Aberdeen role-playing games hub bringing Dungeons and Dragons to Union Street

Aberdeen role-playing fanatics are in for a treat after it was confirmed a new shop dedicated to tabletop roleplay gamers and trading card enthusiasts is to become the latest addition to Union Street.

The Thistle Tavern Games Hub is due to open in the former Virgin Money bank at 395 Union Street

The business has been set up by friends and former colleagues Stuart Robb and Andrew Rayner, and has been successfully trading online for more than a year, branching out to include board games and Dungeons and Dragons miniatures.

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With the help of two £20,000 Start Up Loans from the British Business Bank and DSL Business Finance, plus support from Our Union Street, Stuart and Andrew decided the time was right to move into physical premises.

Stuart is a senior product manager for a recruitment technology company, while Andrew is a senior business analyst for a payroll firm. Both travel around the world competing in lucrative trading card tournaments, with Andrew having recently competed in Los Angeles.

With the global trading card game market predicted to be worth $4.27billion by 2028, their aim is to create a Team Scotland, made up of like-minded enthusiasts who are also keen to play at national and international level.

“We know from the existing Geek Retreat store on Union Street that there is a very active community and there’s demand for a gaming hub, so we have decided now is the right time to move into premises,” said Stuart.

“We aim to appeal to professionals and those who already play but want to get better and meet new players who are into the same games.”

The shop will have retail space at the front, with rooms for hire at the back of the store for trading and gaming.

“We have been selling trading cards, such as Pokémon, online since April 2023, and we are excited to bring a space for gamers to the city centre. We chose the location as it’s close to the west end but within easy reach of the train and bus stations to help us attract more players from outside Aberdeen,” added Stuart.

“We decided not to add a café but instead to encourage visitors to use other outlets on Union Street and to spend time in the surrounding area. The market is considerable and we are looking forward to seeing where the Thistle Tavern Games Hub takes us.”

The unit will employ a full-time retail manager, creating several additional casual posts, with the aim of employing further permanent staff by the end of the year.

Bob Keiller, leader of Our Union Street, said: “It's great to see different types of businesses coming onto the street, including those that are activity based. It's important that we encourage different demographics to the city centre and we wish Stuart, Andrew and the team at Thistle Tavern Games Hub continued success in their new home.”

More than £100million is being invested to regenerate the city centre, with Our Union Street putting together a package of incentivesto attract new businesses.

Thistle Tavern Games Hub will open to the public on Saturday, June 29 and will be open from 4-11pm weekdays and extended hours at the weekend.