenal and see if you can set up in the board room.
Downtown Commics has been around for 15 years, and is a very established geek hangout. Though not only focused on gaming, Downtown Comics does support a lot gaming, and they have an annual post-GenCon Heroclix Big Battle (1200pts). Also, since they are celebrating their 15th Anniversary during GenCon, you can get in on some special deals (check out their website for more information).
Not far to the south, in the suburb of Greenwood, is Gamerz. It is a fairly new addition to the hobby community and has recently changed proprietors. Though it is new, I believe it is making excellent strides in providing gamers a friendly place to network and organize events. Gamerz is often the meeting place of the Indy Gamers meetup group (boasts 413 members on their site) Last I checked, they were also gearing up to open a new cyber cafe for LAN and online gaming.
Located north of the airport in Indy’s west side suburb of Avon, Games 2d4 is also a new fixture in the local gaming scene. I haven’t been there recently, but the store was heavily focused on wargames (and there is certainly nothing wrong with that) when I visited. In fact, I picked up my Lich Lord Terminus from Games to Die for while I was there (it was after the price increase by Privateer Press, but it still sported a pre-increase price tag).
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention The Game Preserve. TGP is a local mainstay and it has been around as long as I can remember (the original store being established in 1980). It now has four locations: 86th Street (northeast), Greenwood (south), Bloomington, and West Lafeyette. So not only does The Game Preserve serve the Indianapolis area gamers, but it is also an icon for the two largest universities in Indiana (IU & Purdue). The Game Preserve locations in Indy are small but pack a lot of merchandise.
An official sponsor of GenCon, Saltire Games is a new face among the Indy area friendly local gaming stores. I have yet to visit, but I hear it is mostly gaming space and not a lot of retail, though they’ll order you anything you want. It’s located on the eastside off of Pendleton Pike.
If you scratch a tabletop gamer, you’ll often find pixels. Many hobby gamers also play video games, albeit just to fill the downtime between being at the table. I’ve also included action pursuit gaming, because who doesn’t like live-action wargaming? Besides, sometimes you need to get off your rear and move around.
Previously, Gameworks Studio, Tilt is located on the 4th level of the Circle Centre Mall and is your typical arcade. I mourn the old Mechwarrior pods that used to be located here, but there are plenty of the newest generation arcade games here to throw your quarters at.
D&B’s just got an Indianapolis location, situated on the northeast side in Castleton. It is a nationwide (located in Canada too) restuarant, bar, and arcade. I haven’t been there yet, but I have heard good things.
A family-fun park located on the southeast side of Indy, Great Times is a 5 acre complex with go-karts, bumper boats, miniature golf, indoor playground, and arcade. There is also bowling lanes and lazer tag nearby.
Indy is the racing capital of the world, but this is probably as close as most people are going to get to open wheel racing like the Indy 500. Fastimes has an indoor, bi-level track with karts that get up to 40 MPH… which is blazing fast when you’re that close to the ground!
Dark Armies was my first paintball experience, and it was fantastic. DA is located in an underground warehouse and takes place in almost absolute darkness. It really exudes a post-apocalyptic/survival vibe. Especially when they send out the guy in a Predator costume (don’t know if they still do, but I hope so). In October, Dark Armies is transformed into the Necropolis haunted attraction.
Located in Anderson, about 20 miles northeast of Indianapolis off of I-69, White River Paintball offers 125 acres of paintball field. They have eight signature fields: air strip, woodsball, Bedlam City, Omaha Beach, battlefield, dunes, Fort Field, and Skid Row. They offer open play, scenarios, and private parties. They also have a Pro Shop on the premises.
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