25 Mar 2013

Geek's Guide to Cardiff: Rules of Play

This is the first installment of The Geek's Guide to Cardiff -  a series of showcases for the best places to get your geek on in the Welsh capital. My first stop - Rules of Play, an independent gaming shop in Castle Arcade, Cardiff. There are more details (opening times, contact details and a map) at the end of this post.

Rules of Play has been my go-to place for all things gaming since June 2012 (neatly coinciding with the airing of the Munchkin episode of Wil Wheaton's Tabletop). Since then I've dived into the world of board, card and dice games, and I've added half a dozen new games to my collection.

Rules of Play are also a sponsor of the #ShopCardiff project, where from March 25th - April 1st 2013 people are encouraged to do most, if not all, of their shopping at local, independent shops (you can do this even if you don't live in Cardiff). If you pop into Rules of Play and mention #ShopCardiff during that week, you get a free Rules of Play canvas bag with a £20 spend, plus a chance to win a £10 gift voucher!

I had a chat with Ian, one of the founders of Rules of Play, for some more info about the shop:


What were the beginnings of Rules of Play?

Rules of Play
was set up by Ian, Michelle and Steve in 2010 when they discovered that their local games shop was closing. In the space of a few (occasionally frantic) weeks, we went from thinking "its a real shame that there won't be a games shop in Cardiff" to opening!

Ian and Steve have known each other from school days, and used to regular while away the hours playing games, while Michelle was introduced to Carcassonne while travelling Europe almost 10 years ago, and hasn't looked back since!

What are your favourite games to play?

Along with staff members Adam and Huw, we all love playing games, and between all five of us, we pretty much play a little of everything. Its really hard to pick favourites, as these tend to change depending on what the latest games we've bought is, and also who we're playing with. One thing that we can all agree on though is that it would be great to have more time to play games!

Have you seen an effect on the popularity of certain games since Wil Wheaton's Tabletop has gained popularity online?

Tabletop with Wil Wheaton has been fabulous in introducing a whole new audience to games, and we've seen a lot of people come into the shop after watching online. Tabletop's emphasis on games as a fun social experience, while avoiding any elitism or snobbery is very much in line with our own approach to introducing people to games, and we're all big fans.

Any plans for Tabletop Day?

For International Tabletop Day on the 30th March, we'll be at The Gate Arts & Community Centre in Roath, Cardiff. We'll be encouraging people to drag along some friends for a fun night of games. As well as bringing along copies of a lot of the games that people will have seen on Tabletop, we're hoping to have a few surprises in store too, and it should be a great night. We'll actually be sharing the venue with the Wales Goes Pop festival, so its a great opportunity to play some great games, and also see some fab local bands.

Are the events that you run aimed at gamers in general, or do you have separate events for newbies and for experienced gamers?

We put a lot of effort into making Rules of Play accessible and welcoming to all. Whether you're a seasoned gamer, or if you're still having nightmares about distant family feuds over Christmas games of Monopoly, we'll do our best to find something special for you. One of the best things about working here is seeing people really enjoying games that we've recommended to them.

We all feel really privileged to be working with something that we all feel so passionate about, and run a lot of events around Cardiff (check our Facebook page for more details!) in which we try and introduce people to the wonder of board games, while also making sure that we bring along some of the latest new releases for more experienced players. We're proud to have been the first stepping stone for many people into the wonder of board games, and have made a lot of friends along the way.

What are your plans for 2013 with Rules of Play?

As we approach our third birthday, we're looking to expand the shop, and increase the number of events that we run locally. While its been hard work, its been really rewarding, and its been great to have such a positive response to our efforts. We're constantly learning and improving, and won't rest until we've made Cardiff the board game capital of the UK!

Rules of Play
29 Castle Arcade
CF10 1BW
Tel: 029 2022 1695
E-mail: games@rulesofplay.co.uk
Rules of Play Facebook page
Opening times: Mon - Sat (10 - 6); Sun (11 - 4)

View The Geek's Guide to Cardiff in a larger map


  1. Very cool! Games shops are just so rare these days. Hope this one continues to thrive.

    1. So far so good - I've sunk enough money into it to put their kids through college :P

  2. Looks like an awesome shop and I loved seeing Rory's Story Cubes in the picture with Munchkin...two of my favorite pastimes :)

    Great review!

    1. Munchkin is my favourite board games - I've not played Story Cubes though.

  3. Man, how awesome is Tabletop, right? And that shop looks awesome! Also, Cardiff always reminds me of Torchwood

    1. Nice - though Doctor Who is better ;) Plus, most of BBC's Sherlock is being filmed in Cardiff AS I TYPE THIS!

  4. OHMYGOD!!!! Why did I never twig that you were a fellow Cardiffian??? *dies* You've been on my blog roll for TIME!!

    Anyway... awesome post. I love all the quirky little shops in our arcades. :D

    1. Thanks, Amber :) Thanks to the ShopCardiff week, I'm discovering a lot more hidden gems in the nooks and crannies of the city :)


  5. Actually, now that I think about it, I have a vague memory of posting my surprise about a fellow Welshie here before.*blush* I'm a wee bit scatter-brained...


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