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Gateway To Gamers Paradise

Nowadays, when most people hear the word gamer, visions of teenage boys catatonically staring at their television, all the while their thumbs blazing across a controller come to mind. You could be easily forgiven for stereotyping, after all, in today’s technologic and electronic driven world, it may be easy to write off board games as a relic of a not too distant past, but you would be sadly mistaken. Board games and the likes of it are big. In fact they are a multi-million dollar industry big, and now its fans throughout our area have something to smile about. Game Master Games, a sanctuary for the board gaming community recently opened at 954 South Broadway in Hicksville.

David VanderWerf has been playing games like chess and Monopoly since he was four years old. VanderWerf was such a pro that his friends would regularly ask him to teach them how to play games that they just bought. Their view was why read the instructions, when you could just ask VanderWerf. This is how he realized his passion in life; he wanted to teach people how to play games.

By age 14, VanderWerf had a plan of action. He asked himself, “If I can teach someone to play a game, will they buy it?”

He was so convinced they would, that he began looking for places to lease so he could open a retail store. Alas like most 14-year-olds, VanderWerf did not have the money necessary, and had to push his dreams aside.

During college, he worked as a dishwasher to pay the bills. He moved his way up and eventually became a general manager of a restaurant after working in the service industry for over 18 years.

In 2008 VanderWerf was finally able to realize his childhood dream when he opened a store called Game Table in Mineola. Game Table was a place where people could come and play games with fellow players. There were games and accessories available for purchase, and VanderWerf was always there, ready to teach anyone that asked.

Gaming can get intense, and at some point the players were going to get hungry. Customers were bringing in food from all over, and VanderWerf’s staff was left cleaning up the mess. He realized it would make more business sense, and be more convenient for customers if he sold the food himself. Years of restaurant experience, and a childhood dream of teaching games, harmoniously clicked together.

After his five-year lease for Game Table came to an end, VanderWerf and his business partner, who also happens to be his brother, decided to open Game Master Games in Hicksville, and at the same time opened Game Master Grill in Mineola.

At Game Master Grill customers can come in and learn to play a variety of games like Zombie Dice or Quoridor in minutes while they wait for their food. If you like the game, it’s right there, available for purchase. If you really have a good time, then Game Master Games in Hicksville is the place to go.

Business is growing at this gaming sanctum, and it’s not just because of young men. Thirty percent of the crowd consists of women, and even senior citizens are getting in on the action. One popular game amongst the baby boomer generation is the World War II themed Axis and Allies. Trading card, miniature, and role-playing games, are all part of the culture here as well.

When you think miniature games, think of board games, only bigger. Gamers purchase unfinished pieces, and then paint them to perfection. Instead of a playing on a predesigned board, the players make their own landscapes. It’s just as much a creative effort, as it is a strategic one.

Antonio Garufim who regularly comes in to play miniature games, said, “You need space, tables, and maps; this place is great because I can play with other people, and if I need new miniatures, dice, or paint, it’s all here.”

Jared Perlman, another long-time customer said, “I got my start gaming at the Gaming Table, where I discovered, that there were other games besides Yahtzee.”

On an almost daily basis this unique store runs casual play events, learn how to play events, and tournaments, which only cost a few bucks to enter.    

VanderWerf said, “The whole purpose is to get people to sit down face to face, learn something new, talk to each other, and experience something different. We believe that this is the real social network.”

Game Master Games will bring back feelings of nostalgia, community, and most importantly fun. Visit or call 516-597-5555 for more information.