Get Out Your Dictionaries 

At It's Your Move game shop in Oakland, beware the violence of the vocabulary.

Terrance Roff and Sally Amsbury take pride in the vibrant mix of personalities their shop attracts. It's not often that you'll find the young and old of both sexes hanging out in the same place, especially on a Saturday afternoon. It's Your Move Games and Hobbies is undeniably the most atypical game store in the East Bay. Says shop owner Roff, "It's a diverse neighborhood we live in here, the Temescal, and we have all types of folks here. The store reflects that diversity." The quaint rectangular shop stall is as much of a hangout as a business. Wander in here on any given Saturday, and you'll find a cavalcade of oldsters shuffling wooden letters around a slew of tables near the front door, while pimply teens throw twenty-sided dice across large tables in the rear.

The people up front are the Scrabble heads. You can readily identify them by the dictionaries they clutch to their chests. The wise and wizened wizards of words are always happy to play a pickup game at the drop of a hat, but don't take them lightly. These folks are well versed in the violence of vocabulary. The unprepared will most assuredly be massacred when venturing into a match without a large stable of verbiage with which to defend themselves.

But for those who eat Merriam-Webster's for breakfast, this coming weekend offers a chance to prove their worth against the crème de la crème of the East Bay Scrabble scene. On the first Saturday of every month, It's Your Move holds a Scrabble tournament. The participants tend to arrive around noon, and the letters begin to fly in earnest at 1 p.m. sharp. The cover charge is $5, which puts you in the running for prizes as well as the bragging rights that come with besting an opponent.

If Scrabble isn't your thing, It's Your Move offers the standard geeky fare you'd expect from a store that keeps the original four Dungeons & Dragons manuals in a display case near the counter. This haven for dice dorks is a legitimate role-playing den, and with Dungeons & Dragons turning thirty this year, it's a good time to stock up on the newly revised 3.5 rulebooks. For the less-than-nerds out there, Roff and Amsbury, who are husband and wife, also keep an excellent selection of such board games as Apples to Apples, Wild Words, and Risk 2210 AD. "Some weeks, family games and traditional games, like chess and checkers, are the most popular," Roff says of his best-sellers. "Other weeks, we have people who buy poker supplies. On the weekends, we get a lot of people who buy role-playing books and collectible miniatures, which are our biggest sellers overall." There's a game here for everyone, and while the Scrabble sticklers scramble their tiles up front, Roff will simultaneously be hosting a Mage Knight open adventure at the rear of the store for action-figure game fanatics.

So if you have a quixotic need to play "quixotic" on a regulation Scrabble board, set aside Saturday, September 4, and bring your dictionary in case you need to argue that "flapdangle" is really a word. It's Your Move Games and Hobbies, 4920 Telegraph Ave., Oakland, 510-547-4386. Info:


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