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Dungeons, Dragons, Magic, And More At These 4 Westchester Comic And Hobby Shops

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A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, was a place where people young and old came together for a common love…

Well, not really that long ago—more like last Friday night. And not really that far away either—more like in comic and gaming shops all around Westchester. United by their love of trading card games (TCG) and role playing games (RPG), self-proclaimed “nerds” of all ages come together at these shops that host a bevy of weekly gaming nights and special events. 

Modern Myths New York

822 Mamaroneck Ave, Mamaroneck
(914) 630-4246; www.modern-myths.com

Modern Myths specializes in RPGs—and, more specifically, Dungeons & Dragons—which makes it the perfect place for the drama club kid or the theatrical adult. Since 2012, this independent retail store has been selling comic books, graphic novels, and hobby games and hosting weekly events for different games—including Magic: The Gathering on Fridays, and board game nights on Saturdays—but owner Jim Crocker’s personal favorite is Dungeons & Dragons Encounters on Wednesdays from 7 pm to 9 pm. 

“D&D isn’t about winning so much as creating a really engaging story that you share with the other players,” says Crocker. Dungeons & Dragons isn’t your typical board game—even the dice used to resolve random story events are uniquely shaped (20-sided, 12-sided, 10-sided, 8-sided, 6-sided, and 4-sided). The game relies on the skill of a storyteller, or “Dungeon Master,” to create the imaginary world that the players occupy. The Dungeon Master is the driving force of the game, weaving together a narrative and setting, while the players, each playing a different character, work together in a fantasy milieu to battle enemies, search for treasure, and complete daring rescues. 

“RPGs are my own personal passion, and my games tend to be in demand, if that’s not too immodest of me,” says Crocker. With dedicated players returning weekly to participate in these stories, Crocker sees the store as a safe and structured place for those who might normally struggle with outside social situations. “We’ve all seen The Big Bang Theory, so it’s not a huge secret that people who grew up worrying more about being smart than being social—and I can say this as one of them—can have trouble forming these connections on their own,” says Crocker. “The single most important thing we do is create a catalyst for relationships, providing context and a platform that eases people into the games. The socializing just naturally follows.” 


Undiscovered Realm is the area’s go-to place to play Magic: The Gathering. 


Undiscovered Realm

44 Central Ave, Hartsdale 
(914) 437-8278; www.undiscoveredrealm.com

With its bold red brick façade and bright yellow Star Wars typeface, Undiscovered Realm is quite conspicuous, sandwiched between a Catholic elementary school and Korean church on Central Avenue in Hartsdale. With a selection of vinyl toys, action figures, and rare collectibles, Undiscovered Realm is a gamer’s paradise. 

Despite being just 3 years old, Undiscovered Realm is arguably Westchester’s premier Magic: The Gathering store, boasting a large stock of cards and a loyal player base. For those not fluent in nerd, Magic is a TCG in which two or more players act as wizards, or “Planeswalkers,” and engage in battle by attacking their opponents using weapon and spell cards from their strategically chosen deck. Players meticulously build their decks through trades and set releases every few months. “Magic is very much like a game of chess or poker—you can learn it in a few hours, but you literally spend the rest of your life mastering it,” says store co-owner Chris Wilcock. “With new cards coming out every few months, it always shakes things up and allows you room to improve.” 

Undiscovered Realm’s loyal following meets multiple times a week, but their biggest turnout is always for Friday Night Magic. “Friday nights are when most players come out,” says Wilcock. “We’re frequently open until 4 or 5 in the morning on weekends,” which is when, sitting arm-to-arm at long white tables, players ranging in age from 7 to 70 engage in friendly combat. But this amicable atmosphere takes a darker turn during tournaments with big prizes on the line, usually the weekend after set releases. On such nights, players compete in a tense and taxing atmosphere for up to $1,500 in prizes, knowing, as Wilcock says, “One mistake can make the difference between success and failure in the tournament.”

Wilcock’s personal attachment to the game began in 1995 when he started playing Magic at the now-closed Dragon’s Den comic store in Yonkers’ Cross County Shopping Center, where he met his business partner, co-owner Ralph Navarra. “I wanted to have a place where kids could meet some of their best friends that they’d spend the next 20 years and beyond with,” says Wilcock. “And who knows, maybe even open their own business together
one day.” 

TreatStation

21 S Division St, Peekskill
(914) 788-4141; www.treatstation.com

Peekskill’s TreatStation is the perfect shop for both the nostalgic hobbyist and teenage gamer. The store, which owner Tim Trewhella opened in 2005, showcases a model railway that’s reminiscent of the Lionel sets from the 1940s and 1950s. True to its name, the shop sells candy by the pound and makes fresh milkshakes, sundaes, and root beer floats, which many customers enjoy during the store’s gaming nights and Magic tournaments. The shop’s clientele for tournaments runs on the younger side, with ages ranging from 12 to 25, providing a casual environment that allows new players to learn and improve. “The older kids are really great about teaching new kids how to play and helping with strategy,” says Trewhella. “It’s particularly fun for kids who may be nervous about competing in a competitive tournament.”

Trewhella is a longtime Magic fan and casual competitor in the tournaments (held Fridays at 7 pm and 10 pm) who sees these weekly gatherings as an opportunity to bring people together. “By offering a comfortable place to play, we’ve built a community where the kid from the drama club can take on the kid from the wrestling team,” says Trewhella. “More importantly in Westchester, a stockbroker’s kid sits down to play with a kid who stocks shelves at Walmart. It’s a level playing field where kids have fun without being judged.”

The Spider’s Web

887A Yonkers Ave, Yonkers 
(914) 709-8787

Feeling nostalgic for the days when comic books reigned supreme and comic book shops were really just about comics? So was comic collector and enthusiast Paul Borrero when he opened The Spider’s Web in May 2013.

Known for its wide variety of comic books ranging from well-known brands like DC and Marvel to indie publishers, The Spider’s Web caters to comic lovers by providing a special subscription service, called the “pull list,” for regular customers who don’t want to miss the new issues of their favorite comics. For these devoted fans, The Spider’s Web holds weekly comic release nights every Wednesday, during which loyal readers come together to discuss characters and plot lines, and exchange comic recommendations. The shop’s calendar also includes visits from various comic writers and artists.

Hoping to foster a new generation of comic devotees, The Spider’s Web frequently gives away free comics to younger fans and holds kid-friendly events, including DVD release nights, pizza parties, and visits from costumed characters like Batman, Spider-Man, and Mickey Mouse. “I have kids as young as 3 years old coming into the store; I give them a comic to read so they can build their learning skills and enjoy a good story,” says Borrero. “But as we become adults, we understand the characters better and we can relate to some of these superheroes.” 

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