Tabletop gaming shop to open in Southington

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SOUTHINGTON — A new shop on Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike is looking to be the area home for tabletop games such as Warhammer 40,000, Pokémon, X-Wing and Dungeons & Dragons.

A Wolcott couple who have worked in the hobby and retail industries plan to open The Raven’s Nest in the plaza at 2211 Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike on March 1. While customers can buy the miniatures, cards, paints, books and accessories for their favorite games, Eric and Christina DeVeau want to build the gaming community through tournaments and painting competitions.

“You come in, you meet people, you become friends with them,” Eric DeVeau said.

Tabletop games

The DeVeaus converted the former appliance storage space into a gaming shop with shelves, tables and counters but were finishing a different type of painting on Wednesday. The two were working on miniature figures that will be available for demonstration games of the popular Warhammer 40,000 and Age of Sigmar.

Both are played with miniature figures representing armies. Players buy the figures unpainted and unassembled, which can be daunting for some but an enjoyable challenge for others like the DeVeaus.

The couple wants to have fully painted and prepared starter boxes for Warhammer 40,000 and Age of Sigmar so they can show new customers how the games work.

With tabletop games, one goal is to show off painting and model-making skills, Eric DeVeau said. In addition to the figures, he has pieces that look like buildings made out of soda cans, Styrofoam and a Tang container.

“Part of the hobby is trying to repurpose things,” he said.

Other games, such as the card-based Magic: The Gathering or the prepainted Star Wars space ship game X-Wing, require less preparation. Most of the space at The Raven’s Nest is taken up by tables for card games.

Wizards of the Coast, the company that owns Magic: The Gathering, is particular about how retailers display their product and require a shop to hold several tournaments to prove customer interest before delivering preorders on new card sets.

Connecting gamers

Christine DeVeau was the store manager of Brass Dragon in Waterbury, a hobby shop similar to the one the couple is setting up. She already knew Eric DeVeau when she worked there, but on Wednesday joked he came in to buy Magic cards in part because she was there.

Christine DeVeau said she’s using her experience at Brass Dragon, which closed, to avoid business mistakes. Eric DeVeau was an assistant store manager at a Sears in Waterbury before the store closed.

Many tabletop gamers play with a few friends regularly, but don’t have too many options for finding a wider community. The DeVeaus hope to give them a chance to find others with a similar interest.

“There’s not a lot of these stores, but there are lot of players,” Christine DeVeau said.

“People travel 30, 40 minutes just to have a community to play with,” Eric DeVeau said.

Some games, such as Pokémon, tend to draw a younger audience. Christine DeVeau said gaming shops are a good place for kids to get away from screens and play face-to-face with other people.

“We have three kids, and they love their tablets,” she said. Tabletop games “are something to get them off screen time.”

‘A nice match’

Games and tournaments can last for hours and the DeVeaus were glad to be in a plaza with several dining options. They’ve met with owners of South Town Apizza, Salsas Southwest Bar and Grill and Zheng’s Chinese Restaurant to introduce themselves and arrange specials for their customers.

Gary Mayette, manager of South Town Apizza, hopes the gaming shop will bring more customers to the plaza.

“They’re definitely going to help out,” Mayette said.

The Raven’s Nest will be open from 3 to 9 p.m. on weekdays and all day on the weekends. Eric DeVeau said hours may change depending on customer preference.

Ravens represent good fortune in mythology, Christine DeVeau said explaining the shop name. She and her husband are hoping the store will be a “nest and home” to gamers.
Twitter: @JBuchananRJ

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