Beyond the Screen: Chattanooga’s Board Game Community

Story By Haley Bayer

Derrick Sheets, owner of Game On Chattanooga, works behind the counter of his store.  Wednesday, April 13, 2022 (Photo by Haley Bayer)
Derrick Sheets describes the love he has for his shop and the community he brings in at Game on Chattanooga.

Game on Chattanooga has been a staple in the gaming community for 9 years but there’s a catch: there isn’t a computer or digital console in sight. 

Owner, Derrick Sheets, a man with a love for board games, opened his own shop in 2013.  “I’ve always liked gaming and I didn’t like working for other people and I wanted to do something where people are happy to see me,” Sheets says. 

Sheets began playing cards at a young age and that led to him exploring other tabletop games when he was 11 years old. Some of his favorite games to play were Magic the Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons. The tabletop community became an important part of his life.

Father and son duo, Lukas and Alex Scholtz sit down to play a boardgame. This game was purchased at the store and Sheets invited them to take a seat and play right there in the store. Wednesday April 13, 2022 (Photo by Haley Bayer)

“I like the personal and social aspect and I think a lot of people would benefit from that too,” Sheets says.  

When Sheets moved to Chattanooga, he noticed there weren’t many game shops so he took it upon himself to open one. “I wanted a place to play with my friends and there really wasn’t a place and I’m the kind of person that if I want something, I’ll just do it,” he explains.  

Game on Chattanooga doesn’t only serve as a board game store; it is also a place where people can come in, take a few demo games, sit down and play with friends. He describes the community that he brings in as different makes and models.  

Fellow gamers gather at Game on Chattanooga to play “A Song of Fire and Ice” miniatures game. This game in particular was Game of Thrones themed. Wednesday, April 13, 2022. (Photo by Haley Bayer)

“I would say the community of the store is the best part because everybody kinda needs what they call a ‘third place’ where it’s a place that’s not work and it’s not home. It’s a place where you have friends with something in common,” Sheets says. 

Creating a community is something that Sheets is clearly passionate about as he has a collection of about 100 board games that he takes with him to bars, conventions and events that he runs. Game on Chattanooga continues to be a safe place for this community. 

“People want to find other people with shared interests and things in common and that is more or less what my business model is,” Sheets says.  

Haley Bayer is a senior at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and is currently majoring in Communications with a Women’s Gender and Sexuality minor. Haley is a storyteller with experience in social media, photography, audio, and design. In the future, Haley looks forward to working in Media Management. She is a hardworking and persevering individual who aspires to use her voice in Rising Rock to share moving stories. To contact her for work, email 

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