Board games have a special kind of magic that can transfer you to a whole other world, so step into the Utrecht own portal to the dimension of board games: the Oudegracht! Alongside this historic canal there’s four different board game stores, all offering their own experience and specializations.
Oudegracht 230 A
We start out with the most visually present board game shop on the list: The Joker. Behind the baby blue façade, garnished with a few giant pairs of dice, is a nice selection of board games. The Joker focuses primarily on Dutch games, but what really sets them apart is their high quality second hand games.
Our next stop is Subcultures, on the other side of the canal. Subcultures is definitely the largest shop on the list, with two whole floors of wonder. The main floor is stuffed to the brim with all sorts of board games, stuffed in every nook and cranny of an interior straight out of Alice in Wonderland. Every wall covered with lopsided antique furniture, toppled on top of each other up to the ceiling. Apart from board games this wonderland also offers a different array of adventures, in the shape of a full basement floor of LARP Gear and an Escape Room tucked away in the back.
Lab is most known for the interesting looking labyrinth that they have displayed in the window. What adventures can one find here? Lab specializes in Warhammer and other miniatures, on which you can work on the large wooden table that is the center piece of the store. They also carry some tabletop roleplaying books and (oddly enough) a basket of hand puppets.
The most inconspicuous in this list has to be NeverNeverLand, tucked away between two larger stores, the only visual hint of its existence being an elaborately illustrated crest with a golden N on its storefront. NeverNeverLand is like a portal back in time, with beautiful wooden chess sets, they also have a great puzzle selection and a small book case of Manga books. As eclectic as their offerings are, so is their board game selection, which offers a variety of English and Dutch games.
Photo’s: Daniel Versteegh