My Favorite Spots: Guardian Games

There are a few well known spots in Portland. Powell’s Books. Deschutes Brewery. Stumptown. Voodoo Donuts. All of these are great places that rightly deserve their reputations. But there’s one that is frequently left off this list of venerable institutions in PDX and to me that’s a damn shame.

I’ve been going to Guardian Games for years now. They’re my favorite place to go when I want to get out of the apartment and kill some time. For those who don’t know, Guardian Games is the largest game store in the Portland metro area. It’s located in an old warehouse in the SE industrial district. 

But that’s a very short description of the place. Once you’re inside, it’s so full of fun stuff that they have to stack it up to the rafters. The entire left side of the store is full of board-games. More than I can count for sure. They get more every day and have a knowledgeable staff to help you select them. The right side has more varied stuff. Miniature battle games, my hobby of choice, take up a significant portion of the other half of the store as do tabletop RPGs, Legos and all sorts of other stuff.

The entire floor space is covered in tables for you to lay out your stuff and play games. It’s popular so you usually have to make reservations. Everyone there is really friendly and can help you understand what games they’re playing.

One of my favorite parts is the bar they keep in back with the game library. Board games are actually very personal and also expensive. So it isn’t great if you go and buy one and end up not liking it. The back room though has a copy of just about every game that they sell for you to try out before you buy it. You can also do so while enjoying a cold beer back there.


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