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Broomfield game store provides escape from reality

Every night is game night at Total Escape Games in Broomfield.
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Picture this: A powerful wizard who can walk between dimensions of the Multiverse strides in the door.

This Planeswalker commences battle with other Planeswalkers in the room. The wizard may cast a spell using artifacts or may summon creatures in the process. Walking into this world may sound fantastic, but it is part of a player community in a hybrid game of traditional fantasy role-playing and a complex card game, otherwise known as Magic: The Gathering.

These characters are part of the gaming community encountered at Total Escape Games, a game and hobby store at 6831 W 120th Ave. #C in Broomfield. Game night here is every night, whether Magic: The Gathering, Warhammer or another board game, game night is live and in person. While online gaming has been popular for many years, there is increased interest in gathering in person for game night.

The pandemic has given ample impetus to the growth of in-person gaming when people found they were not able to frequent businesses as they had done pre-pandemic. Being in lockdown for many consecutive months gave families the opportunity to participate in a board games together, rather than play online. According to the University of Pittsburgh Pittwire, people have found renewed interest in board games and also hobby activities such as painting miniatures of the characters.

Jason Garvin, operations manager at Total Escape Games, said he has seen a change in in-person gaming participation since the pandemic has eased, and people are wanting to gather again in a collective community spirit, and not in front of a computer screen. The interaction between players is different: playing online leaves many available distractions, where participating in games in person generates different energy and motivation. 

“People are more focused in person," Garvin  said. “The gaming community is like family,” Garvin adds. Many players have been gaming at Total Escape Games for years, and also stay connected through chatting app Discord which has acted to support keeping the gaming community together. 

Discord is a group-chatting app — originally built for gamers —  and has also assisted in the growth of the gaming community. Discord is noted as one of the most popular ways gamers have found to communicate online. Discord lets friends communicate directly with each other through means of voice, video or text. They can also join servers where larger gaming communities can interact together, online and in person.

Total Escape Games does reach out to the local community as well. The staff volunteers for a game event at Westgate Community School to facilitate Magic: The Gathering for students including those with special needs. The staff and the children enjoy the bonding atmosphere of gaming, and relish learning new skills as team players.

The future looks bright for the gaming community as these communities continue to grow not only online but also in person, with Total Escape Games staff planning to be involved in outdoor festivals in the future.