How Painting Miniatures Turned an Internet Cafe into a Gaming Cafe

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With International Tabletop Day around the corner, we’re counting down the days to the big celebration by highlighting friendly local gaming stores, their owners, and their awesome stories. Be sure to find an ITTD event near you so you can enjoy the festivities in your community.

When owner David Finn opened what would eventually become Giga-Bites Tabletop Gaming Cafe nearly 10 years ago, he wasn’t seeking to create the area’s premier tabletop gaming store. He had just finished college in Ireland and moved to Atlanta, Georgia. “I worked in an internet cafe in Ireland,” he recalled, “so I decided to open one here since there wasn’t one in the area.”

Finn played tabletop games throughout his education at the University of Limerick in Ireland, where he participated in the school’s gaming society. He brought his love of miniatures gaming with him as he opened his internet cafe. One day, he decided to buy some Warhammer 40,000 figures and took them to the cafe.

“I started painting the Battle for Macragge figures,” he said, and the locals took notice. People would come in for food or a drink, use the cafe’s computers, and became curious about the figures. “I got asked so often about them [Warhammer figures] that I eventually placed an order and started selling them,” he said.

Soon, some local gamers would play there and Finn set up a space for them. “I put a piece of [Astro-turf] on a six-foot by four-foot table,” he said. “It’s the best decision we ever made.”

The word spread about Finn’s gaming-friendly space and the following year all of the cafe’s computers were gone and Giga-Bites evolved into a full-blown miniatures and gaming store.  

Today Giga-Bites hosts events nearly every night and Finn said the most popular titles are the miniature games from Games Workshop like Warhammer 40,000, Warmachine from Privateer Press, and Magic the Gathering.

“We have a great community where everyone knows each other,” Finn said. “People will come in at two or three in the afternoon and stay until 11 at night. It’s very fulfilling.” He noted that Scythe and Gloomhaven are the hottest games on the tabletop these days. “We have huge board game groups that come in two to three times a week,” he said. “We were lucky to get a hold of eight copies of Gloomhaven for our customers.”

When he’s not busy overseeing Giga-Bites, Finn enjoys watching Premier League games and hitting the pitch to play soccer. “One thing you learn while running a game store is that you spend a lot of time sitting down,” he laughs.  

As Giga-Bites prepares for its third expansion to accommodate even more gamers, Finn reflects on his time in the Atlanta area. “I love the community we have here,” he said. “Being in Atlanta was very fortunate. It’s a huge geek city and it’s known for its gaming and nerd culture.”

From his days as a student gamer in Ireland to the owner of a gaming store in the U.S., Finn’s passion for tabletop gaming continues to be a big part of his life.

“It’s a great way to relax and de-stress,” he said. “I love being face-to-face with a person. I love sitting and interacting with a person, not across a screen like in a video game.”

Giga-Bites Tabletop Gaming Cafe is located at 1851 Roswell Road in Marietta, Georgia. Visit their  website for more info. 

What games do you play to de-stress at your FLGS? Tell us in the comments!

Image Credits: Giga-Bites Tabletop Gaming Cafe

Ruel Gaviola is a writer and educator based in Southern California. He loves board games, books, cooking, traveling, date nights with his wife, and Star Wars. He reviews games and reports news for and his name rhymes with Superman’s Kryptonian name. Follow him on Twitter.

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