Mark Azzam grew up playing board games with his mum and dreamed of having his own store dedicated to the games he loved to play. Today, he is the proud proprietor of two stores specialising in social gaming, after opening his first in Abu Dhabi in 2015 and his second in Times Square Mall this year, Back to Games is the only retail shop in the UAE which solely stocks board and card games. The store has a very simple aim – to get people back into enjoying social gaming, where they can be together and interact without an electronic device in sight. Says Azzam: “We want to go back to what we used to do – collaborate, compete and interact while having fun.”
The store is divided into six sections and has a family section which stocks treasures such as Dobble and Pengaloo. “Our family section has 80 to 90 games, all of which are aimed at getting families to play together,” says Azzam. “These games are a great way to help children develop social skills, to learn how to compete, how to be humble in defeat and how to be a team player.”
All of the staff here are gamers themselves, so love to help customers choose the perfect game, and Azzan keeps a close track of new games being released as well as ensuring they stock the old favourites. And with free demos, it’s a great place to while away an afternoon. So, unplug the iPad, face down the phone and get gaming.
Sunday to Wednesday, 10am-10pm, Thursday and Friday, 10am-12am, Times Square Mall (04 323 1336).