New Gaming Shop 'The Fourth Place' Coming to Hanover This OctoberSep 22, 2022 01:45PM ● By Rose Terami
Photo provided by The Fourth Place
The Fourth Place, a new business coming soon to Hanover, will be a social space catered to those with a love for gaming and comic book culture. The Fourth Place will offer memberships for exclusive access to game tables and themed rooms, but anyone is welcome to come and enjoy the space. Ian Struckhoff, the founder, and owner of the business and Hanover High class of ’97 graduate, gave us the rundown on his vision for the Fourth Place and what to expect when it comes to town this October.
What is the Fourth Place?
The Fourth Place is a social space, café, and shop for everyone who loves games, comics, and geek culture: things like Dungeons & Dragons, superhero movies, collectible card games like Magic: The Gathering, board games, video games, sci-fi, and fantasy.
The name, if you’ll forgive me, has four different meanings (it’s very on-brand). At the core is a term from sociology and retail—a “third place” is the space after home and work that someone feels at home. The most famous examples when I was younger were Cheers and Central Perk. Hopefully, you’ll stop by the place when it opens to ask about the other three!
When will you be opening?
Our exact opening date will depend on contractor and supplier schedules. As of today, we’re expecting to open sometime in early October.
We’ll have a proper grand opening later this fall when some additional details are complete and our snack bar kitchen is ready.
What made you decide to start the Fourth Place?
The first seeds of the Fourth Place were planted when I was a student at Hanover High School, and my friends and I were always looking for places to spend our afternoons until our parents got out of work. We bounced from the Howe Library to the school art room to Dartmouth computer labs to Main Street, but never quite felt at home anywhere.
Later, I watched as the rise of online shopping, especially giants like Amazon, began to force some comic shops, board game stores, and similar spaces out of business. I noticed that the shops that were (intentionally or not) great places to hang out were the ones that thrived.
That led to many people with geeky hobbies mostly being able to enjoy them in small groups or online, except for occasional and very crowded and intense conventions like PAX, Gen Con, Dragon Con, and various comics conventions.
I realized that while nobody with one geeky hobby participates in all of them, if someone is into board games, collectible card games, comic books, video games, superhero movies, roleplaying games (like D&D), anime, manga, cosplay, and so on, it’s likely they and their friends are into a few of them.
That all led to wanting to create a space that caters to all of those hobbies and the social groups that form around them. A place for all sorts of people to feel at home!
What will the Fourth Place offer?
Above all, what it will offer is a place for people to feel at home and be themselves around people who share some of the same hobbies and interests.
That will mean selling things like comic books, tabletop games, and “geek culture” clothing and accessories, but also providing a cafe space with seating, tables, drinks, and snacks to create a friendly and welcoming atmosphere.
One big goal of the space is to have a small event every evening. This includes New Comic Book Day on Wednesdays, Friday Night Magic, events to introduce new players to board games and Dungeons & Dragons, and whatever else our community shows an interest in.
On top of that, our two themed rooms, the Crossed-Roads Inn and the Wizard’s Tower, will be available for events like birthday parties and corporate nights out.
How can people become a member?
The place will be completely open to the public without any cover charge, but being a member will give wider access to everything we offer.
A couple of examples: we will have several tables to eat, play games, or study, but members will have access to the two premium game tables, one in the tavern-themed room and one in the tower. Similarly, we will have a small rotating selection of cafe games available, but members have full use of the entire game library in the store.
Becoming a member is easy. You’ll be able to sign up at the place, but memberships are already available for preorder on our website. If you preorder a membership (before we open), there are some significant deals. You’ll be a Founding Member as long as you renew, and you get a welcome packet in addition to your annual member gift and other benefits.
What kinds of memberships are there and what does each offer?
First up, we offer day passes to try out almost all of the benefits of membership before you commit. (Some long-term benefits like discounts, annual gifts, etc. come with monthly and annual memberships.) A day pass costs $15, with occasional discounts like $5 off for preorders.
Standard Memberships are $60 per month—the cost of a day pass just four times a month—and right now if you preorder an annual one, it’s $20 off per month.
That gets you those two premium game tables, access to reserve a table once that’s necessary, free refills on fountain drinks, a personalized member card, your choice of an exclusive gift at the end of each year, first dibs on some early access and limited-edition items, and members-only sales. This membership also comes with a “plus one”—you can always bring someone along with all of the benefits of a day pass.
We also have some memberships designed to be more affordable for different parts of our community.
You can get a Family Membership, which gets two adults their own membership card and lets them each bring two kids, making it suitable for up to a family of six, for just $75 per month. With the $20 preorder discount, that’s just $55 a month for the whole family.
We have a College Student Membership, which is currently just $34.95 for anyone with a full-time student ID. Basically, it takes the cost of membership for the 30 weeks you’re at school and spreads it across a full year. (This one doesn’t include a plus one.)
Similarly, our Student Membership for 14- to 18-year-olds is currently $29.95. It’s good from when we open until 5:30pm, the time that teenagers need a place the most. (It also doesn’t come with a plus one.)
Where is the Fourth Place located?
Hopefully, in the hearts of geeks, nerds, gamers, and everyone.
More tangibly, we’re on the second floor of Hanover Park at 3 Lebanon Street in Hanover, above Pompanoosuc Mills. You can see our tower room from Starbucks on Main Street, Impasto Italian Eatery, Dunks Sports Grill, Talbots, and the Black Arts Center.
What do you hope to achieve at your new location in Hanover?
Above all, the mission is to create a space where people can feel at home and everyone is welcome. In the end, if we can create a welcoming space and help people find their community, and keep the lights on, I will be thrilled.
If this location goes well, I’d love to bring the Fourth Place to other areas and communities.