At exactly 9am on the 28th of March, Wayland Games Southend first opened its doors to the general public. Though I didn’t manage to make it down in time to see the shutters rise, I did manage to visit later in the day just to see what it was all about… and part with some cash, naturally!
Arriving at the storefront (a short walk from the bus station), I was welcomed by the sight of the words “Wayland Games” depicted in blue and orange and on a white background. A simple sign, certainly nothing too flashy, but friendly and somehow inclusive. This doesn’t seem like your average tabletop gaming store. It genuinely seems like it’s open for everyone.
I admit I’m still a novice to wargaming, but I’ve often felt that some gaming stores come across as cliquey and even unwelcoming to potential new players. I suppose it comes with the territory when it’s such a niche market and one that’s so often misunderstood.
That’s not the impression I got from Wayland Games Southend when I first walked inside. The atmosphere was friendly, warm and just the right amount of geeky.
Products line the walls, placed neatly into individual alcoves. I love to see things in their proper places (yeah, I’m weird), so it was truly joyful to see everything laid out so neatly with everything easy to find.
Down one side, Warmachine, Malifaux, Infinity and products from Mantic Games. Down the other, Games Workshop (Warhammer Fantasy, 40K and Lord of the Rings), Magic: The Gathering and a section for clippers, paints and basing materials.
In the centre are three tables, decked out and ready for gaming. In the back, there’s a small, well lit alcove, perfect for sitting and painting. I’m told both will be available to book in advance.
It really is a nice layout and there’s plenty of room to manoeuvre comfortably without treading on toes or getting in people’s way.
But, like a ship without its crew, a store is nothing without its staff and from my experience, Wayland Games has some of the best.
I’ll admit here that I’m biased. I know the guys personally and they really are lots of fun to talk to and very dedicated to the hobby. These are people who have been playing for years and can even teach veterans a trick or two.
Of course, no open day is complete without a few special offers and Wayland Games Southend had those in droves.
Vouchers were sent to anyone that’s made a purchase from the website with three very tempting offers: buy two blisters and get a third for free, buy a starter pack and get a free blister and 10% off of purchases exceeding £100.
I personally fell for the first one and came away with some great new miniatures for Warmachine.
They also had 20% off of Games Workshop products for the day (which I hear is extended until tomorrow as well).
I also heard rumour of a raffle with money prizes, but I wasn’t able to stick around for that.
Overall, I was incredibly impressed with Wayland Games Southend. It really is a very welcoming place (I cannot stress that enough!) that I hope will draw in a new generation of tabletop gamers. It’s also a place I could easily see myself visiting again, maybe even frequenting, though the Hockley centre remains much closer to me personally.
I’m excited to see how things will go with the store and what developments might follow it, should it prove successful. Whatever the outcome, I wish them the best of luck and look forward to visiting again.
One final note, for those who don’t know, Wayland Games Southend now inhabits the site of the previous Games Workshop which is now located across the street. It’s a strange sight, seeing both Wayland Games and Games Workshop opposite one another. It would be great to see the two flourish together.
Many thanks to the staff of Wayland Games Southend for letting me take and use these pictures on the blog!