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Bradford toy store gets on board with popular game nights, virtual reality

‘Board games are the fastest growing part of the industry right now,’ says owner of Experience Toys and Games in downtown Bradford West Gwillimbury

The popularity of board games is growing faster than you can build railway routes in Ticket to Ride, and one Bradford West Gwillimbury toy store is joining in with regular board game and virtual reality events.

At the repeated requests of customers, Experience Toys and Games in downtown Bradford will have game nights, starting March 28.

“(We want to) build some sort of board game community in Bradford. I had no idea there was one. The idea is coming from customers,” said Brian Hayden, who co-owns the store with his wife, Laura. “Board games are the fastest growing part of the industry right now.”

On Thursday, from 7-9 p.m., the store will have a selection of board games available from which people can choose to play — everything from Ticket to Ride, Settlers of Catan, Tiny Epic Quest, Tiny Epic Zombies, The Climbers, Braintopia, and more.

The informal games night will cost $5 per person. Coffee, tea, and treats from Smoochies Cakery will be available for all players.

Hayden pointed to these types of popular events — and even businesses devoted to gaming, such as Snakes & Lattes board game cafe in Toronto — as reasoning behind trying to develop a similar group in Bradford.

And with new games increasingly having cooler graphics, he said more people who enjoy video games are increasingly looking to board games for entertainment.

“They don’t have just little pegs for men anymore,” he said.

Plus, Hayden added, games nights come with a more sociable element, which can come in handy for an expanding community like BWG.

Along with board games, Hayden has a selection of virtual reality games — from fighting zombies, to creating 3D art — and has started taking bookings for kids’ parties.

“We’re a toy store first, but we have a program events room. It sounds like there’s motivation for a games night,” he said.

Jenni Dunning

About the Author: Jenni Dunning

Jenni Dunning is a community editor and reporter who covers news in the Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury.
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