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Lovington firefighters open gaming center

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Two Lovington firefighters bring something new to Lovington, a collectibles and hobby shop.

Tall Tales Gaming is in the center of downtown Lovington, on Main Street, across from the courthouse, and is providing a place where people can play games, eat, and build friendships, according to the store’s mission statement.

“Tall Tales Gaming is a unique venture consisting of all things gaming. Learn and play with friends: Magic!, Commander, Yu-Gi-Oh, Ikoria, Dungeons and Dragons, among others,” said Leslie Boldt in a news release on the ribbon cutting of Tall Tales Gaming.

Brett Bartlett, a firefighter with the Lovington Fire Department and co-owner of Tall Tales Gaming, started playing Magic the Gathering (MTG), a collectible card game (CCG) where each opponent “battles” another using a deck built by the player which contains a specific number of cards, nearly six years ago and noticed something missing in the community — somewhere to play.

The closest stores similar to Tall Tales Gaming offering playing spaces are in Clovis and Lubbock, according to Bartlett.

“Everyone always needs a place to go,” said Bartlett. “We would be doing it in each other’s kitchens or wherever they would let us go and hang out for a while and make a group. So I’m like, well, why not just open a shop up, a place where everyone can play.”

The store was described as a “gaming lounge” to play games such as Magic and Dungeons and Dragons (D&D), but also offers video games, comic books, and collectible cards for sale.

“I just really want anyone who has the love for any of these games to come and play,” said Bartlett. “We don’t charge anyone to come play. It’s a free place to come gather and have fun.”

Bartlett and his business partner, Lonnie Voyles, battalion chief at the Lovington Fire Department, started opening the doors of the shop to the community before the ribbon cutting on Thursday evening, showing the community’s interest in a shop.

“It’s kinda a neat spot. We’ve never had a place where we could come in and sit and play these sorts of games and stuff, and I know there’s a big community to do it, or a growing community,” Eddy Burkett, a customer at the store and also a Lovington firefighter, said. “I’ve been seeing people that I’ve never seen before, so apparently there’s more of us out there than originally I thought. Looks like they’re going to do some different things. If you like old video games, if you like comic books, any sorts of games like Magic or Yu-Gi-Oh or hammer that sort of stuff, then I think it’s going to be a good, fun hangout.”

Boldt said the business coming is an amazing step forward during tough times, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s exciting with everything happening that we still have people achieving their visions and dreams,” said Boldt. “It just tears me up every time I think about it. Just going to a complete stop and now seeing people re-emerging and opening things up and trying new ideas that just amazing.”

The store is going to introduce game nights in the future, according to Bartlett. The store will eventually go through Wizards of the Coast to get Wizards Play Network certified to hold official tournaments that people can compete at.

“On Wednesday nights we’re wanting to have board game nights,” said Bartlett. “It doesn’t have to be a fantasy board game. They can come play Monopoly if they want to, they can play Risk, Life, whatever they want to play. … For now, we’re holding unofficial tournaments so they don’t go towards professional play status or anything like that.”

Bartlett said he has wanted to open a game shop for nearly five years and his partner Voyles has wanted to do this as a retirement gig. However, the two will continue to serve the community at the fire station while the shop is up and running.

At Tall Tales Gaming you can bring in whatever game you want to play. The shop will also offer snacks to buy. Bartlett says the game shop is centrally located for other communities surrounding Lea County to come and play, so people don’t have to go such far distances.

“What I hope it will bring to the community is a safe place for everyone to come play and enjoy and kinda express themselves through a love of gaming,” said Bartlett. “It’s a fine knit community. Everybody’s always kind to each other. To have a place where all these people can meet up and play these games with each other, I just think it will be really nice.”

Tall Tale Gaming is located at 119 N. Main Street, in Lovington. For more information, the store is on Facebook @talltalesgaming. It can be reached at https://www.loc8nearme.com/new-mexico/lovington/tall-tales-gaming/5828371/

Christina Rankin may be reached at courts@ hobbsnews.com.

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