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 participated 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. I’ve also help set up a branch of the RolePlay Haven in Edinburgh, the first in Scotland.

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.

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!

DM for Hire (or GM) in Edinburgh (not just D&D)

One of the most common questions I get is where to find a GM or DM for hire in Edinburgh. Here’s a few that I know of (see their websites for more info and rates):

Online Communities (Scotland-wide, not just Edinburgh)

There is a thriving online RPG Community on Discord and there’s several Scotland-specific ones.

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. I am not affiliated with any of the stores. For a wider listing of stores across Scotland, see the list at http://tiny.cc/ScotGameStores 

  • Ancient Robot Games “Discover our new independent board game shop and board game café in Edinburgh“. Ancient Robot Games can be found at the Foot of the Walk
  • 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
  • Edinburgh Collectables 16-18 Crighton Place, Leith, Edinburgh EH7 4NY (Tel 0131 561 4189). Licensed merchandise, memorabilia, militaria, swords, games, and other items of interest!
  • 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 (counterpart to 6sToHit), 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
  • 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 8 Castle Street, Edinburgh, Scotland, EH2 3AT (tel. 0131 220 6540). They sell wargames, miniatures, and board games, concentrating on their own brands – Citadel and Games Workshop.
  • 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.

  • Argonaut Books, 15-17 Leith Walk, Edinburgh EH6 8LN (tel: 0131 259 7816). “A community bookshop for Leith.” Also run boardgame nights every Wednesday night.
  • 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.
  • 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!

  • RolePlayHaven Edinburgh – I’m the Branch Manager for this group meeting every Wednesday from 6PM in the Mercat Bar In West Maitland Street. We play a mix of D&D and other RPGs. Your first visit is free. Discord address: https://discord.gg/Tyz2pQS PAY TO PLAY
  • 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.  Membership is free, and there are no membership age restrictions. The ORC discord is at https://discord.gg/tUHcSeP
  • 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 Indie Gamers is a  story-based and non-mainstream games every two weeks.
  • 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.
  • Edinburgh & Lothian Gamers (ELG). Formerly Edinburgh League of Gamers. “We’re based in Red Dice Games, meet regularly on Tuesday evenings from 6-10pm and primarily play Games Workshop produced wargames (Warhammer 40k, Age of Sigmar, Underworlds, Warcry, etc). Admission is completely free, so it doesn’t cost anything to come down, check us out and say hi. If you want to play some games, then table hire costs £3 for the night and is paid to Red Dice Games and you get to use the club’s scenery and gaming mats.”
  • Edinburgh RPG Guild – small group based out of Mox in the Hole. Their Discord link is https://discord.gg/p58s9Fe PAY TO PLAY
  • 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.
  • 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”.
  • Napier D&D group – Napier University’s D&D group. See also https://discord.gg/xA46Vxdhce
  • North Side Gamers: Boardgaming, RPGs, wargaming and miniature hobbying in the North of Edinburgh. Based (if you’ll excuse the pun) at Drylaw Neighbourhood Centre (provisionally).
  • 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. PAY TO PLAY

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

Outside of the city there are a few places to game! This isn’t a comprehensive list so if you run a club or games shop, let me know.

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!”

Edinburgh Gaming Libraries

While several of the retailers also have a games library (Edinburgh Games Hub, Mox in the Hole and Red Dice), there are also a few other options:

  • Edinburgh Board Game Library – “For a low annual membership fee, we’ll offer a board game borrowing service from our central Edinburgh hub at 141 Lauriston Place. Through this model, we hope to: Increase access to board games regardless of income, Introduce board games to new audiences, Allow people to try board games before they decide to buy them, and Normalise sharing as a step towards a circular economyCurrently our board game collection mainly consists of card games, lighter board games and party games, but we will be working on expanding and diversifying this over the coming months once we’re fully launched. We do also accept donations, so if you’re based locally and have any unwanted games in your collection then please do bear us in mind!”

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).
  • 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.

  • Deathwatch Studios – Edinburgh-based Andy is a contributor to Tabletop Gaming magazine, namely the miniatures pages.
  • OffWorld Miniatures – Stuart Walker offers “Commission painting service based in Edinburgh, with over 20 years modelling and painting experience. Specialising in Warhammer and table-top miniatures.
  • Scribble Imp: Erin H Rea’s website – Erin has worked on art for Cubicle 7’s Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (WFRP), Warhammer 40,000 RPG line, and Nightfall Games’ Terminator RPG.
  • Whitewash Studios. “I offer a whole host of services from plain builds to full army painting.”

Edinburgh/Lothian 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.
  • Carronade: Falkirk District Wargames Club annual show.
  • 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.
  • Cymera – Scotland’s Festival of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Writing. Usually held in the Pleasance.
  • Tabletop Scotland – not based in Edinburgh, but Perth. New in September 2018, it combines board-games, RPGs, and other tabletop games, along with Open Gaming areas and organised play for both Pathfinder and D&D.

Gamer-friendly 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 the Edinburgh Indie Gamer nights and a number of ORC’s Saturday afternoon games. The Kilderkin has plenty of table space and booths, but very busy during the Festival.
  • Ooh Mami Leith, 7 Bernard Street EH6 6PW (tel. 0131 374 1006) occasionally has boardgame nights
  • 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!
  • Mercat Bar & Kitchen, 28 W Maitland St, Edinburgh EH12 5DX (tel. 0131 225 8716). Smart basement bar – very gamer friendly. Home to the RolePlay Haven on Wendesday nights from 6PM.
  • The Cauldron At the forefront of interactive food & beverage experiences, The Cauldron (on Frederick Street) can accommodate large groups of up to 50 for potion making, wizard’s afternoon tea and also full venue hire for larger parties as well.
    Our potion making classes are great fun for groups and allows guests to make their own potions under the guidance of our charismatic potion masters. We are a fully functioning cocktail bar and as well as our potion making classes and wizard’s afternoon tea experiences, we provide a magical setting for casual drinks with friends.

Edinburgh Games Publishers, Makers & Blogs

  • Geek Native is based in Edinburgh. “Geek Native is a home for RPG news, geek culture, discoveries, anime and game reviews.
  • The Giant Brain is the blog of local Edinburgh board-gamer and designer, Iain McAllister.
  • Inspiring Games, creators of Legends Untold and other games.
  • Edinburgh Miniature Company: Neal is a local miniatures sculptor who also does commissions: “My aim with the Edinburgh Miniature Company is to create a regular outlet for my work – producing useful and unique miniatures of my own design that people will enjoy, and continuing to accept commissions from private individuals and organisations.
  • Devil’s Roost Dice: Edinburgh-based TTRPG dice and jewellery maker.
  • 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).
  • Gamer’s Web. Marc Farrimond’s news and reviews, plus unboxing of various gaming goodness.
  • Chris Barrington, writer of the Pantheon series, Wolf Mile and Blood Isles, both set in Edinburgh. “Imagine the ultimate live action role-play, then throw in a splash of blood-spattered history, and you have The Wolf Mile, a new high-concept thriller. The Pantheon Games are the biggest underground event in the world, followed online by millions. Seven teams based on seven ancient warrior races must vie for dominance in a battle to the death. Set amongst the twisting closes and tunnels that spill from Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, this is all about a fast, fatal game bankrolled by the world’s wealthy elite and watched obsessively online by Edinburgh’s population.” ‘A brilliant eccentric concept which hits you like a fever dream.’ – Giles Kristian, author of the Raven series.”
  • Steven Davidson, writer of the Edinburgh-based Kevin vs. the Zombie Dead series: Boko and Bride of Boko. Edinburgh-based (well, Musselburgh-based) writer of zombie fiction.
  • The Rookery – Edinburgh based RPG publisher, and lively community headed by Warhammer Alumn Andy Law.
  • Handiwork Games: ENnie-nominated Publishers of Beowulf and the a|state RPG.
  • My own writer and editor official page: billheron.uk

Anything missing or out of date? Let me know:

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