Photo courtesy of Thirangie Jayatilake

AD Secrets: Back to Games

In this week's AD Secrets, discover a board games shop where you can purchase or play with different board games for free.

Three foam guns were pointed at my head. I joked about the worth of my friendships to my friends as they continued to point their guns at me. I now had a choice. I could choose to duck and not get hit, or I could choose to stand and discover if the guns held to my head came with a bullet or an empty cartridge. Ca$h ‘n Gun$, the board game we were playing, was fairly simple. The goal of the game was to earn as much cash as you could while receiving bullet cards along the way to take out your opponents.
Back to Games in Shams Boutik Mall on Al Reem Island is a game shop where you can buy games or sit down to play games for free. There is neither an entrance fee nor any obligation to buy anything. You can simply walk in, ask for a specific game or ask the staff for recommendations, sit down and play for as long as you want. You only have to pay for the cab ride.
Not having to pay for the experience was something Isaiah Mwamba, Class of 2018, enjoyed.
“I actually didn’t know such a place existed … We are students, we don’t like spending a lot of money on these things,” said Mwamba.
“It was a pleasant surprise that we have something like that in Abu Dhabi,” added Mateo Juvera Molina, Class of 2018.
The walls in the shop are lined with shelves full of board games. There are a few tables placed in the middle of the shop where you can sit down to play while literally surrounded by games. They are organized by theme and each section has multicolored shelves. The sections include classics, family, friends, history, fantasy and sci-fi. “I’m impressed by the amount of games they have on sale,” said Molina.
The staff are also friendly — whether you are too lazy to read the instructions or simply don’t understand how a game works, the staff are more than willing to patiently explain the rules.
The radio played in the background as we continued to play Ca$h ‘n’ Gun$. At one point, we were the only customers there. Even when other customers walked in, the calm atmosphere was never interrupted. It’s certainly a perfect spot that one can visit to spend time with friends in an uncrowded environment.
“It was a relaxing environment,” added Mwamba. Unfortunately, no food is permitted inside, but there are cafes just outside the shop in case you get hungry between games. The games store also sells special edition cards, dice, puzzles, glue, plush toys, books on how to make your own games, role-playing game books and collectable miniatures like Star Wars ships.
“It goes beyond the commonly known games and it has stuff for role playing games too,” Molina explained, using the game Dungeons and Dragons as an example. “It’s a role playing game with a lot of rules and expansions and it all depends on your imagination. There’s a game master that runs the games and has a story and campaign each session. These books are helpful as guidelines for game masters to craft the campaigns.”
“It’s certainly a good place to spend time with my friends. I would want to go back. Fun. Cheap. Less stressful for a night out. No advance planning required. You don’t get to spend a lot and you get to have fun,” Mwamba said.
Thirangie Jayatilake is Deputy Features Editor. Email her at
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