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Subject: OBG 052: Breaking Up is Hard to Do rss

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Donald Dennis
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Erik, Donald, and Scott discuss beaking up with a game store or group

Scott dishes on North American Simulation and Gaming Association event he attended.
http://www.nasaga.org/

Donald mentions S-C-A-R-A-B, and how he'll be attending SCARAB Con in January.
http://www.s-c-a-r-a-b.com/

Giles talks about epic games.

Dan from Myriad Games talks with Donald about customer/game store relationships.
http://myriadgames.com/



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Donald Dennis
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They Myriad Games segment I said would be posted a couple days later is actually included in this episode.
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Donald Dennis
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Have you had to break up with a game store or game group? How did it go? Do you have any tips or any regrets?

What do you think is reasonable to expect from a game store?

What would be enough incentive for you to purchase games through a local store?
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Fellow OBG fans,
Which segment is your favorite: Donald complaining about unresponsive retailers or Dan complaining about cheap customers?
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Geoff H
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I look forward to meeting you at SCARAB. I've already registered...

Was there a good selection of boardgames at XCON? I hope to be able to try some new boardgames at SCARAB in between the Dungeon Twister tournament.

Geoff
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Donald Dennis
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LurkingMeeple wrote:
Fellow OBG fans,
Which segment is your favorite: Donald complaining about unresponsive retailers or Dan complaining about cheap customers?

Ha!

zombie If I'd been editing the round table this time I would have cut out huge chunks of it or discarded it entirely. However Erik is intent on keeping me honest so he decided it'd amuse you guys enough to hear me at my worst.

Which is why I brought in Dan from Myriad. I was pleasantly surprised he kept his issues with unrealistic customers wishes to the few mentions he did; he's obviously sensitive to the customer viewpoint while being very concerned about how to keep his business running.
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Donald Dennis
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gheintze wrote:
I look forward to meeting you at SCARAB. I've already registered...
Excellent! We should grab a frosty beverage at the show. Do you know many people that will be attending?

gheintze wrote:
Was there a good selection of boardgames at XCON? I hope to be able to try some new boardgames at SCARAB in between the Dungeon Twister tournament.
I only attended XCON for one day, and from my limited exposure the general board game stuff was pretty weak with the exception of the guys from SCARAB.

The SCARAB guys did a good job, they had a nice game library and would teach games. Even if I hadn't already planned on attending SCARAB, their presence at XCON would have convinced me to do so.
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Geoff H
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Walsfeo wrote:
gheintze wrote:
I look forward to meeting you at SCARAB. I've already registered...
Excellent! We should grab a frosty beverage at the show. Do you know many people that will be attending?


I've always wanted to try mead... so perhaps that would be a good time. One of my friends (gamethyme on BGG) is flying in from Seattle to help run and compete in the Dungeon Twister events. I've been trying to convince other players to join as well. There are some other players from the Northeast and Canada who are trying to make it. And there was some talk of people from Europe coming as well, but that may just be hype. Hopefully, I can get a few more local players to join us...

Walsfeo wrote:
gheintze wrote:
Was there a good selection of boardgames at XCON? I hope to be able to try some new boardgames at SCARAB in between the Dungeon Twister tournament.
I only attended XCON for one day, and from my limited exposure the general board game stuff was pretty weak with the exception of the guys from SCARAB.

The SCARAB guys did a good job, they had a nice game library and would teach games. Even if I hadn't already planned on attending SCARAB, their presence at XCON would have convinced me to do so.


Glad to hear that there will be a good selection. I'm looking forward to trying several games out. At my games group in Durham, I provide a lot of the games, so it will be nice to try something new.

Geoff
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Donald Dennis
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Mead is a good thing, I'll see if I can find a local store that carries it.
I even talk about mead on my website. http://walsfeo.com/mead/index.htm

I'll bring some games as well and may even have some for sale there - I need to clean off my shelves.
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Allen Stucker
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I wish I had a friendly/professional local gaming store. I have to drive over a hundred miles to find one. Needless to say I purchase a lot of games online. I would gladly offer my patronage to a game store like Myriad. I love my rural life but there are drawbacks.

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Esteban Fernandez
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Yep, for the ones like me that live in small towns no-where, where it is hard to find more than 3 people to play it will be nice to have someplace to go and play.

Even paying, I was wondering listening the episode if it will be posible to run just a business where people just can play, without any selling involved, you pay to play a rate for hours, or a fixed one, depending the size of the table or something like that.

You think it will be profitable?
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Donald Dennis
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kabutor wrote:
Yep, for the ones like me that live in small towns no-where, where it is hard to find more than 3 people to play it will be nice to have someplace to go and play.

Even paying, I was wondering listening the episode if it will be posible to run just a business where people just can play, without any selling involved, you pay to play a rate for hours, or a fixed one, depending the size of the table or something like that.

You think it will be profitable?


If you can find a group to pay for space, I think you could probably build a store and actually be profitable as well. But I think it would be tough to build a thriving business on just providing space. It might be possible to break even.
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Michael Denman
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I really liked the interview with Dan. I found him to be totally inspirational (I should open a store like that!) while also being realistic (My degree is in Accounting, not Marketing). I can clearly see why his prices for the games and playing area are what they are and WHY it is clearly in my best interest to support this. Other stores... they really don't offer anything beyond "I'm a brick and mortar and you should support me or we'll all be gone one day." I was particularly taken by Dan's comparisons to other businesses and how we have such lower expectations for a game store because we just haven't seen any better.

Sadly, this weekend marks the end of the store I've been playing in. I'm scrambling to find a good option when we return from Thanksgiving, but it's not looking good. I've hosted at my place before, but my wife can only cope with that every so often. Besides, I've always argued that we needed to play publicly, for EXACTLY the reasons Dan mentions and I've been a lone voice in the crowd.
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Magnus Esko
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I did not find the roundtable interesting this time, I can't even begin to relate to this. There are no gamestores where I live so I by all my games online. I do however buy all games from the same store and I've visited them once, for like 5 minutes. I would love to have a place to go and play games with other people. Currently we only play in my apartment and that is nice, I have a big table, comfortable chairs and we listen to my music collection. But I do have limited shelf space and there are only a few people here I can play with and we need to schedule plays beforehand and select games depending on the number of players. Most of us do not have fixed working hours so we play whenever we can get enough people. I would love to just go somewhere I can play games and talk about games and bring my own prototypes etc.

I really liked Giles segment. Although I think you kind of missed a point. There are two main starting points when designing games, you seem to only talk about theme or story as a starting point. I tend to start with gameplay most of the time. Usually there is one single mechanic or a group of mechanics I find interesting and then develop inside a theme I think is suitable. Usually the mechanics are inspired by a general theme so I can easily work the theme into the mechanics without making it feel glued on afterward.

I also really liked the interview with Dan, makes me want to start up my own gamestore. However, I live in a very small city so I would not want to take the financial risk of doing that here. I'm the type of guy who love to organize and improve things. Part of why I love board games I guess. And I love to create my own stuff, so I design board games. I already get all the business side of things and I am used to talking to customers and being friendly. I'm also good at teaching games and a very fast learner. I wonder, would people pay to have brand new games taught to them? That would be pretty neat in a store and an excellent way to fund new games for the gaming library.
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James Burns
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Yes, I had to break up with a game store. I tried to launch D&D games at that store ,but in the end it failed.

There were too many distractions in the store for other players for RPG or table games were their secondary market for they had a LAN set up and a home made DDR machine in a side room. Therefore alot of the younger crowd only played the computer games and DDR. I tried to introduce them into RPGA D&D ,but in the end all they wanted to do is play video games and seemed very bored in playing D&D.

They had a employee who was in charge of encouraging people to play RPG ,but his real job work came first so he wasn't there very much. When he was there he did try to help and get some of the video game crowd to play ,but video games are a hard lure.

Now there were other RPGers in the store as well ,but they were mostly closed groups and didn't want to play outside their group.

It didn't help that the business had a monthly member fee in that if you wanted to use the tables to play you had to be a member. They didn't want non member hanging out in the store not buying anything. Though most of the DDR/video gamers didn't buy anything other then snacky treats so the owner had to get money from them somehow ,but I think that hurt newer players who wanted to play at the store.

In the end I gave them 5 months of my time to try to get a RPGA group ,teach people board games or other card games ,but video/computer games and the fees pretty much prevented the plan from growing.

The store I work with now has no video games and actually works with me,the store has different nights of the week devoted to different games.
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Scott G

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Listening to this podcast and hearing about game stores like Myriad Games not only makes me jealous of such setups (!!), but makes me wonder how many gamers of the hobby are really able to leverage a FLGS.

My options for games stores are
- buy online
- a local comic store.. that sells games.
- a "hobby" store.. that sells games

I actually just recently heard that the comic store sold games. I've known it to sell comics, Magic, and I assumed D&D, but never knew it sold "other" board games. (In fact, I was listening to this podcast as I was driving to check the place out). I've heard the store was great from a comics point of view, good owners, good workers, really friendly...etc..etc. so I had high hopes that maybe there's a good game store hidden inside.

Boy was I disappointed. Oddly, the long shelf of games was right when you walked in.. so at first I thought they were going to give the games some credit and really know how to sell them. I saw a copy of "At the Gates of Loyang" tagged for $60. More than I know I can get elsewhere, but I understand that perhaps it's worth the difference if the local store can give me value than any online retailer.

Salesmen swings by, asked if I needed anything. I first commented that I didn't even know this store sold these games (i.e. At the Gates of Loyang, Pandemic, Catan, etc..). They're not listed on BGG, and there website lists comics, games and more. I've just assumed Magic and D&D based on the window ads. The reply was "Oh yeah, we've been stocking them for awhile, and they're really starting to move."

I follow up with a question for a suggestion on which to buy, "At the Gates of Loyang" vs "Agricola", because I'm currently deciding which to get first.
Reply: "Oh, I don't know much about these games."

I asked if anyone could help we weigh my options.
Reply: "Um.. not really. Nobody here really knows the different games that well."

I ask if they run tournaments or game nights.
"No, we really just sell the games."

I'm sorry, but that's a big let down. An overpriced game and no support.

But should I be let down? It's a comic store, that sells games on the side. It's clearly not their market. It's the same as a "hobby store" expanding their game section to include designer games. Sure, they sell them, but they don't offer much in support.

Do most gamers have a FLGS in their neighborhood? (Regardless if it's awesome-sounding like Myriad, or just a specialty store for gaming.)

Or is on-going growth of the hobby coming from "online purchasing" gamers. They newer gamers not exposed to this hobby from local stores, but from website, cons, and word of mouth?
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Chris Marling
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The Myriad Games interview was really interesting :)

I'd be interested to know Dan's thought on how he motivates his staff. Having been an assistant manager at Forbidden Planet in my past(for my sins), this was one of our key problems - you can have great stock, great location etc etc, but when your staff are often young, earning close to minimum wage and a little socially awkward, keeping standards high is a real problem. And this isn't a criticism of those young staffers at all (we were all young once)!

I guess it's a little different for a small company, where you have just one or two stores, but we could offer no financial incentives (beyond staff discount), just the guarantee of the first shot at the comics etc. It's not like there's a career there - most applicants are just filling time while at college, or waiting for a 'proper' job to come along.

And yes, I'm sure we could've done better, but we didn't :) So how does Dan make sure that the shelves are tidy, in order and dusted each morning? That every customer is greeted with a smile? I presume he can't be in both stores at once? I'm out of retail now, but I'd love to hear his insights.
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Donald Dennis
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scottieGGGG wrote:
But should I be let down? It's a comic store, that sells games on the side. It's clearly not their market. It's the same as a "hobby store" expanding their game section to include designer games. Sure, they sell them, but they don't offer much in support.


I dunno, any chance you have the time to help them build that community? Do they have the space for board game events?

It'd be good for your gaming life, and maybe you could even earn store credit if you really pumped up their gaming experience.
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James Burns
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Quote:
What would be enough incentive for you to purchase games through a local store?


Why would I purchase from a FLGS? That would be selection of product and not the same things sitting on the shelf for 2 years. Which one store I knew had, sun faded board games with dust on the plastic. Though he was mostly a comic book and Magic CCG store.
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Scott G

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Walsfeo wrote:
scottieGGGG wrote:
But should I be let down? It's a comic store, that sells games on the side. It's clearly not their market. It's the same as a "hobby store" expanding their game section to include designer games. Sure, they sell them, but they don't offer much in support.


I dunno, any chance you have the time to help them build that community? Do they have the space for board game events?

It'd be good for your gaming life, and maybe you could even earn store credit if you really pumped up their gaming experience.


I've considered it. I wonder how much time it would dig into my family, home owner / maintenance schedule. :-)

I'm sure they'd have tons of space if they took down all those tables used up for comic books. (JK.. of course... it's a joke comic book readers!).
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Donald Dennis
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Awakening wrote:
I did not find the roundtable interesting this time, I can't even begin to relate to this.


That's understandable. One of the perils of topic-focused round tables is that not all of our topics will appeal to all listeners. That's one of the reasons we usually include reviews, so we have some "general" interest segments in each episode.

Unfortunately it was such a full episode we decided to get an episode out as it was instead of delaying it any further to add in additional content. (Much of which hasn't even been created yet.)

I liked the Giles segment also.
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Donald Dennis
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scottieGGGG wrote:
I've considered it. I wonder how much time it would dig into my family, home owner / maintenance schedule. :-)


That's a huge issue. I'm lucky that my son is old enough to start playing games with us, so library game night counts as family time as well.
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Scott G

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Walsfeo wrote:

That's a huge issue. I'm lucky that my son is old enough to start playing games with us, so library game night counts as family time as well.


My son is only one.... I have a ways to go. :-)
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Myriad Games
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Thanks for the kind words, Michael. Glad to hear you enjoyed the discussion. We find great opportunities to introduce new customers to the hobby of games all year round and we applaud your efforts to do that in your local community as well!

- Dan Yarrington
Managing Partner
Myriad Games
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Myriad Games
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hairyarsenal wrote:
The Myriad Games interview was really interesting

I'd be interested to know Dan's thought on how he motivates his staff. ...I'm out of retail now, but I'd love to hear his insights.


I've written volumes on this (literally) for our Myriad Manuals, so I'll try to keep it concise. We attempt to harness the passion of our Game Guides, enhance their existing skills, and expand their capabilities for all aspects of our operations.

We use many checklists for regular tasks like cleaning, receiving and organizing inventory, notifying customers of new arrivals, etc.

We all love games. That's a prerequisite for working at Myriad Games.

As the industry becomes more professional, those individuals who want to make a career of sharing games with people will have more opportunities. We're trying to make that happen, one store at a time, one Game Guide at a time, one customer at a time. We've been blessed with some success so far and we're always striving to improve.

- Dan Yarrington
Managing Partner
Myriad Games
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