Tabletop games are experiencing a renaissance of sorts, especially among grownups, thanks in large part to the surging popularity of "German-style" board games — games where you're more likely to have to manage a railroad company or build up a colonial empire than, say, blow up your opponent's battleship. Although many of these new games originate from Europe, East Bay board game aficionados can get their geek on right here in Oakland, preferably at Dr. Comics and Mr. Games. The Piedmont Avenue store carries plenty of childhood favorites in addition to more complex modern classics like Dominion or Settlers of Catan, so it's perfect for both hard-core gamers and gift-hunting grandmothers. While other game stores might have a bigger selection, what sets Dr. Comics and Mr. Games apart is the friendly, super-knowledgeable staff. Just tell one of the store's board game specialists what you like, and they'll give you three or four spot-on recommendations for games you probably haven't even heard of yet. The store also has a great rental program that allows you try a board game out for a week at roughly 10 percent of its cover price. If you do decide to purchase the game later, they'll refund the rental fee.
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