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Subject: Trigger warning, Asmodee, FLGS and poor decisions. rss

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Pieter-Michiel Geuze
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I have been reading about the new Asmodee pricing model which appears to be no more than an attempt to push out on-line retailers from using Amazon to make their sales at a lower cost than local gaming stores.

I can understand, and even appreciate the thought that Asmodee may be looking to do this in order to push forward the advantages that a local store may offer. In this I guess it means both a play space and a local presence to sell product and offer game support.

Normally I would start using the FLGS (friendly local game store) moniker to discuss this further, but the truth is that I am not sure that it is appropriate anymore. I do not believe that local game stores are either friendly, good business sense, or even really a useful support to the gaming business model.

Now I will take a moment to scrape off the pitch, tar and feathers, but I really think that we need to see works and what does not before we see our hobby flounder with this mindset that Asmodee is going to follow.

I used to play at a local store that I only found when during an online search for Call of Cthulhu, I was invited to a local "we play here every Tuesday" note. I immediately went to the store website and found nothing about the playgroup or even Call of Cthulhu -- I did learn about Magic the Gathering though.

So I attended this group and I tried to buy some of the new packs, but they were never available in store. So I bought the sets from a local retailer that usually does only on-line but also does some face to face sales. When I returned to the store, the owner angrily confronted me about my purchasing the set elsewhere and actually threatened me. I suggested to him in my polite "I have worked the streets for twenty years and carry a gun" voice that this was not good business. Apologies all around and we carried on. As new sets came out there still was nothing on his website or in the store.

As time went by, I received a number of invitations from online groups to local get togethers at homes, restaurants, retirement homes, clubhouses, and hotels to play all sorts of great games. I would find the ones I like, and order them from my local online, local pick up dealer. I am sure the neighbors were concerned about my backing up to his garage doors at all hours and move boxes around looking furtively to make sure that the wife was not watching.

I also received another invitation to play at a local game store at an event put on by an online group. I went and met a number of friends that I play with at the other gatherings and we had fun. I asked the store manager about a number of products, declined my interest in Magic the Gathering and left him my email so I could know about future non-MtG game days. I never knew the store was there, five minutes from my house, and having never heard from him since, I can care less either.

I have even recently decided that maybe I would like to buy the Redemption CCG for my child to take to school. I emailed all of my local stores with the usual "do you have it, can you get it" email. I foolishly thought that maybe I could take some time driving to or from and stop by and pick it up. Nope, not one answer of four FLGS. I could spend my time driving to all four and then see what they have, or I just called my dealer and he will have it next week. Probably will be able to bring it to our next get together for me.

Before I venture into the "too long; didn't read" category, what I hope to point out is that the FLGS may have gone the way of the typewriter repairman. Even though the Department of Labor keeps spending money for vocational schools to teach these skills, what do they really serve in today's market?

Is the boardgame market better served by local online retailers who act as ambassadors of the hobby? Can you imagine if the local game dealer made house calls, or organized game parties, or acted as a detail man? If that model works for pharmaceutical companies, Tupperware, MLM, and many other businesses, why does Asmodee think that only the FLGS is the answer?
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Your FLGS experiences sounds like they've been less than stellar.
While I don't partake in any of the in-store gaming (and the FLGS that I buy most of my games from doesn't have any gaming space anyways) my FLGS is very good at answering questions regarding games, and will reply to my emails usually within a day or two.

If you need to know the availability of a game they'll jump on their computer to check inventory, and then check their suppliers inventory if they don't have it in stock. If their supplier has it they can usually get it within a week.

There are good game stores out there - but there are bad ones also.

We shall just have to wait and see how this Asmodee focus works out. Time will tell.
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Richard Urich
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Asmodee would probably say the stores do not carry product, because you can readily acquire it cheaper from other sources. And Asmodee is fixing this problem by charging those cheaper sources higher prices, and pocketing the difference.

And I have no idea why so many game stores all over are so rude and inconsiderate. I don't really have local board game stores, but have visited quite a few elsewhere, and the majority seem to have extremely unprofessional attitudes towards their customers.
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Jeff Michaud
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PMGeuze wrote:

Is the boardgame market better served by local online retailers who act as ambassadors of the hobby??

yet another thread on....

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/tag/buyingonline-vs-flgs/user/...

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Richard Urich
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JeffyJeff wrote:
PMGeuze wrote:

Is the boardgame market better served by local online retailers who act as ambassadors of the hobby??

yet another thread on....

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/tag/buyingonline-vs-flgs/user/...



He gave a trigger warning! You shouldn't be here, your feelings could be hurt by the content of this discussion!
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I have an excellent local, FLGS. I hope that this new policy will encourage entrepreneurs to take the leap opening and running a store of equal quality near you - knowing that there will be support behind their business.

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Travis Griffin
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I can certainly appreciate your stance on this, but I also would say you are working from knowledge gathered from a small (and unlucky) sample size. Here in Colorado Springs, we have several shops, two of which I really enjoy going to. I like just browsing and when I can, play there. They both cater to slightly different crowds. One is more family oriented (Petries Family Games) and services Magic and D&D (for my son), and the other is more Adult-centric, and miniature war-gaming. But fortunately the service is fantastic at both.

The main thing to remember here, is that these are small family run businesses by passionate people who have a very finite supply of both resources and capital. It is very tough for them to always (if not even 1/2 the time) have the game in stock you are asking about. This is because they simply can not afford to keep inventory on the shelves. And while the gaming community has exploded the last couple years, which is great for business, it also makes it more difficult because there are so many options. And of course online retailers buy in bulk and have "everything".

Sounds like you just ran into some bad business. And I'm not saying mine are perfect, but they really do try. And this makes a difference to me. I almost always feel like I'm getting that white glove treatment from either store. I have my favorite, and I try to buy that local first. Then if they don't have it, I'll try the other store. If neither have it, or the price difference between online and retail is 40% or higher, I'll just pick it up on line. I think that's fair.

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PMGeuze wrote:
... why does Asmodee think that only the FLGS is the answer?


They don't. They think that FLGSes and their intrinsic support is part of the answer. Smothering those OLGS retailers who have been driving prices to the bottom are also a part of that answer.

There are winners and losers. Looks like the losers are being given a chance to be the winners, at the cost of the some of the most recent winners.

Life sometimes sucks for everyone.
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Jerry Martin
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I think judging the entire FLGS business model based off your poor experiences is a bad way to go about justifying anything. I personally have been to 7 store within 20 miles of me and all but one have been very good. The other I think thrives more off of it's comic and sports memorabilia than games.
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Peter Strait
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Not every LGS is a(n) FLGS.
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I actually really like how my local FLGS is ran but sadly they offer me no services I actually need. I prefer to play local, at home, online or at a nice place I can get food/drinks. Game stores in NYC simply do not have the space to accommodate. Also, since the rent is so high, they can't even come close to offering the same discount as online retailers. I wish I had the disposable income to help them along and am looking to save up to buy a game or two local from them but I know I'm not the only one in that boat. I feel really bad for them when the non MTG players sometimes won't even buy a drink at the venue. =\
 
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I can't understand and don't appreciate it at all. Plain and simple if it weren't for olgs I would just have dice, decks of cards, and classic abstracts and word/party games... oh, I guess some kids' games as well, maybe (although those would all have been purchased second hand). Granted I've had almost exclusively negative local game store experiences, but honestly I don't think it would've mattered, even an ideal flgs would just not appeal to me and I would be highly unlikely to make a purchase and even if I did I can't imagine buying more than one or two games every other year at most and those purchases would no doubt all be based on games I've learned about online. So many times over the years I have gotten really excited about some game, gone to a store to buy and then walked out empty handed feeling incredibly defeated and disenchanted... on the other hand I've actually had to set limits for myself when it comes to visiting an olgs because it's all I can do to avoid buying all the games! As far as I'm concerned from where I'm sitting Asmodee=Idiot. Fortunately for me, that's okay, I have so many games it would be no loss to me at all if I never bought another one... I was very happy with just pen and paper, dice and cards... this goes for so many other people I know as well, the internet has massively opened up gaming in general.
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Carrollz wrote:
I can't understand and don't appreciate it at all. Plain and simple if it weren't for olgs I would just have dice, decks of cards, and classic abstracts and word/party games... oh, I guess some kids' games as well, maybe (although those would all have been purchased second hand). Granted I've had almost exclusively negative local game store experiences, but honestly I don't think it would've mattered, even an ideal flgs would just not appeal to me and I would be highly unlikely to make a purchase and even if I did I can't imagine buying more than one or two games every other year at most and those purchases would no doubt all be based on games I've learned about online. So many times over the years I have gotten really excited about some game, gone to a store to buy and then walked out empty handed feeling incredibly defeated and disenchanted... on the other hand I've actually had to set limits for myself when it comes to visiting an olgs because it's all I can do to avoid buying all the games! As far as I'm concerned from where I'm sitting Asmodee=Idiot. Fortunately for me, that's okay, I have so many games it would be no loss to me at all if I never bought another one... I was very happy with just pen and paper, dice and cards... this goes for so many other people I know as well, the internet has massively opened up gaming in general.


We wouldn't have tournaments, wonderful staff, chances to meet local designers in one setting, a free, clean, bright, friendly place to play games, a marvelous selection of games, and accessories.

Oh, and OLGSes aren't going away... just the bottom feeders - so win/win.

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darthhugo wrote:
We wouldn't have tournaments, wonderful staff, chances to meet local designers in one setting, a free, clean, bright, friendly place to play games, a marvelous selection of games, and accessories.


I'm confused... why wouldn't you have those things?
 
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Byron S
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darthhugo wrote:
We wouldn't have tournaments, wonderful staff, chances to meet local designers in one setting, a free, clean, bright, friendly place to play games, a marvelous selection of games, and accessories.

Oh, and OLGSes aren't going away... just the bottom feeders - so win/win.

I have none of those things at my LGS, so I guess I just lose.
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Carrollz wrote:
darthhugo wrote:
We wouldn't have tournaments, wonderful staff, chances to meet local designers in one setting, a free, clean, bright, friendly place to play games, a marvelous selection of games, and accessories.


I'm confused... why wouldn't you have those things?


No FLGS. Doesn't seem confusing to me...

but oh, you think that because a FLGS is around today, that it will be there tomorrow. Right.
 
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runtsta wrote:
darthhugo wrote:
We wouldn't have tournaments, wonderful staff, chances to meet local designers in one setting, a free, clean, bright, friendly place to play games, a marvelous selection of games, and accessories.

Oh, and OLGSes aren't going away... just the bottom feeders - so win/win.

I have none of those things at my LGS, so I guess I just lose.


Yup, winners and losers.
 
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ErsatzDragon wrote:
Not every LGS is a(n) FLGS.


Yeah, so let em all die.
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darthhugo wrote:
Carrollz wrote:
darthhugo wrote:
We wouldn't have tournaments, wonderful staff, chances to meet local designers in one setting, a free, clean, bright, friendly place to play games, a marvelous selection of games, and accessories.


I'm confused... why wouldn't you have those things?


No FLGS. Doesn't seem confusing to me...

but oh, you think that because a FLGS is around today, that it will be there tomorrow. Right.


I don't have any thoughts about whether or not any FLGS that's here today will or won't be here tomorrow. There are definitely more places selling games in my area now then ten years ago though. I'm still confused why you think you wouldn't have those things, are you suggesting that if Asmodee doesn't enact this policy you personally won't have an FLGS? Have you asked at this place you like if they would've closed up shop if not for the Asmodee changes coming in April? Personally, I get most of those things not at a FLGS and did not find anything like that at any one I've been to... having access to a plentiful supply of great games at great prices at the click of a button from my home is what makes game buying happen for me though, I'm not at all interested in the other stuff in any case. It's a completely different market, imo, and I find it incredibly foolish, not to mention insulting, for Asmodee to attempt to influence control over our choices.
 
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Carrollz wrote:
and I find it incredibly foolish, not to mention insulting, for Asmodee to attempt to influence control over our choices.


Asmodee owes you nothing. Your choice is to buy or not to buy at the price point the product is being sold. There is no other contract, unless they signed one just with you.

Good luck.
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darthhugo wrote:
Carrollz wrote:
and I find it incredibly foolish, not to mention insulting, for Asmodee to attempt to influence control over our choices.


Asmodee owes you nothing. Your choice is to buy or not to buy at the price point the product is being sold. There is no other contract, unless they signed one just with you.

Good luck.


You've quoted my comment but I feel like you must be responding to something else?
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Peter Strait
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darthhugo wrote:
ErsatzDragon wrote:
Not every LGS is a(n) FLGS.


Yeah, so let em all die.


Not the point I'm making; I more mean, don't lump them all together, and don't feel you owe 'em something just because they sell board games. It's kinda appropriate for an awful place to put itself out of business by being awful to people, regardless of what good or service they're offering or what business they're nominally in.

If you find an FLGS, then yeah, it can be worth patronizing for a variety of reasons. You can make a rational argument that it's worth paying a little extra for the products themselves. But if it's a crappy LGS, I wouldn't say folks should still feel beholden or compelled. These shops are effectively just taking advantage of the goodwill built up by better shops, at that point, and diminishing it in the process.
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I'm not sure I have much to add here that hasn't been beaten to death but I will say this anyway:

In my area, our FLGS are centerpoints of our public meetup groups that attract a steady influx of new gamers. I, in fact, got into gaming when I stumbled across the local Meetup group and decided to poke my head into the game shop and see what it was all about. I've been hooked since.

I can't image seeing this go away, and can't imagine the negative impact it might have on the hobby if it did. Some folks will counter and mention they have local meetups at folks houses, libraries, or coffee shops. And that certainly may be true. But I for one would have never gone to one of those. The fact that the Meetup I found was at a game shop, and, worst case scenario, if it was a dud, I could poke around the shop, was the push I needed.

In addition, there are a lot of Magic players there on our weekly Game nights, and I sometimes see crossover as those folks wander over and become introduced to board games. Now, full disclosure, this isn't super common - most of the card players are on one side and the board gamers on the other. But it DOES happen, and I think that's great.

I sympathize with folks who don't have something similar, and to them, struggle to understand the value of FLGS. To them, all this means is higher priced online games and still no viable local FLGS. I'm not sure anything anyone says will change their minds.

But I can totally understand the need to support that section of the hobby by allowing them to be competitive with OLGS. Without FLGS, those of us who didn't happen to start out with established home-based gaming groups, or feel comfortable going to odd locations for meetups, would have had nowhere to go.
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Jeff Rietveld
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OutlawUnforgiven wrote:
I'm not sure I have much to add here that hasn't been beaten to death but I will say this anyway:

In my area, our FLGS are centerpoints of our public meetup groups that attract a steady influx of new gamers. I, in fact, got into gaming when I stumbled across the local Meetup group and decided to poke my head into the game shop and see what it was all about. I've been hooked since.

I can't image seeing this go away, and can't imagine the negative impact it might have on the hobby if it did. Some folks will counter and mention they have local meetups at folks houses, libraries, or coffee shops. And that certainly may be true. But I for one would have never gone to one of those. The fact that the Meetup I found was at a game shop, and, worst case scenario, if it was a dud, I could poke around the shop, was the push I needed.

In addition, there are a lot of Magic players there on our weekly Game nights, and I sometimes see crossover as those folks wander over and become introduced to board games. Now, full disclosure, this isn't super common - most of the card players are on one side and the board gamers on the other. But it DOES happen, and I think that's great.

I sympathize with folks who don't have something similar, and to them, struggle to understand the value of FLGS. To them, all this means is higher priced online games and still no viable local FLGS. I'm not sure anything anyone says will change their minds.

But I can totally understand the need to support that section of the hobby by allowing them to be competitive with OLGS. Without FLGS, those of us who didn't happen to start out with established home-based gaming groups, or feel comfortable going to odd locations for meetups, would have had nowhere to go.


Attempting to explain the value of an FLGS to someone who has never seen a good one is like trying to explain a Eurogame to someone who has only seen Monopoly.
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