We’re approaching the 1-year anniversary of the first lockdown here in the UK, and well into the third iteration.
Geeky shops and hangouts have been closed for walk-ins for nearly a year. This put a lot of those businesses and workers in danger but it has a major impact on the geeky subculture in the city. These destinations are more than regular shops. They formed the basis for social activities and inspired friendship groups. They held events which brought us together to play, talk and bond over a mutual interest. Importantly, many of these places provide a safe space for those of us who need it.
As a result of these places closed to regular traffic. There is a danger that some may never reopen. We are losing so much more than just places to go to get the latest board game or geeky trinket. We risk losing a big part of what brings a massive part of the community together. This blog is the start of a new series where we show some love to those geeky business in and around Birmingham. We will be telling you what each business does, where they are, and how they can help you still get your geeky fix.
Wayland’s Forge (Digbeth)
Everything you need for tabletop gaming
Wayland’s Forge in The Custard Factory, Digbeth, has long been a paradise in Birmingham for the board game and tabletop geek.
They stock a huge range of board games from a variety of genres, from classics to the latest releases. Besides board games, their stock includes card games like: Magic the Gathering, Doom Town and the full range of Fantasy Flight Living Card Games (Star Wars, Game of Thrones and Call of Cthulhu); and miniatures and wargames from Games Workshop, Warmachine, Otherworld and much, much more.
In normal times they have space to play and host weekly tournaments for a range of games and skill levels.
The team at Wayland’s Forge are all friendly, passionate gaming geeks. If there’s something you’re looking for that’s not in stock, pick up the phone or drop them a message. They’ll do everything they can to get their hands on it for you.
What’s their status?
They’re open from 10 till 2 weekdays. You can order online, via messenger or over the phone for mail order or click and collect any time between 11 and 2. Collections will be from the front door or via the car park next to the building for minimal contact. They are also offering doorstep drop-offs to people in the local area for a small fee to cover travel.
Check out Wayland’s Forge here: http://www.waylandsforge.co.uk/
TokyoToys (City Centre)
Anime, Manga and Video Game Merchandise Bonanza.
TokyoToys on Corporation Street in Birmingham City Centre is like a small corner of the Cave of Wonders from Aladdin.
It’s filled floor to ceiling with geeky merchandise. It is your one-stop-shop for anime, manga, statues, figurines, gaming toys, plushies and merchandise.
Since it opened a few years ago, it’s become a staple on the high street and a landmark on the road map of geeky Birmingham. It’s a smaller space, but that adds to the kawaii aesthetic of this awesome little shop which will keep you browsing for hours.
What’s their status?
TokyoToys are closed until restrictions lift, but, they are operating business as usual online. They offer fast shipping worldwide on all products. Local geeks can choose to collect at the Birmingham store if they prefer.
In the meantime, if you’re missing your regular fix of anime, manga and general geekiness then head over to their YouTube channel where they’re uploading awesome videos weekly. These include top picks on products, unboxing and reaction videos.
Check out TokyoToys here: https://www.tokyotoys.com/
Bad Kitty (City Centre)
The brand new gaming shop and cafe.
Bad Kitty are anew business in Birmingham. They opened early in 2020, around the corner from TokyoToys on Cannon Street in Birmingham City Centre.
They’re a team of geeks who have worked to make the best hobby café/shop experience they can. On the shop front, they stock a range of role-playing and tabletop games from Games Workshop to A Song of Ice and Fir. All are usually sold at least 10% lower than RRP. They also stock paints, brushes and accessories like guides, novels, and dice. In normal times, the café downstairs serves fresh coffee from local Quarter Horse Coffee, and a selection of mouth-watering homemade cakes that change weekly.
The icing on the cake here though is their Gaming Room. A large space with comfy sofas and four gaming tables updated throughout the year with different setups. Whether you want to build, paint, play or just relax they have you covered.
What’s their status?
Bad Kitty is very much still open and working hard through the lockdown. While you can’t visit due to the lockdown, they are still operating business as usual online. They offer curbside collection locally and shipment anywhere on all their products. If you have a sweet tooth, then they also do their delicious homemade cakes made to order. Perfect whether you’re celebrating a lockdown birthday or just needing a weekend treat.
Check out Bad Kitty’s here: https://www.badkittyshop.com/
And that is that for this blog. Check back next week for part two where we shine the spotlight on another three awesome geeky shops you can still support and enjoy during the lockdown.
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