Monday, July 28, 2008
Oakland Field Trip 2: Just play it cool, boy!
We walked to Old Downtown Oakland with our East Bay host, the brilliant polymath Matt Hubbard above (click here for his politics and arts blog "Lotsa 'Splainin' To Do").
After a nice lunch outdoors at a brewery on Washington Street, Matt took us to Endgame, his favorite retail establishment in Oakland.
The store specializes in games of all sorts, including these 40 versions of Monopoly...
...and bizarre variations on "Trivial Pursuit."
What really sets the place apart, however, is the sense of community...
...which meets in person on the airy second floor.
"It's like a gay bar for nerds," Matt explained. "We can be whoever we want to be without shame."
Matt was most interested in a wave of new board games coming out of Europe, mostly Germany, that were exquisite fun and beautifully designed.
Another section of upstairs was devoted to role-playing games that included elaborate model sets. Matt used to design video games in the 1980s and now teaches math at a number of colleges in the East Bay. "I helped screw up a whole generation, so teaching feels like some kind of penance."
Endgame really is genuinely cool.