MeltingTop Games in Lynnwood a haven for tabletop game enthusiasts

There’s a new place in Lynnwood off 164th Street Southwest where you can get your game on if you like tabletop adventures.

MeltingTop Games will be opening its doors to board game enthusiasts and casual players alike this week, joining a booming community of gamers in the Pacific Northwest. The new store, located at 1120 164th St. S.W., Ste. H, will offer all things cardboard and dice in the middle of the one of the county’s fastest growing areas.

The specialty shop is the maiden venture of Mukilteo resident Daniel Kim, who made the decision to turn a lifelong hobby into a full-fledged business. “I was doing a lot of trading of games on the side, rare and out of print ones. Then, over the winter I decided, you know what? Let’s do this and see what happens. It was very spur-of-the-moment,” Kim said.

Specializing in a broad range of modern games, from European titles focused on resource management, to American war games and Dungeons and Dragons style role-playing, MeltingTop will offer something for everyone. Classic games, like chess or checkers, aren’t the focus here, but those are more than welcome too. And of course, it wouldn’t be a game shop without offering Magic: The Gathering, a massively popular and long-running collectible card game from Renton-based publisher Wizards of the Coast, which encourages weekly organized play among its wide base of players.

Even for complete newcomers to the world of chits and counters, there will be a welcoming environment aimed at encouraging converts to the world of cardboard gaming.

“We’ll have events to introduce people to certain games,” said Kim. “There will be learning sessions so you can play with other people and see if it’s something you’d like to get into.”

For the seasoned dice-throwers out there, the store will host tournament leagues and official events for various titles throughout the year, along with regular weekly and monthly game groups. Local gamers are even encouraged to suggest ideas for new events they’d like to see, which they can do through the store’s Facebook page.

In an age of smartphones, video games and Netflix, it’s easy to take real human interaction for granted, which is what has made the burgeoning hobby of tabletop gaming in recent years a breath of fresh air. “I definitely prefer the face-to-face interaction,” Kim said. “Even with digital versions of boardgames, I don’t enjoy playing them, it’s just not the same. You’re not as engaged. Just having that personal connection is important, and a lot of times it’s teaching each other as well, by helping and giving advice on moves.”

Even the name itself–a play on “melting pot” and “tabletop”–is meant to encourage people of all experience levels and backgrounds to mix together for the fun of the game, a reflection of the hobby’s global reach. And it is exactly that sense of community and camaraderie Daniel hopes to foster in his new shop, and why he has made it a focus in the layout itself.

With more than half of the store’s floor space dedicated to a gaming area of tables there is plenty of room for walk-ins to sit down for a casual game any time during store hours. Players can bring their own boardgames or try out one of the many freely-available copies in the store’s library. For those who prefer trying new games in the comfort of their own home MeltingTop offers a rental option as well.

The shop held a soft opening on Monday, March 12 to get the doors open to the public and start attracting regulars and curious newcomers alike while building up a healthy inventory. An official grand opening will be held the Saturday, April 7 with special game events being planned for the occasion. An activities calendar can be found on the store’s website, along with a list of games currently available to rent or try out on the spot.

MeltingTop Games
1120 164th St. S.W., Ste. H, Lynnwood, WA 98087

–Story and photos by Brett Reistroffer

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