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Subject: Looking for stores/great deals in Minneapolis, Madison and Milwaukee rss

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Gabriel Pesso
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Hey All,

I'll be traveling to those cities in 2 weeks and I was wondering if there are good stores to stop by. (with hopefully good deals!)

Places selling ding & dent or clearance with good markups are always appreciated as well! cool

Thanks!!
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Nick S
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Minneapolis / St Paul has no fewer than a dozen stores worth checking out.

Fantasy Flight Games Center in Roseville has a great gaming space, including beer and food and a huge game library for free. Games are sold at MSRP. This is my favorite place to actually play.

The Source Comics & Games in only a few minutes from FFGC in Roseville. They sell everything at MSRP but have a lot of really cool collectible stuff. They have a gaming space but it's a little smaller and I felt it was really crowded the one time I was there.

Level Up Games has three locations now -- South St Paul, Eagan, and Minneapolis (Mead Hall). I haven't been to Mead Hall, but SSP has a bigger board game selection than Eagan. They do 15% off all things, with one weekend a month giving an additional 15% off games. The Eagan store has a nicer play space than SSP, and while they have a big wall of games to buy, it's not as big as SSP. Both have a small demo library.

There are multiple Gaming Goat locations that do 30% off MSRP on whatever they can (because minimum advertised price policies sometimes restrict to 15-20%). I really like the Eagan location -- always friendly service and always willing to order whatever they don't have. All the Gaming Goats are smaller stores with smaller selections and smaller play spaces, but they'll usually have the new releases and big name older releases. There's also a store in Woodbury and one in St Paul.

Lodestone Coffee & Games is in Minnetonka. I've never been there so I don't know much about it. Looks like a nice place to play based on Google images.

There are several others in the area, but I haven't been to any of them. I have two shops within walking distance of my house, so I don't have to travel far =)
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Nate Phillipps
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I like The Source, they have a great selection. They're a bit of a drive from where I live so I don't go there too often.

Dreamers Vault in St. Louis Park has a discount rack right by the door, but their overall selection of games is pretty small (smaller than a Games By James) as they're primarily MtG and Warhammer.
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Ryan Feathers
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I'm Board is the best board game hobby store in the Madison, WI area. However it does sell most things at MSRP. (Occasionally have moderate sales on poorly selling items). As such it may not quite fit what you're looking for.

They do however have a nice consignment area that often has some reasonable deals on used copies of popular games if you're willing to go that route.

The other game stores in Madison WI mostly sell at MSRP as well to my knowledge. I rarely go to any of them so I don't fully know though.

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Charles Boyung
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There aren't great stores in the Milwaukee area at all. There are a few "good, and getting better" stores - notably TK Games and Games Universe. They were both horrible under their previous owner (also the owner of Minion Games), but when he sold them off, the new owners of both entities have taken many strides to improve.

As for deals, nothing cheaper than MSRP, and if you want any chance of deals, you need to avoid Board Game Barrister at all costs - the owner of those stores likes marking things above MSRP.

I do agree with Ryan that I'm Board is a very nice store. Still wouldn't call it "great", but better than anything in the Milwaukee area (unless you want to call Fond du Lac part of the Milwaukee area).
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Leah M Tracy
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I also agree that I'm Board in Madison is great. The other stores in the Madison area are:
Pegasus Games
Netherworld Games
Misty Mountain Games

Depending on when you are passing through, Noble Knight Games is moving from Janesville to a new and bigger store/gaming/warehouse space in Fitchburg!! Check out their online page for info when the new store is open. They sell not only brand new but also used and they frequently have sales. They also purchase games, miniatures, RPG materials, you name it...
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Steve
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Xonim wrote:
Minneapolis / St Paul has no fewer than a dozen stores worth checking out.

Fantasy Flight Games Center in Roseville has a great gaming space, including beer and food and a huge game library for free. Games are sold at MSRP. This is my favorite place to actually play.

The Source Comics & Games in only a few minutes from FFGC in Roseville. They sell everything at MSRP but have a lot of really cool collectible stuff. They have a gaming space but it's a little smaller and I felt it was really crowded the one time I was there.

Level Up Games has three locations now -- South St Paul, Eagan, and Minneapolis (Mead Hall). I haven't been to Mead Hall, but SSP has a bigger board game selection than Eagan. They do 15% off all things, with one weekend a month giving an additional 15% off games. The Eagan store has a nicer play space than SSP, and while they have a big wall of games to buy, it's not as big as SSP. Both have a small demo library.

There are multiple Gaming Goat locations that do 30% off MSRP on whatever they can (because minimum advertised price policies sometimes restrict to 15-20%). I really like the Eagan location -- always friendly service and always willing to order whatever they don't have. All the Gaming Goats are smaller stores with smaller selections and smaller play spaces, but they'll usually have the new releases and big name older releases. There's also a store in Woodbury and one in St Paul.

Lodestone Coffee & Games is in Minnetonka. I've never been there so I don't know much about it. Looks like a nice place to play based on Google images.

There are several others in the area, but I haven't been to any of them. I have two shops within walking distance of my house, so I don't have to travel far =)
What he said!

For Lodestone, it's a coffee and games shop, with nightly events (generally D&D or Magic). The owners make sure to have 2-3 tables open for non-event customers even on their busiest nights, and I've always had great service.

They're generally about 10% off MSRP, but have a smaller selection than LevelUp (haven't been to a Gaming Goat yet so can't compare).

They have an interesting selection of games for sale, with a decent selection of Splotter and heavy games, a decent selection of family/casual games (Kingdomino and HABA games, etc), and then some stuff in between.

Ah, and their demo library isn't nearly as huge as FFGC (that's an entire warehouse wall!), but it has a good range of games.
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Chad Egbert
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You can check out this list for game nights.

https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/199117/twins-cities-event...
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Ethan Yanyo
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As others have said, the game stores in Madison are good for getting new releases, but not the best places for deals. As far as I know, everything is at or above MSRP. I live about 20-30 minutes south of Madison and we still would rather drive an hour down to Rockford to shop at the Gaming Goat there to get everything 20-30% off MSRP.
 
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Pete Sellers
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HarryPouncer wrote:
I also agree that I'm Board in Madison is great. The other stores in the Madison area are:
Pegasus Games
Netherworld Games
Misty Mountain Games

Depending on when you are passing through, Noble Knight Games is moving from Janesville to a new and bigger store/gaming/warehouse space in Fitchburg!! Check out their online page for info when the new store is open. They sell not only brand new but also used and they frequently have sales. They also purchase games, miniatures, RPG materials, you name it...

I wouldn't tout Noble Knight Game's buying service as anything to write home about... I just sent them a list of 155 games, most of which were unplayed and many unpunched and they sent me an offer of $600, which amounts to $3.87 a game. I understand they need to make a profit, but as an example:

I had Star Wars: Rebellion on my list. It's in brilliant shape. Sells new for $89.95 on their own site or $75 USED. They offered me $3.87 for it.

Now honestly, many of the games on my list were meh at best, but not $3.87 per game meh. I wasn't looking to make a mint on these games, but the markup from just under $4 to $75 is criminal, imho.

I am never shopping there for sure and will NEVER recommend them to anyone.
 
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David Warren
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Any other places on the west side of MPLS that you know of? I've been looking for decent places though everything seems to be St. Paul side.

I've heard of Lodestone but didn't know they sell and never heard of Dreamers Vault so I'll have to check them out.
 
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Chad Egbert
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Skyw3rd wrote:
Any other places on the west side of MPLS that you know of? I've been looking for decent places though everything seems to be St. Paul side.

I've heard of Lodestone but didn't know they sell and never heard of Dreamers Vault so I'll have to check them out.

Phoenix Games in Osseo.
 
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Charles Boyung
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Laladien wrote:
HarryPouncer wrote:
I also agree that I'm Board in Madison is great. The other stores in the Madison area are:
Pegasus Games
Netherworld Games
Misty Mountain Games

Depending on when you are passing through, Noble Knight Games is moving from Janesville to a new and bigger store/gaming/warehouse space in Fitchburg!! Check out their online page for info when the new store is open. They sell not only brand new but also used and they frequently have sales. They also purchase games, miniatures, RPG materials, you name it...

I wouldn't tout Noble Knight Game's buying service as anything to write home about... I just sent them a list of 155 games, most of which were unplayed and many unpunched and they sent me an offer of $600, which amounts to $3.87 a game. I understand they need to make a profit, but as an example:

I had Star Wars: Rebellion on my list. It's in brilliant shape. Sells new for $89.95 on their own site or $75 USED. They offered me $3.87 for it.

Now honestly, many of the games on my list were meh at best, but not $3.87 per game meh. I wasn't looking to make a mint on these games, but the markup from just under $4 to $75 is criminal, imho.

I am never shopping there for sure and will NEVER recommend them to anyone.

That’s a really misleading post you’ve got there. They did not offer you $3.87 for it - that was the average. You have no idea what they were offering for rebellion itself. Without your list of all 155 games, all you’re trying to do here is mislead people.

Noble Knight is no different than any used item retailer - they have to take into account the money it’s going to cost to get the games shipped from you to them (or do they not cover that - I have no idea), labor hours inventorying it (doesn’t matter that you say it’s complete, they still will have to make sure for themselves, value of the space being taken up by the game on their warehouse shelves until it sells, and then still be able to make at least some profit on it when it finally sells, the entire time hoping the value of the item doesn’t drop drastically before they’re able to offload it.

You want to make “good money” for your used games, a used reseller is not the way to do it - it never has been and it never will be. Their seller market is people who want to clear out unwanted items with the minimal amount of work while still making a bit of cash (as opposed to just donating to a charity).
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Pete Sellers
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motoyugota wrote:
Laladien wrote:
HarryPouncer wrote:
I also agree that I'm Board in Madison is great. The other stores in the Madison area are:
Pegasus Games
Netherworld Games
Misty Mountain Games

Depending on when you are passing through, Noble Knight Games is moving from Janesville to a new and bigger store/gaming/warehouse space in Fitchburg!! Check out their online page for info when the new store is open. They sell not only brand new but also used and they frequently have sales. They also purchase games, miniatures, RPG materials, you name it...

I wouldn't tout Noble Knight Game's buying service as anything to write home about... I just sent them a list of 155 games, most of which were unplayed and many unpunched and they sent me an offer of $600, which amounts to $3.87 a game. I understand they need to make a profit, but as an example:

I had Star Wars: Rebellion on my list. It's in brilliant shape. Sells new for $89.95 on their own site or $75 USED. They offered me $3.87 for it.

Now honestly, many of the games on my list were meh at best, but not $3.87 per game meh. I wasn't looking to make a mint on these games, but the markup from just under $4 to $75 is criminal, imho.

I am never shopping there for sure and will NEVER recommend them to anyone.

That’s a really misleading post you’ve got there. They did not offer you $3.87 for it - that was the average. You have no idea what they were offering for rebellion itself. Without your list of all 155 games, all you’re trying to do here is mislead people.

Noble Knight is no different than any used item retailer - they have to take into account the money it’s going to cost to get the games shipped from you to them (or do they not cover that - I have no idea), labor hours inventorying it (doesn’t matter that you say it’s complete, they still will have to make sure for themselves, value of the space being taken up by the game on their warehouse shelves until it sells, and then still be able to make at least some profit on it when it finally sells, the entire time hoping the value of the item doesn’t drop drastically before they’re able to offload it.

You want to make “good money” for your used games, a used reseller is not the way to do it - it never has been and it never will be. Their seller market is people who want to clear out unwanted items with the minimal amount of work while still making a bit of cash (as opposed to just donating to a charity).

Given the list and what I've now looked up, I'm not misleading anyone. Yes, it's based on a pure average, but so far, of the 155 games I've researched, at least 75 of them have been drastically lowballed. You say I'm misleading people, but I'll finish researching this list and see.

Don't get me wrong, I've worked in used games, books, video games for YEARS. I know how the market works - I know how they have to get paid, pay others, pay for heat/cooling, rent... I GET that. However, this isn't a case of this, imho. Sure, some of the games I had on that list were meh, but not the majority and not in the condition I'm listing them. For what I'm selling, $600 is lowballing. You say I'm misleading, so be it - but I know the market well enough to know I'm being screwed.

If you want to take up their defense, feel free. I just wanted to get a fair price for them and the prices they're offering are not even remotely fair even by used standards. Like I said, I understand the business model... I just think they lowball their customers.

Regardless, you know it's bad when Half Price Books offers more... and they're known for being cheap.

In the end take it as you will. This is MY personal experience and I'm not thrilled with them. I won't discuss it more, because I'm probably more annoyed and that's not helping, but yeah... not thrilled.
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Pete Sellers
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motoyugota wrote:
There aren't great stores in the Milwaukee area at all. There are a few "good, and getting better" stores - notably TK Games and Games Universe. They were both horrible under their previous owner (also the owner of Minion Games), but when he sold them off, the new owners of both entities have taken many strides to improve.

As for deals, nothing cheaper than MSRP, and if you want any chance of deals, you need to avoid Board Game Barrister at all costs - the owner of those stores likes marking things above MSRP.

I do agree with Ryan that I'm Board is a very nice store. Still wouldn't call it "great", but better than anything in the Milwaukee area (unless you want to call Fond du Lac part of the Milwaukee area).

On topic, Game Universe has definitely improved. I liked what Matt used to do when he ran it, but when he moved, the stores went downhill.

FWIW, I like Barrister. The one thing they have going for them is selection. Prices are generally high, I will agree, but it's a nice atmosphere and they have great events.
 
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Charles Boyung
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Laladien wrote:
motoyugota wrote:
There aren't great stores in the Milwaukee area at all. There are a few "good, and getting better" stores - notably TK Games and Games Universe. They were both horrible under their previous owner (also the owner of Minion Games), but when he sold them off, the new owners of both entities have taken many strides to improve.

As for deals, nothing cheaper than MSRP, and if you want any chance of deals, you need to avoid Board Game Barrister at all costs - the owner of those stores likes marking things above MSRP.

I do agree with Ryan that I'm Board is a very nice store. Still wouldn't call it "great", but better than anything in the Milwaukee area (unless you want to call Fond du Lac part of the Milwaukee area).

On topic, Game Universe has definitely improved. I liked what Matt used to do when he ran it, but when he moved, the stores went downhill.

FWIW, I like Barrister. The one thing they have going for them is selection. Prices are generally high, I will agree, but it's a nice atmosphere and they have great events.

Mathe was a horrible owner from day one. There might have been some good employees, but the quality definitely trickled down from the top. New owner is definitely doing things the right way (which is great, because one of the stores is about 2 miles from my house).

Barrister I stop into once and a while, but again, I know of so many problems people have had with the owner (and sometimes employees), I just really can’t justify more than that.

I’ve never lived less than 40 minutes away from it, but Chimera Hobbies in Fond du Lac has always been the only local store I frequent regularly for nearly 25 years because it is, by far, the best store in the SE quadrant of the state.
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Pete Sellers
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motoyugota wrote:


Mathe was a horrible owner from day one. There might have been some good employees, but the quality definitely trickled down from the top. New owner is definitely doing things the right way (which is great, because one of the stores is about 2 miles from my house).

Barrister I stop into once and a while, but again, I know of so many problems people have had with the owner (and sometimes employees), I just really can’t justify more than that.

I’ve never lived less than 40 minutes away from it, but Chimera Hobbies in Fond du Lac has always been the only local store I frequent regularly for nearly 25 years because it is, by far, the best store in the SE quadrant of the state.

I live nearer to the one in Franklin (it's the store that used to be located on HWY 100). It was ok.

I guess for me, based on the fact that I live in Franklin, those are really my only real alternatives. I do shop online quite a bit, in all honesty.
 
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Ranior wrote:
I'm Board is the best board game hobby store in the Madison, WI area. However it does sell most things at MSRP. (Occasionally have moderate sales on poorly selling items). As such it may not quite fit what you're looking for.

They do however have a nice consignment area that often has some reasonable deals on used copies of popular games if you're willing to go that route.
I've enjoyed the consignment area quite a bit, partly for what I've bought and partly the entertainment value of seeing how ambitiously some people price their games.

Is that $160 Die Macher still on the shelf?
 
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dpbush wrote:
Ranior wrote:
I'm Board is the best board game hobby store in the Madison, WI area. However it does sell most things at MSRP. (Occasionally have moderate sales on poorly selling items). As such it may not quite fit what you're looking for.

They do however have a nice consignment area that often has some reasonable deals on used copies of popular games if you're willing to go that route.
I've enjoyed the consignment area quite a bit, partly for what I've bought and partly the entertainment value of seeing how ambitiously some people price their games.

Is that $160 Die Macher still on the shelf?
No, but there is a $300 copy of The 7th Continent now. I have come across some good finds though. I am happy to have found a like new copy of Nexus Ops for cheap.
 
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Moose Jaw wrote:
Is the downtown location closing, too?
 
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Chad Egbert
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dpbush wrote:
Moose Jaw wrote:
Is the downtown location closing, too?

Just South Saint Paul and Eagan.
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motoyugota wrote:
There aren't great stores in the Milwaukee area at all. There are a few "good, and getting better" stores - notably TK Games and Games Universe. They were both horrible under their previous owner (also the owner of Minion Games), but when he sold them off, the new owners of both entities have taken many strides to improve.

As for deals, nothing cheaper than MSRP, and if you want any chance of deals, you need to avoid Board Game Barrister at all costs - the owner of those stores likes marking things above MSRP.

I do agree with Ryan that I'm Board is a very nice store. Still wouldn't call it "great", but better than anything in the Milwaukee area (unless you want to call Fond du Lac part of the Milwaukee area).

A not great update to this - Games Universe has taken a page from Barrister and is now charging more than MSRP for many games. Several times I've gone in and found something I wanted and was willing to pay significantly more than online to get it then (in one case, online was $25 below MSRP) and then I saw that the price at Games Universe was $5-10 MORE than MSRP. Sorry, not doing that.
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Not sure if you've made it to Minneapolis yet but there is a newer shop called All Systems Go that has a nice section of used games. I've gotten some great deals there and it's right across the street from Young Joni, a James Beard Award winning restaurant with a fun bar menu.
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motoyugota wrote:
motoyugota wrote:
There aren't great stores in the Milwaukee area at all. There are a few "good, and getting better" stores - notably TK Games and Games Universe. They were both horrible under their previous owner (also the owner of Minion Games), but when he sold them off, the new owners of both entities have taken many strides to improve.

As for deals, nothing cheaper than MSRP, and if you want any chance of deals, you need to avoid Board Game Barrister at all costs - the owner of those stores likes marking things above MSRP.

I do agree with Ryan that I'm Board is a very nice store. Still wouldn't call it "great", but better than anything in the Milwaukee area (unless you want to call Fond du Lac part of the Milwaukee area).

A not great update to this - Games Universe has taken a page from Barrister and is now charging more than MSRP for many games. Several times I've gone in and found something I wanted and was willing to pay significantly more than online to get it then (in one case, online was $25 below MSRP) and then I saw that the price at Games Universe was $5-10 MORE than MSRP. Sorry, not doing that.

I've also observed this. Last time I was in, every game I looked at was marked up. Ended up browsing and buying on Amazon instead. It's sad - these local stores tend to lament the loss of revenue from board games (relying on Magic to carry them), but then mark games up so much that it's smarter to buy them on Amazon or other online stores...
 
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