Dubai gaming – or was it in ancient Egypt?

As mentioned in my previous posting, I was having difficulty finding anything of wargaming interest in Dubai, where I am on a month-long business trip.

However, within minutes of writing that original posting, I stumbled across the address of a MeetUp group of wargamers and boardgamers here.  I made contact with them, and yesterday joined them for an hour to see what they were up to.

The group meets in the Ibn Battuta Mall, which is a fantastic Disneyland of a place that celebrates the regions that the famed Arab navigator Ibn Battuta visited in his world travels: Tunisia, Andulusia, India, China, Egypt and Persia.  The coffee-shop where they play is in the main Egyptian hall, which is very impressive indeed, like something out of a Nile temple – a perfect backdrop to gaming. 

Of course, the concept of gaming in a coffee-shop was new to me.  For board-games it works out well, but probably it wouldn’t be so great for miniatures gaming back home.

Another unusal aspect was the the mix of genders.  There were seven players in two games, with nearly half  being female.  More or less by chance, though, the guys and girls ended up at separate tables! 

Plus there was a range of nationalities, which is one of the wonderful things about Dubai as a whole.   

Because of the MeetUp system (something we could well investigate in New Zealand), several players were newbies, but they were quickly welcomed and inducted into the rules of the game.  I had a business meeting to go to, so couldn’t get involved in actual play, but enjoyed watching for the hour I was there.

The main game played this month was ‘Goa’ (by both tables) – a rather complex trading game based on the Portuguese spice trade on the sub-continent.  The French couple who were game-masters soon had everyone trading spices and shipping them home!

There was also an intriguing starter game of riccocheting robots, that had most of us puzzled!

Talking to some members, it seemed not much was known about miniatures gaming, other than a little Warhammer.  I did bring my copy of ‘Black Powder’ for them to leaf through.  If I were to live here, I could easily be convinced to take up board waraming in such a nice friendly setting, and would hope to somehow introduce them to miniatures gaming as well!

Incidently, through The Miniatures Page I have also found an ex-pat  miniatures wargamer who lives just across the Dubai Marina from me.  We plan to meet for a beer in the weekend to talk about gaming, although neither of us has armies here to actually play a game. 

Anyway, here are some pics of the Ibn Battuta Mall meeting the other day.

9 thoughts on “Dubai gaming – or was it in ancient Egypt?

  1. Hi Roly I am an ex-pat based in Dubai also interested in wargaming. Unfortunately most of my miniatures are still back home but it is always good to catch up with a gamer. If you are still in town you can email me.

    1. Whereabouts in Dubai are you. I’m in Dubai Marina, and planning to try to catch up with another ex-pat gamer this weekend for a beer.


      1. Hi I live in Jumeirah which is 10 minutes away from the Marina let me know when you are meeting I will try get there

        1. Andrew, I’m now back in New Zealand, and sadly we never did get round to having that meeting in Dubai before I left.

          Shall I put you in touch with the other wargamer I came across in Dubai, so you can meet independently? Just send me a message and I’ll give you his details.

        2. Hi I would be interested in contacting the other wargamer my email is andrew.laing(at)

  2. Maybe you could purchase of game of Risk at the toy store and play that at the next meeting.

  3. Another idea is the Junior General website . . . you can print up armies from many different eras and then play with them.

    — Jeff

  4. Thanks for that, Mr/Mrs A Nony Mous! Unfortunately I no longer travel to the UAE for work. But hopefully anyone from there who stumbles across this posting on my blog will find your info useful.

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