Trade Boredom for Board Games

Your one-stop guide to the Tucson, AZ gaming community

|By Nina Kolodij

Nestled among the diverse outdoors and celebrated dining scenes of Tucson, AZ, is another kind of adventure—the quieter but equally robust world of gaming. The Southern Arizona city is home to an abundance of gaming stores, making it the perfect place to get into board games or try out trading cards. Whether you’d prefer to flip through a comic, sample the digital fare, or peruse hundreds of hand-painted miniatures, you’ll always win when you roll the dice on these go-to gaming shops.

Top-notch trading cards

Amazing Discoveries has four locations, including the original branch here in Tucson. Affectionately known as “AD,” this game shop covers just about everything in the realm of non-electronic gaming. Although AD is truly a jack-of-all-trades, its collection of trading cards is, well, amazing. A towering wall of cardboard boxes stuffed full of Magic the Gathering, Pokémon, and Yu-Gi-Oh! cards is just the beginning. If there’s a card you’re looking for, there’s a good chance it can be found somewhere in those boxes, or in the binders and glass cases behind the counter.

If you’re near the northwest part of town, head over to Polyhedron Game Store for a well-rounded shop with a thriving trading-card scene, especially Magic the Gathering. If you’re just starting out or are an old pro testing a new deck, Polyhedron has an event for you every day of the week. Casual and competitive players alike are welcome to join the “Learn to Play” event series—you don’t even need your own deck to participate in the fun. Starting to get more serious? Join one of many tournaments in an assortment of formats.

Sports lovers can find their home at Showtime Cards and Comics, the local expert on sports trading cards. Since its grand opening more than 20 years ago, Showtime has broadened its offerings to include the latest and greatest of trading card games. It’s become a place where two worlds collide, and fans of all flavors—be it sports fanatics or gaming gurus—can explore similar passions. For those interested in competitive gaming, Showtime’s weekly event schedule can be found on the store’s gaming Facebook page, ST Games and Comics.

Board games, miniatures & RPGs, oh my!

To prove that gaming really is for everyone, Tucson Games and Gadgets has two locations, and both are on a mission to cultivate beginning gamers and experienced veterans with a welcoming community and, of course, a bounty of games. TGG hosts a healthy assortment of demos and play-through sessions, so if you’re really stuck, there’s always someone—be it an employee or another customer—willing to show you the ropes for your chosen game. Have a thirst for gaming but no counter space to spare? TGG also offers private gaming rooms at no extra cost, so there’s always a place to have a blast.

Isle of Games will blow your mind with its knowledgeable staff and sheer diversity of products. Visitors can spend hours browsing shelves, before sitting down for a tabletop test-run. This inclusive store won’t hesitate to special order items that might be missing from its vast display, but it also throws in a twist of its own. Occasionally, the store will back a promising game in the Kickstarter phase, sharing exciting new projects with its customer base. For those interested in artistic ventures, the store hosts painting contests every two months—except instead of canvas, you’ll be working with miniatures.

Video games & online virtuosos

Cast aside those overpriced video-game chain stores in favor of a local treasure: Game Trader. Immerse yourself in the world of retro gaming, or find joy in modern technology—this store has bought, sold, and traded its way to the title of biggest independent video-game store in town. On top if its gleaming collection of retro games and consoles, Game Trader offers comprehensive diagnostics and first-rate repairs on devices that have seen better days. Or, if you’re looking for a refresher on old gear, you can upgrade your game with rapid-fire controller mods or jazz up your aesthetic with a custom controller.

Be the talk of the town when the AZ Game Truck rolls up to your party. This mobile gaming trailer, featuring a classy limousine-style interior, can park in any 50-foot space and simultaneously provides entertainment for up to 24 kids (or adults!). Six televisions, eight consoles, state-of-the-art sound systems, and full climate control provide the ultimate gaming experience on any platform. The best part is that each experience is customizable and includes the help of an expert gaming coach, so there’s no need to stress over any complicated planning.

Comic-book connoisseurs

Never miss a new release when you sign up for a comic book and magazine subscription at R-Galaxy. That’s right—this novelty toy and collectible store will set aside your favorite comics as they arrive hot off the press, and then let you know when they’re available for pickup. In store, you can sift through boxes of CDs, movies, posters, and games to find great deals on rare items. If you’d rather sample in bunches, R-Galaxy also maintains an impressive collection of more than 13,000 DVDs and Blu-ray disks available for rent.

Talk about award-winning style when you step into Heroes and Villains. The store has been awarded the title of Arizona Daily Star Readers’ Choice “Best Comic Book Store” for the past three years as well as The Tucson Weekly’s “Best Comic Book/Game Store” consecutively between 2009 and 2017. Heroes and Villains has made it a goal to share comics and gaming with the world while maintaining the highest standards in the trade. They take pride in offering an almost overwhelming selection of comic books as well as the usual game nights and tournaments.

Discover more of Tucson’s hidden gems in gorgeous murals and artwork.