Vacation Game Stores

Well we’re back in the US after a long day of travel and it’s time to unpack and get laundry going. But since I don’t want to do either of those things, instead I made a cup of coffee and settled down to write about the game stores I visited on my trip: Avalon Roma in Rome and Fantasy-In in Hannover.

Avalon Roma

After a long, hot day exploring Palatine Hill, the Foro Romano, and the Colosseum, we made a quick detour after exiting out usual metro stop and headed a few blocks north to check out Avalon Roma. We easily found the place aided by the bright display of HABA games in the window.

This was a small but densely packed store, with games shelved floor to ceiling. An Italian copy of the StarCraft board game did catch my eye, but would have been tough to fit in my luggage so I moved on, and while it was tempting to pick up an Italian language copy of a game I already had, that seemed rather redundant. But luckily there were plenty of titles I didn’t have.

I ended up picking out Targi, Fairy Tale, and Oh My Goods! And then, while at the register, the owner drew my attention to Condottiere which he mentioned was tricky to get outside of Italy due to being out of stock and thus tended to be popular with vacationing gamers. He pointed out that the cards were language-independent and that English rules were available online, so I figured what the heck.


My brother-in-law Jake and I headed into Hannover to check out this German game store while Kit stayed at home to watch our 11-month-old nephew, Rowan.

If Avalon Roma was small but full, Fantasy-In was just as densely packed but in a significantly larger space. They had a ton of board games, miniature games, RPG items, and even a small selection of manga. On entering the store it was hard to figure out where to go first, and I was soon laden down with a stack of games that I knew I’d have to trim down. My decisions were made tougher by the fact that quite a few of the games I was specifically hoping for weren’t there – and so I couldn’t go with my predetermined top choices.

In the end I ended up buying five games for myself (Dicht Dran, La Granja: No Siesta, Limes, Twenty One, and a German edition of Viva Java: the Dice Game because of the amazing cover art and incredible pricing) and one to give away at RUTHCon (Wurfel Bohnanza – and if they’d had more than one copy, I’d have bought more than one to give away). The hardest thing to put back was El Dorado, the recent SdJ nominee, but it was a bigger box and I was trying to be conscious of space.

I paid for my treasures, resisting picking up more stuff, and retrieved Jake, who was engrossed in a fascinating WWII miniature game book detailing Normandy from the German perspective, so that we could head back to Sievershausen to get ready for the wedding that afternoon.

Buying games (if you have the luggage space) is a great way to do vacation souvenirs – the nine games added to my collection are sure to prompt memories when I see them on the shelf or bring them out to play, and they’re a lot more useful in my life than tschotskes. I may have to go print some English rules now that I’m home, but that’s hardly a big deal, especially with BGG’s resources.

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