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Subject: Not All LGS's Are Equal...A Game Store Report Card? rss

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J.L. Robert
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On and on, people seem to confuse (or refuse to acknowledge) the fact that some game stores are quite different from others.

What some people call an "FLGS" is obviously not characteristic of EVERY game store. Yet some people rail against an FLGS by sharing experiences from poorly-run, -managed, -stocked, or -serviced game stores.

For the record, those stores are "LGS's", NOT "FLGS's". There is a clear difference from a game store that makes one feel welcome and wanting to return, and a game store that's just there.

I'm fortunate that I live in the Los Angeles area, with a variety of stores to choose from. Some are closer than others, yet I'll travel the extra distance to return to stores with friendly staff, are willing to place orders for me, or even simply express an interest in my inquiries as a customer. I do not return to stores with indifferent workers, ones that fail to carry a decent variety of product, will not order anything they normally do not carry, or provide poor (or non-existent) customer service. A couple even offer discounts for pre-paid special orders, and one offers me significant discounts for pre-orders, as reward for my 12-year patronage of the store.

Now, I haven't the time nor the inclination to sift through the entirety of BGG's forums. But I would like to know if there has been any sort of effort to establish a standardized "report card" format to rate game stores? This would serve casual visitors of BGG, game-playing travellers, or those on the move with finding a game store that they can find satisfying to their needs.

Something along the lines of a 0-10 scale, 10 being best, over a variety of subjects:

*Location--how accessible is the location? Is it near the highway, or is there a long and winding road ahead of me? For those with gaming tables, are there enough conveniences nearby (restaurants, other diversions, maybe even a bank)?

*Product Stock--does it have a good variety of games? Are they current titles, or dust-collecting oldies-but-moldies? What about accessories?

*Product knowledge--does the person behind the counter know what you're talking about? Do they know when that expansion is due to be released?

*Staff friendliness--Are they looking to help you? Or are they more interested in the game they're playing instead?

*Networking--Bulletin boards? Table space? Flyers for local conventions or clubs? Is there a way to find out about other gamers in the area?

*Atmosphere--Is it well-lit? Are there good traffic lanes within the aisles? How clean is the place?

A total summary score from 0-60 (a sum of the above 6 ratings), as a quick reference total.

Additional notes can be included to indicate if the store takes special orders, if they offer sales or specials, or if they schedule regular events and/or tournaments (and which games, specifically, if applicable).

If such a project had been started already, I'd love to take a look at such. Otherwise, is there a way we can establish some sort of database/list/wiki to begin such an endeavor?

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Nicolas Guay
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Whenever I'm traveling to a new city I use this site:

www.the-master-list.com

They do list what those stores carry and as we all well know, it's pretty rare to find a comic book shop that does not sell some board games and will have a gamer crowd. They also have a "review" section for each of those stores.

To answer your main question, I would definitely rather have this information on BGG and if we can have a forum of some sort for that sole purpose, that would be great.

To add to your notes, here is what I would like to see as well:

1. The amount of parking space available is a huge factor for me especially when traveling on week-days where finding free parking is next to impossible in most cities.

2. Methods of payment accepted are also really important for me, since it's the industry I'm working in. A store must accept Visa and M/C at the very least for me to consider visiting them. Amex and debit are a plus.

3. Business hours, many FLGS are part time operations and can have the oddest days off and hours of operation. I use to operate a FLGS part time that was closed Sunday-Monday-Tuesday and was opened from 4-8 other days except Saturday with 12-8

I hope something can come out of all this. A quick and efficient way to do this would simply be to have a new “FLGS” forum with several sub-folders for each country and province and someone to moderate it all. That is something I am definitely willing to take on if the BGG admins are too busy with other things?

Nick
 
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nickguay wrote:
Whenever I'm traveling to a new city I use this site:

www.the-master-list.com


That list is not as helpful as the Game Store Database at boardgamenews (http://www.boardgamenews.com/index.php/wiki/). The GameStoreDB.com site (has a little bit of information as well. The master-list is for "trading card and comic book" stores, which often excludes euro-game stores. If what we are looking for is stores which carry the type of games most associated with BGG, then that is not a good place to start.

I agree that a rating and detailed information system would be helpful.
 
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J.L.Robert wrote:
*Atmosphere--Is it well-lit? Are there good traffic lanes within the aisles? How clean is the place?


Is well-lit a positive or negative.

For me it is a positive, but I do believe many see it as a negative.
 
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J.L. Robert
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Spielguy wrote:
J.L.Robert wrote:
*Atmosphere--Is it well-lit? Are there good traffic lanes within the aisles? How clean is the place?


Is well-lit a positive or negative.

For me it is a positive, but I do believe many see it as a negative.


I suppose it would be subjective, based on the person making the review.

Personally, I'm in agreement with you. Low lighting may be a nice atmosphere at a restaurant I'm taking a date out to, but I'd rather be able to read a box back or a game card without straining my poor eyes any more than they already must do.
 
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Paul Sauberer
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Of course, as this pertains to the newly announced Mayfair policy (which is what is driving all this talk) they are equal.

The Mayfair policy ostensibly seeks to shift purchases to B&M stores. There is no differentiation between a "good" or "bad" store. Nothing in their new policy gives an incentive to a B&M location to do the "good" things like have table space, run demos, or sponsor local cons.

If Mayfair doesn't diferentiate between quality of store, which should we when we discuss their policy?
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J.L. Robert
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Psauberer wrote:
Of course, as this pertains to the newly announced Mayfair policy (which is what is driving all this talk) they are equal.

The Mayfair policy ostensibly seeks to shift purchases to B&M stores. There is no differentiation between a "good" or "bad" store. Nothing in their new policy gives an incentive to a B&M location to do the "good" things like have table space, run demos, or sponsor local cons.

If Mayfair doesn't diferentiate between quality of store, which should we when we discuss their policy?


Actually, Paul, this thread has nothing to do with Mayfair Games.

I regularly see threads from people asking for store recommendations for different parts of the world. I am planning future trips to San Francisco and Las Vegas, and would like to know which stores are worth visiting in those parts. I'm sure I'm not the only one.

I think it would be a useful tool to have a comprehensive listing of game stores, along with reviews by patrons or visitors of those stores. Stores with better reputations will get their due, and will likely receive more attention from casual visitors of the listing, as well as vacationers or newly-relocated gamers.

Telling a store owner "Your shop has good recommendations on BGG" is an incentive for them to maintain their level of service, stock-on-hand, and/or ameneties. In the same vein, a store being told "Your store doesn't seem to offer as much as this other one does" may just spur some owners to improve their services to levels consumers would prefer to experience.

This way, everyone here will get to know which LGS's truly deserve the "F" in FLGS.
 
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Paul Sauberer
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Then I would suggest that it would be more effective to try and compile such a list after the current hubbub to die down.

It is a worthwhile project but is probably doomed to get lost in the noise of the Mayfair controversy.
 
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Xander Fulton
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What would be nice would be a section on BGG for 'game store profiles'.

Preferably, something like user 'profile pages', and could be found on the "gamer database" - that which gives us Google maps to player's locations (by zip code for actual people, but for game stores, a more specific address would be helpful).

Or maybe game pages?

Idea would be to allow for user reviews, comments on selection, and maybe have in the main subject section of the game store a "report card" very like you are suggesting.
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J.L. Robert
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XanderF wrote:
What would be nice would be a section on BGG for 'game store profiles'.

Preferably, something like user 'profile pages', and could be found on the "gamer database" - that which gives us Google maps to player's locations (by zip code for actual people, but for game stores, a more specific address would be helpful).

Or maybe game pages?

Idea would be to allow for user reviews, comments on selection, and maybe have in the main subject section of the game store a "report card" very like you are suggesting.


Spot-on! This is exactly what I'm envisioning.

I just don't have the practical or technical knowhow to make it a reality.
 
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Paul Sauberer
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Doesn't the Game Store Database (I forget the exact URL) have a way to update info? I think that it has summaries of what some stores carry and general impresions of it.
 
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Paul Sauberer
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There's good news and bad news.

First the good news. I just looked and there is a link to gamestoredb.com in the Bazaar tab here on BGG. It looks like the perfect place for this kind of project.

The bad news is that I got an error when I tried to make a comment on a local B&M store, so it looks like it can't be updated right now.
 
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Twinge
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This is a good idea. A side benefit is that it helps give some additional exposure (albeit small) to our favorite store(s) and let's more people know they exist.
 
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Ryan Johnson
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I think a master list like this would be a very good thing to have. It would aslo hopefully allow us to rate our experiences in said stores... I know that comments aimed at FLGS can be cutting at times, but the vitriol is easy to sift through and even the harshest comments often have a nugget of wisdom for the owners to gleen.
Plus I assume most game store owners are level headed adults and can manage the heavy criticism.

The unfortuante thing is that most of the stores I've entered in the the last 4 years don't even know what Boardgamegeek.com is. The few that do know of the Geek, certainly don't use it to their advantage, and that includes at least 2 of the local shops here in KC.
 
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Xander Fulton
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Psauberer wrote:
There's good news and bad news.

First the good news. I just looked and there is a link to gamestoredb.com in the Bazaar tab here on BGG. It looks like the perfect place for this kind of project.

The bad news is that I got an error when I tried to make a comment on a local B&M store, so it looks like it can't be updated right now.


Well, by NAME, it certainly SOUNDS right, but...

...I dunno, trying to use it...it's a little messy?
 
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