BEIRUT: Places like this are too few and far between; to step into Multiverse is to experience Aladdin's cave of games.
Boxes reach the ceiling along each wall, and seemingly every game is represented in the shop based on its category; from Strategyverse, a section for skillful thinking games, to Partyverse, a section for games played at social gatherings.
This pop culture store holds a vast arsenal of board games, card games, collectibles, original art, and a variety of other fantasy, anime, and comics merchandise.
The games’ library consists of more than 400 games, including Risk, Monopoly, Exploding Kittens, Game of Thrones, Ticket to Ride, Dungeons and Dragons, and much more.
For the visitor, to see is to believe in the Multiverse.
The store is a nexus where all the game universes meet. There are a variety of rooms in the store, a hobby room, a painting section “Painting-Station,” a quiet room, a Dungeons and Dragons room, as well as a small café.
Rooms are full of people squeezing through gaps of huddled groups of friends chatting about the latest games. Store sections are crowded with gamers at tables surrounded by gawkers; some are admiring the universe themed wall décor, with flags hanging from the industrially designed ceiling, while others are watching gamers with utter excitement.
Employees at the counters rush between customers to serve them snacks, drinks, or to record game purchase orders.
Ali Bazzi, one of the managers of Multiverse, explained to Annahar about the Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) room. The game takes the players to a fantasy world, where each player creates their own personage within its realm.
In Dungeons and Dragons, people battle monsters, solve riddles, and do not necessarily lose or win, but role-play and imagine themselves as heroic warriors and wizards in imaginary worlds.
In the Hobby section, game enthusiasts of all ages, sit around a table with one thing capturing their attention: either a board game or a card game. Store visitors enter and stare astonishingly at this giant wall of games; they grab a box from the shelf and race excitedly through aisles to find the best sitting place and play the game at hand while shouting with delight.
“It’s one of the few places where you can be loud outside the house,” Reem El Tayech, a university student, told Annahar.
A gamer doesn’t need to know a game to play, there’s always a helping hand at the store. “You don’t need to know every game, if you don’t know how to play a game, we will explain to you how to from A to Z,” John Tarakdjian, manager at Multiverse, told Annahar.
In case there’s a group of people who are in need of more players, they will be able to signal this by placing a flag on the table. “The flag signals that anyone is welcome to join the game, it breaks the ice between the people,” Multiverse manager told Annahar.
This store has eight managers, they all come from different backgrounds, majors, and cultures, but the love for board and card games unites them. They have collectively made a place for the people who like to play games.
The store part-owner told Annahar that the name Multiverse has two different meanings.
One means “multiple universes” as in combining all the different game categories in one universe which is the store. While the other means gathering all the people coming from different backgrounds under the same roof, regardless of age, gender, nationality, and religion.
“This place is different than cafés and restaurants, it allows very spontaneous types of social encounters; I have developed many friendships, and I build my own creative space there,” Joanna Jabbour, a university student told Annahar.
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