PHOTOS

Gamers unite: Table top gaming on the rise across Macarthur

For a long time 'nerds' of all kinds hid on society's fringes but thanks to events like Supernova and characters like Seth Cohen, nerd culture has fast become mainstream.

The same can now be said for table top games.

Be it boardgames, Pokemon cards, Warhammer, Magic: The Gathering or Dungeons and Dragons; there is no doubt the table top gaming community has exploded in recent years.

Macarthur local Benn Banasik has watched gaming soar in popularity across the region from his store in Macarthur Square.

Now the Gametraders owner has opened a new location in Narellan, known as the Game Center.

He said he created the gaming haven in an effort to provide the growing community of gamers with a place to play.

"Gaming spaces are inclusive and that is my philosophy - that it is open for every single person, no matter your background or experience," he said.

"In my time, this is the most popular I have ever seen gaming be. Especially trading cards and role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons.

"I think that is due to popular culture, like Stranger Things which mentions Dungeons and Dragons a lot."

The new store has also been granted WPN Premier Status, which means the store will set an example for other gaming locations across the world.

It will also allow the store to host state and national tournaments, as well as have access to exclusive stock.

Mr Banasik said Game Center was the only store in NSW granted this ranking.

"There are only four stores in Australia with this status and the others are in Adelaide, Canberra or the Gold Coast," he said.

"This will really put us on the map.

"We'll be able to host state or national competitions, and that is beyond my wildest dreams."

Dungeons and Dragons player Brady Tasker said Game Center would give gamers like himself a new place to gather.

"The thing that I love about this community is that is so diverse and welcoming for everyone," the Campbelltown resident said.

"I am openly gay and I play a drag queen bard.

"The best thing about Dungeons and Dragons is that you can play any character you want, male, female, asexual, it doesn't matter.

"You can be and play whoever you want to be with no judgement."

Ambarvale resident and fellow Dungeons and Dragons player Jessica Grinson said the game was an ideal escape.

"People work long hours, they spend eight or more hours a day in front of a screen, but in Dungeons and Dragons we aren't looking at phones or screens so it's a great way for people to de-stress," she said.

"You can walk out of your office and become an elf barabarian for a few hours if you wanted too.

"It's a great escape because you can have fun and take some of that stress off of your mind."

Ms Grinson said the game's popularity had sky-rocketed in recent years.

She said the Covid-19 pandemic had driven more people to the game.

"Every time I sit down at table with a group everyone is so welcoming," she said.

"Whether you're an avid player or you've never even rolled a dice before, everyone is welcome."