Getting your nerd fix in Waterloo


By Ben Paul

On the case of Detective Pikachu

Waterloo has a reputation for being a nerdy school, and there’s definitely more than enough cool activities of the geek persuasion to go around. Whether you prefer board games, video games, comics, or movies, there are a variety of local attractions that are sure to pique your interest.

Nerdy Sports

Want to mix getting active with geeking out by indulging in some recreation that can be considered a little, well, odd? These sports might have you covered.

Quidditch, the game from the Harry Potter series, maintains an appearance on campus. There is a Quidditch club in the Athletics department, they run weekly open practices and also have a competitive team, the Waterloo Ridgebacks, that compete regionally and nationally. More information at

Humans vs. Zombies is a game of tag on campus between an ever-growing horde of zombies that can tag opponents to add them to their team and an ever-shrinking group of human survivors that can defend themselves with Nerf blasters. They run a week-long game every term as well as smaller minigames on weekends. Check them out at

Board Game Cafes

There are three main board game cafes in the area: Crossroads, Games On Tap, and The Adventurers Guild. When visiting a board game cafe, you  pay an entrance fee to stay for a certain length of time, and have unlimited use of their games during that time. They also have food and drinks, including the alcoholic variety. Frequently they host special events such as video and card game tournaments.

Where To Borrow Board Games On Campus

Want to play board games without having to spend money? There are places on campus that can loan you some. The Turnkey desk at the Student Life Centre has board games that are rentable in exchange for a WatCard.

Some academic societies also have collections; MathSoc has a huge selection in their office.

The Dana Porter Library also has a board game collection, all of which can be taken out for three days at a time. They also occasionally have board game cafe nights with snacks and activities.

Other Nerdy Establishments

The Watchtower Restaurant is a geek media-themed restaurant and bar with weekly trivia nights and a random drink encounter table you can order from by rolling a twenty-sided die.

Pin Up Arcade Bar is a fairly recent addition to the scene, a combination bar and arcade where you can play on pinball machines and classic video games while enjoying drinks. They also host karaoke and live music nights.

When mentioning cool gaming spots, Ctrl-V deserves special attention. It’s a virtual reality arcade, where you put on a headset and tracking technology to play a variety of games in 3-D from zombie apocalypses and alien invasions to mini-golf and music. Each booked session is an hour, but if you just want to try it out briefly without jumping in completely, you can always bring your friends and share the session among them. Note that you won’t be able to play multiplayer with them this way though, and that’s one of the most fun options available.

Local Gaming

There’s a very active Pokemon Go group in the area (KWCG, Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge-Guelph) that organizes raids, lure parties, and other social events. Organized mainly through the app Discord. They also have a website:

Magic: the Gathering also has a very healthy fanbase on campus, with games of different formats four nights a week in the MC building. Check out for all local events.

Comics Stores

The main Waterloo comics store is Carry-On Comics. If they don’t have what you’re looking for, you could either ask them to order it or look further afield such as Lookin’ For Heroes in Kitchener. The Campus Bookstore in South Campus Hall also has a small graphic novel area.

Other Book Stores

If you want the biggest book store in the area, it’s Chapters. If you prefer to support local businesses and more obscure fare, there’s Old Goat Books, with a nice mix of new and second-hand books and a comfy atmosphere, and Words Worth Books, a community staple with a history of organizing arts and literature events. Both can be found in Uptown Waterloo.

Having fun isn’t hard when you’ve got a library card

If you prefer to borrow instead of buy your books, besides the University of Waterloo Library, the Waterloo Public Library (WPL) is also a great resource to consider. They have three branches: the Main branch to the south of campus, McCormick to the northeast, and John M. Harper to the northwest.

To get a WPL library card, you need a piece of personal identification as well as a proof of address. Personal identification can be your passport, driver’s license, or even your student ID, while proof of address can be your rental agreement or a bill. If you are in residence, this can easily be obtained from the front desk.


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