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Edinburgh Gaming – A Guide to Gaming in Auld Reekie

Edinburgh has a thriving gaming community (both online and off), with three Universities and a fairly localised population. I’ve spent a lot of Saturday afternoons in Edinburgh playing RPGs at ORC, the Open Roleplaying Community, and also participate in a few games outside of there. Although the city is small, there’s a lot of Edinburgh gaming groups – and a lot of games/software companies.

You don’t need to have joined the ORC website to play, although I think it’s worth joining. I’d likely say that anyway :), being the site Admin. If you run a group, shop or other Edinburgh gaming-related resource that you’d like featured on the Edinburgh Gaming page and would like a link added feel free to contact me. This Edinburgh Gaming page has been very popular over the last few years, and while it may not be definitive, I hope it is of use. If you can’t find a place, put the postcode into Google Maps or similar.

With that in mind, I’m looking at setting up a RP Haven branch in Edinburgh. A proper club night and venue. Register your interest for the Planned Edinburgh branch at https://mailchi.mp/23690cd7dd43/rphaven!

Note: The telephone numbers listed are UK-based. Venues marked PAY TO PLAY VENUE usually require all players to pay a fee, but allow games of any kind to be run: board games, RPGs, or war-games. Clubs may require a membership fee or one-off payment. If there’s anything wrong or dated, let me know!

Edinburgh Gaming Shops

A few shops (or stores) of interest to the Edinburgh gaming enthusiasts – whether they are visiting, or have recently moved to the city. Those listed as PAY TO PLAY VENUE allow games to be played but there will be a fee. They usually have a lot more space to play because of this.

  • Black Lion. Based at 90 Buccleuch Street, Edinburgh EH8 9NH (tel: 0131 667 2128) or via email. A non-affiliated independent Edinburgh gaming store selling a wide range of miniatures, collectable card games (CCGs), board games, and roleplaying games (RPGs). A map to the shop, near Edinburgh University, can be found here.
  • Blackwell’s Booksellers, South Bridge, 53-62 South Bridge, Edinburgh (tel: 0131 622 8222). Email: edinburgh@blackwell.co.uk. Blackwell’s have a large board-game section, as well as fantasy and SF fiction sections. They have a large RPG and boardgame section and run games nights – see https://blackwells.co.uk/bookshop/events/ PAY TO PLAY VENUE
  • The Edinburgh Games Hub, 101 Lauriston Place, Edinburgh, EH3 9JB. As well as space to play and a library of board games, they also sell board games and RPGs. PAY TO PLAY VENUE
  • Geek Retreat, 30 Nicolson Square, Edinburgh EH8 9BX. Games cafe running various nights of D&D and RPGs, Yu-gi-oh, and Magic the Gathering.
  • Marionville Models, Appleton Park Way, Livingston, EH54 7EZ (tel: 01506 429 914). Stockists of wh40k miniatures and GW painting materials, as well as drones and other RC vehicles.
  • Mox in the Hole, 18 Lochrin Buildings, EH3 9NB (tel: 0131 466 5465). Running/selling D&D games (including Adventurer’s League as Edinburgh RPG Guild), CCGs etc. PAY TO PLAY VENUE
  • Murphy’s Vault, 8 St Peters Buildings, Edinburgh, EH3 9PG (tel: 0131 221 9130). Selling CCGs, RPGs and board-games. Plus space to play with up to 5 gaming tables, and also run some D&D games. PAY TO PLAY VENUE
  • Red Dice Games, 125/2b Great Junction Street, EH6 5JB, Edinburgh, United Kingdom. Located in the basement of the Spilt Milk Cafe. “Red Dice Games is a retail company specialising in the hobby games market, not computer/console games. We provide a range of products through our online store at competitive prices.” PAY TO PLAY VENUE
  • Warhammer (Games Workshop) have a store at 136 High Street, Edinburgh, Midlothian, EH1 1QS (tel: 0131 220 6540). They sell war games, miniatures, and board games, concentrating on their own brands – Citadel and Games Workshop. A map to the shop (near the Royal Mile) can be found here.
  • Wonderland Models. 97 & 101 Lothian Road, Edinburgh, EH3 9AN (tel: 0131 229 6428, or 0131 229 0797 for mail order enquiries). Stockists of models and modelling materials, as well as drones and other RC vehicles.

There’s a number of other shops of note – useful for props (like the Gecko Gifts leather-bound journals) or research (sci-fi bookshops like Forbidden Planet), so I’ve listed them here.

  • Deadhead Comics. Independent comic and collectables retailer (no RPG or miniatures), open from Monday to Saturday 10am ’till 7pm, Sundays 12am ’till 6pm. Found at 47 West Nicolson St, Edinburgh EH8 9DB (tel: 07982 859922) or email.
  • Forbidden Planet Edinburgh, the chain comic and collectables retailer, can be found at 40-41 Southbridge Street, Edinburgh (tel: 0131 558 8226).
  • Diagon House, 40 Victoria St, Edinburgh EH1 2JW (tel: 0131 226 5882). Shop selling official(?) Harry Potter memorabilia.
  • Galaxy, 47-49 South Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1LL (tel: 0131 557 4099). Sells Harry Potter and other sci-fi/fantasy memorabilia.
  • Gecko Gifts, 66 West Port, Edinburgh, EH1 2LD (tel. 0131 629 0755 / 07806486321) –  leather-worked goods such as books/journals and bags and brass and silver jewellery – they can also usually be found every Saturday at the Grassmarket from 11am to 5pm. Also Sundays at the Stockbridge Market, bordering Saunders Street & Kerr Street, on the Water of Leith (11am till 5pm).
  • Harburn Hobbies, 67 Elm Row, Leith Walk, Edinburgh, EH7 4AQ (tel. 0131 556 3233). “Well stocked with British trains ’00’ and ‘N’ gauge, railway DVDs, Scalextric, plastic construction kits, lots of various die-cast vehicles and dolls house furnishings, many models are on display, each with a label giving their description and price in smart illuminated cabinets. Harburn Hobbies has been instrumental in commissioning a large number of limited edition models, many representing Scottish subjects“.
  • Ryman, the stationers and purveyors of various craft materials (and a DHL service point) can be found at 81 Shandwick Place (West End), EH2 4SD (tel: 0131 228 6213) and at 7-11 Nicolson St (Edinburgh University), EH8 9BE (tel: 0131 668 1223).
  • Till’s Bookshop, 1 Hope Park Crescent, EH8 9NA (tel: 0131 667 0895). Second-hand bookshop that also sells vintage movie posters.
  • Transreal Fiction, 46 Candlemaker Row, Edinburgh EH1 2QE (tel: 0131 226 6266). Small, independent sci-fi and fantasy bookshop.

Edinburgh Gaming Groups

Several universities in Edinburgh have their own clubs. Some of the colleges and schools too. While most of the clubs accept members from outside the universities, there may be age restrictions depending on the venue and a membership fee. That said, there’s a lot of Edinburgh Gaming groups that have no web presence – sites like ORC are your friend here!

  • Open Roleplaying Community ORC, of which I am a member and run the website for) is more of a community than a club. It has a cosmopolitan outlook and runs a number of games, mainly RPGs.  We usually run games on a Saturday afternoon in local venues and at members’ homes on other days. Membership is free, and there are no membership age restrictions. We’re always looking for more folk to run games.
  • Ark Games Group. Meeting every Wednesday evening from 6pm at the Cornerstone Centre (St. Johns Church, 1A Lothian Rd, Edinburgh). They currently play a variety of wargames and tabletop skirmish games although the plan is to expand into other areas (including RPGs). PAY TO PLAY
  • Edinburgh Board Gamers – this group grew out of the Edinburgh Gamers Board Game Geek guild and now encompasses the Edinburgh Board Gamer Meetup group which itself has an Edinburgh Board Gamers Facebook group attached to it. All three web link presences serve their own purposes: Meetup lists the events and manages the RSVPs, Facebook and Board Game Geek pages are to cover people who use these platforms.
  • The Edinburgh Gamers Guild (EGG) is a place on Board Game Geek (BGG) Edinburgh-based board games players can use to arrange games.
  • Edinburgh Role Play Haven. Not yet established as a venue or club as yet, but will hopefully be coming soon in Summer 2020. Sign up for updates. PAY TO PLAY
  • Edinburgh Indie Gamers, has one-off games every two weeks. “A welcoming one-off RPG and story games group meeting every other Saturday at 6.30pm for 7pm. No preparation, previous experience or sign-ups needed. Currently based at Sofi’s Southside running on Saturday evenings.”
  • FAQ is the Edinburgh University Board games club. Also open to non-students. They meet every Tuesday 6pm till late at Southsider Pub, West Richmond Street, EH8 9EF.
  • GEAS (Grand Edinburgh Adventuring Society) is the Edinburgh University RPG club. They run Conpulsion every year, an RPG convention.
  • Groupless Gamers meet every Wednesday & Thursday, from 6pm – 10pm. They play at the Edinburgh Games Hub, Lauriston Place, EH3 9JB.
  • Napier D&D group – Napier University’s D&D group.
  • SESWC is a wargames club who meet every Thursday, from 7.00 pm until 11.00 pm in the Royal Navy & Royal Marine Association at 1 Broughton Road, Edinburgh. There’s space for up to fifteen 6’x4′ gaming tables and we have a good supply of scenery for miniatures games permanently stored on the premises. Other members play board- or card- games and there’s a bar on site for those who take their socialising seriously. Website is at Edinburgh WargamesPAY TO PLAY
  • Thunderdice’s 90-minute RPG sessions “Participate to an afternoon/night of role play gaming in Edinburgh and discover the Scottish myths and history, with a twist. Local? First time in the city? Gamer in search of an exciting stag party? Become a dwarf, an elf or a selkie for games between 90mn adventures and 24+ hours whole campaigns, and discover the secrets hidden behind every door of the castles and catacombs of Edinburgh and the Hidden Realms… On the model of Dungeons and Dragons 5e and other games, our proprietary gameplay is tailored for groups of both experienced and new players.” PAY TO PLAY
  • Juniper Green Board Gamers. Located in the west of city. “Gaming group for people in and around Juniper Green, Currie, Balerno, Baberton, Longstone, Colinton Village, and anywhere on the West side of Edinburgh”.

Outside Edinburgh (Midlothian, East Lothian, West Lothian. etc.)

Outside of the city there are a few places to game!

Other clubs/societies of interest

  • Whilst not a gaming group as such, The Dawn Duellists Society (DDS) is “…an historical fencing group based in the heart of Edinburgh and dedicated to the study and practice of historical European swordsmanship as a martial art. We in the DDS base our knowledge on the study of genuine treatises by the old masters of the past and we put our knowledge into practice with regular study groups and training classes.
  • Edinburgh Cosplay Club. Not strictly gaming, but definitely part of the Edinburgh Gaming scene!
  • Edinburgh Fortean Society. Facebook link is active, website less so! “The Edinburgh Fortean Society presents monthly talks on a variety of subjects suggested by the work of Charles Fort. These happen on the 2nd Tuesday of the month in our new venue, The Beehive Inn, Edinburgh. All are welcome and it’s only £1!”

Live Action Roleplaying (LARP)

  • Isles of Darkness (previously Camarilla UK) run World of Darkness games across the UK, including Edinburgh (Mortals, Created: Promethean, Changeling: The Lost , Forsaken (Werewolf), Requiem (Vampire), Awakened (Mage).
  • Embraced. A World of Darkness LARP with multiple events each month.
  • Fools and Heroes (FnH), is a “UK-based Live Action Roleplay (LARP) Society, consisting of over 20 branches. Fools & Heroes is set in a medieval fantasy version of our own world (Scotland is re-named “Lirron”), where knights and warriors clash with hideous creatures, priests do the bidding of their gods and mages wield powerful magics (when they are not running away). In this kind of world, the actions of individual adventurers do make a difference. Throughout the year, Edinburgh FnH run adventures on the 2nd Sunday of the month. The adventures are medium/high fantasy and focus on a local plotline, but can contain aspects of national plotline. National plotline culminates in a large weekend fest every year.
  • No Rest for the Wicked is a full-contact LARP focusing on swashbuckling, exploration, intrigue and trading inspired by the Warhammer 40,000 Rogue Trader RPG. “Our game is focused around the ever changing world of the Rogue Trader Dynasties who are caught up in a quest for wealth and power on the edges of Imperial society. We run major events on a regular basis throughout the year as well as ad-hoc events throughout the year for smaller groups. To find out more, visit our website http://www.norestforthewicked.org.uk“.

Artists & Painting Services

Edinburgh has a large tabletop wargames community, and some enterprising individuals of the Edinburgh gaming community have a business building and painting miniatures.

  • Arcane Forge, “The Arcane Forge is a hub for all your nerdy needs; including pen and paper games, board games and a full service miniatures painting and assembly studio.”
  • Deathwatch Studios – Edinburgh-based Andy is a contributor to Tabletop Gaming magazine, namely the miniatures pages.
  • Scribble Imp: Erin H Rea’s website – Erin also worked on art for Cubicle 7’s re-release of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (WFRP).
  • Whitewash Studios. “I offer a whole host of services from plain builds to full army painting.”

Edinburgh Gaming Conventions

  • Capital Sci-Fi Con usually take places at Meadowbank stadium. Main focus is on sci-fi fans and cosplayers but may be of interest to others.
  • Claymore is a wargames convention, usually held on the first Saturday in August. Run by SESWC.
  • Conpulsion. This is Edinburgh’s regular gaming convention usually runs in mid-March and covers a wide range of games: RPGs, CCGs and board-games. It runs several LARPs (Live Action Role Play games) as well.
  • Edinburgh Comic Con brings you “… an extensive selection of talent and traders, but we also have numerous special guests, lots of events and a cosplay competition.
  • For the love of fantasy – Held at the Edinburgh Academy, 42 Henderson Row, EH35.
  • Tabletop Scotland – not based in Edinburgh, but Perth. New in September 2018, it combined board-games, RPGs, and other tabletop games, along with Open Gaming areas and organised play for both Pathfinder and D&D.

Gamer-friendly venues

Cafés

These cafés are gamer friendly, allowing games to be played on their premises. Expect to pay for food and drink there – don’t bring your own!

  • Cornerstone Cafe, 1A Lothian Rd, EH1 2AB. Large space to play games in a central location.
  • Noughts & Coffees, 26-28 Morrison Street, EH3 8BJ. “Noughts & Coffees is a contemporary board game café, situated in the heart of Edinburgh”. PAY TO PLAY VENUE

Pubs

If you’re fond of playing and a pint:

  • Kilderkin 67 Canongate,  EH8 8BT (tel. 0131 556 2101) is a large, comfortable pub currently home to a number of ORC’s Saturday afternoon games. The Kilderkin has plenty of table space and booths, but very busy during the Festival.
  • McCowan’s Brew House, Fountain Park, 134 Dundee Street, EH11 1AF. Based in Fountain Park, opposite the Fountain pub and adjacent to Cineworld, this has a quiet, carpeted mezzanine area and small ‘conference room’ just off the mezzanine, often hosts Edinburgh Board Gamers on Friday evenings. Booking is advised!
  • Six Degrees North, 24 Howe St,  EH3 6TG. Hosts Edinburgh Board Gamers regularly on Monday evenings.
  • Sofi’s Southside, 42 – 44 Buccleuch Street, Southside, EH8 9LP. The former Meadow/Moo bar, Southside Social, and Harry’s Southside Bar. The Edinburgh Indie Gamers meet there, for Open Saturdays.
  • The Southsider Pub (3-7 West Richmond St, EH8 9EF, tel. 0131 667 2003). Currently home to FAQ.

Edinburgh Games Publishers & Blogs

  • The Giant Brain is the blog of local Edinburgh board-gamer and designer, Iain McAllister.
  • Harbrus’ YouTube channel discussing D&D (it’s in Italian with English subtitles).
  • Inspiring Games, creators of Legends Untold and other games.

Anything missing or out of date? Let me know: