The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Game Vault offers creative community for gamers

3 min read
By COURTLAND LYLE There are few places where grown men are seen rolling dice, painting models and discussing the finer points of their war tactics. However, at the gaming store Game Vault, this is a common occurrence.


There are few places where grown men are seen rolling dice, painting models and discussing the finer points of their war tactics. However, at the gaming store Game Vault, this is a common occurrence.

Whether you are into role playing games, card games or tabletop miniature games, Game Vault is a cool opportunity for students that enjoy gaming to come together.

Located only five miles from the University of Mary Washington in Central Park, Game Vault is a hub for Fredericksburg gamers that has served the local gaming crowd for eight years.

However, though mainly a store, employee Zachary Caldwell describes Game Vault as more of a community than a place to shop.

“A gaming store should feel like a second home to gamers of all types, whether it’s the veteran ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ player or someone completely new to gaming and just wants to learn what ‘Magic the Gathering’ is,” said Caldwell.

Role playing games are structured mainly on the idea of character building. A game puts players’ own characters through a story with an outcome that is essentially determined by each player’s decisions. Miniature models are used to represent a player’s character and multisided dice determine the likelihood of a character successfully performing an action.

Tabletop miniature games share some mutual characteristics with many role playing games, such as involving dice and models. However, in tabletop games there is less of a set story to follow, and the number of miniatures used is greater than that of a role-playing action.

“Tabletop miniature games as being comparable to a customizable board game where you get to create and use your own pieces – It’s a giant board game with more complex rules,” said Caldwell.

Caldwell’s reference to creating pieces is based largely in the fact that most miniatures are supplied unassembled and unpainted. Creating your own miniature is a hugely popular and creative hobby in itself.

“Hobbying,” as it is called, provides an aspect of the game enjoyed by many gamers almost as much as playing the game itself. Game Vault stocks such hobby supplies as well, making it a one-stop shopping destination for every gamer’s needs.

However, gaming is not all about fantasy and magic. For the history lover, there is “Flames of War,” a game set in the World War II era. For the science fiction enthusiast, there is “Warmachine” or “Warhammer 40,000” and for those who prefer the classic fantasy-based games there is “Hordes” or “Warhammer Fantasy Battles.”

Card games are another main category of games supported by Game Vault. This particular type of game is based largely on collecting and trading. Card games are generally faster paced and simpler than role playing games and tabletop games, but still include a strategic component.

One of the main reasons an individual would choose to play at a gaming store as opposed to at home with video games is for the human interaction. While some video games can allow players to virtually interact online, tabletop role playing and card games allow for a very real connection to either one’s opponent or one’s teammate.

One of Game Vault’s patron customers, Eric Hansen, contrasted role playing games as being more of a creative outlet, saying that while a video game has a set story to follow, role playing games are more like “improv theater.”

In a video game, Hansen explained, one performs certain tasks to complete a static objective that is already programmed by the company that created the game. In an role playing games, however, the story and the way to complete it are determined almost entirely by those playing the game.

Both Hansen and Caldwell agree that one of the biggest appeals to gaming at Game Vault is the sense of community generated between customers and store employees alike.

“I met all my best friends here,” said Hansen, reinforcing the ties that are generated at Game Vault.