It seems that 1980 was the all time peak year for board wargaming, and Baltimore was the center of the industry and hobby. I gather that there has been a tradition in the U.S. of game stores providing in-store play, so presumably there would have been many stores in Baltimore at that time with people hanging out playing war games.

Is there any information on such available these days? I've been able to find some articles on games and companies from those days, but not on stores. The ideal would be detailed firsthand accounts, but even fragments like store names would be interesting.

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    In the 1980's there were a number of gamestores in the western suburbs of Minneapolis that sold war games. None of them had instore play. These days, almost any store in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area that sells collectible card games and/or wargames offers instore play.
    – John
    Commented Jul 11, 2017 at 14:54

1 Answer 1


In 1980, I had a job at a toy store in Columbia, MD that sold boardgames and RPGs, among many toys. This store, Patowmack Toys, had a branch in Baltimore at the Inner Harbor Mall. The name, I believe was "The Play is the Thing". Neither store offered in-store play.

I don't recall any stores in Baltimore at that time offering in-store play. Baltimore was a bit off my normal roaming ground, but I think I would have made an effort had I heard about such a store.

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    When I was in high school (in the late 1970s / early 1980s), I visited the Avalon-Hill offices in Baltimore with several of my wargaming classmates. A-H were very courteous to us and we play-tested the game that would eventually be sold as Rail Baron. We used to play D&D at Chimera Games in Rockville, MD, but it is long gone. Commented Jul 14, 2017 at 17:17

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