Nerd culture is mainstream. The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones are two of the most popular shows on TV. Guardians of the Galaxy was the huge hit of summer following The Avengers from the year before, and Batman the year before that. Tabletop games are so popular that they are even getting their own movies. Forget Battleship: think Settlers of Catan.

Geeks, nerds, whatever word you prefer, aren’t a new phenomenon. Rather, there are just more places and activities where us geeks can find our passionate peers. While we come in all types — sports, music or gaming — here are a few spots in Oakland where you can find places to expand or enter the “classic” nerd hobbies such as comics, science fiction and role playing games — and maybe make some new friends while you’re at it.

Bergeron’s Books

375 15th St.
Mon-Fri: 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
Sat: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.

Need to catch up on Game of Thrones, the new Margaret Atwood (there’s always a new Margaret Atwood), or maybe you’ve never checked out The Dark Tower series? Well, this is the store for you. Bergeron’s is full of science fiction, fantasy, horror and more. It’s also often open late for events such as readings, game nights, film viewings and art shows.


It’s Your Move Games & HobbiesIMG_0122

4920 Telegraph Ave.
Tues-Fri: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Sat-Sun: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

What’s great about It’s Your Move is that you can come in and play games from their free game library before deciding whether to purchase them. On a weekday you might find a father playing Candyland with his daughter, while on Fridays there’s an open gaming night where you might catch adults and kids playing Magic: The Gathering at the communal tables in the front and back of the store. There are also clubs one can join such as Chess Club and Go Club.



921 Washington St. (At 10th)
Mon-Sun 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

At the corner of Swan’s Market is the biggest game store in Oakland. It is also home to a large mezzanine full of tables where multiple nights a week you can join Magic: The Gathering events. On Wednesdays you can swing by and make new friends at their long-standing Board Game Night, and monthly there are role-playing events such as their Dungeons and Dragons Adventurers League. Alternatively you can just pick up Forbidden Desert to go.


Dr. Comics & Mr. GamesIMG_0119 (2)

4014 Piedmont Ave.
Mon-Tues: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
Wed-Fri: 10 a.m-8 p.m.
Sat: 10 a.m-7 p.m.
Sun: 11 a.m-5 p.m.

This is your best bet for TPBs (trade paperbacks) of your favorite graphic novels and mangas. Whether it’s finding a copy of Preacher, The Walking Dead, one of DC’s New 52, Death Note or American Vampire, it will be here. There are also a plentiful amount of singles in the back and a selection of popular tabletop games and card games in the front and occasional event nights, such as workshops for role-playing.


Collector’s Haven

374 17th St.
Mon-Tue: 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Sat: 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Vintage collectibles and vintage singles are the plates du jour at Collector’s Haven. Though you can order any comic here or pick up some rare collector’s cards, it’s really the decades-old superhero and television show figurines, bobbleheads, and boxes and boxes of single comics that keep regulars coming in weekly to the store.

About The Author

Katie is the Music Editor at OL. She's a music geek, culture junkie, massive A's fan, and Oakland native. When she was six, she stood for five minutes with a felt pennant stuck under Chris Mullin’s armpit. Check out her Oakland music listings at, follow on twitter/instagram as @craziesthawk, or contact at

One Response

  1. Becky Thomas

    Hello Katie, great article overall. For Dr Comics & Mr Games the ‘occasional event nights, such as workshops for role-playing’ must actually refer to my business. Dr Comics has supported The Roleplay Workshop in their upstairs loft for over 20 year. The Roleplay Workshop offers programming for teens – after school, weekends, school holidays and summer camp – as well as evening programs for adults. We use a roleplaying game (Abantey, designed by me) for fun and as educational enrichment for teens.


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