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Subject: Shoutout to the BEST game store in the upstate NY region! rss

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Alan Goodrich
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I was home for the Thanksgiving holiday (I'm from near Binghamton, NY) and my dad mentioned that a new game store, Jupiter Games, had opened up in Vestal, close to the SUNY-Binghamton campus. We decided to check it out, as there has always been a bit of a dearth of game stores in the area - most of what there is exists as part of larger comics shops, etc. We stopped in on Sunday and were shocked by the selection: they have hands down the best selection I've EVER seen, bar none, and that's in comparison to stores I've been to in NYC and Chicago. They had an entire wall just devoted to Ravensburger! Ghost Stories, Titan, and Sylla! All the Alea big and medium box stuff! Expansions galore (not just boardgames, but Jambo, Gloom, et al. too)! A good chunk of the lineup of almost every publisher, from Cheapass on up to Fantasy Flight! Really, any game I've browsed or lusted after in the last 6 months on the 'geek, they had it - it was awesome to be able to handle and look at so many games. They have 200 games easy, probably more. Seriously, I could not believe the stock this place had, and it had me seriously reconsidering moving back to the area just to support this great enterprise. The owner is totally friendly, and he runs M:TG tournaments out of the store. Friday night is game night, he has 3 or 4 big tables in the back. When we were there, there were 8-10 people playing Warhammer style stuff (didn't recognize it, it looked sci-fi) and some CCG or other. We picked up two small expansions for Carcassonne (The River II and Cults/Siege) while we were there.

So anyway, if you live in the upstate NY / north PA area, I would say this is definitely worth a trip, regardless of how far you have to drive - this place will almost SURELY have whatever you might want. They have a website (www.jupitergames.net) but it's pretty rudimentary - good for directions, though.
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Scott Nicholson
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How would you compare the store to Millennium Games in Rochester, New York? In my opinion, that's the top shop in upstate NY, as not only do they carry new releases, they have a section of old and out-of-print games. They even rent out an empty shop next door to use for big open gaming events.
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dave klokner
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Thas' cool! I am a Broome County / Endicott Ex-Pat and let me tell you, back in the day we had it made! There was Fat Cat Books, Knight to Book Four, Charms, that hippy store on Main Street between Bingo and JC sold games for years, even the book stores in the mall and K&B had games. Vestal had GJ's. We had several venues for games: Knight Books on Sundays, The JC Coffee House, heck we even used rooms at the Vestal Library for Titan and D&D games. All of the 24 hour Laundromats, donut shops and diners knew our geeky faces well!

The gaming community and some good friends are the main things I miss about Upstate NY... And the Pizza.... mostly the Pizza... why there was Consul's, and Tony's and Rossi’s and Nirchi's........ cry
 
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John Owen
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snicholson wrote:
How would you compare the store to Millennium Games in Rochester, New York? In my opinion, that's the top shop in upstate NY, as not only do they carry new releases, they have a section of old and out-of-print games. They even rent out an empty shop next door to use for big open gaming events.


Scott, I haven't been to Millenium, so I can't make the comparison, but I can compare Jupiter with Play the Game, Read the Story (PtG,RtS) in Syracuse.

Both are located in popular shopping districts. PtG,RtS is now at the Carousel (but it had been at a strip mall). Jupiter is in a small plaza off of the Vestal parkway.

Both are located near universities. PtG,RtS is further from Syracuse U., but it's still close. Jupiter is within walking distance of the BU campus.

Both carry a wide range of new games. I think that the stock is comparable. If anything, PtG,RtS has a broader selection of family style games. Jupiter has games catering to this family market, but they feel more like a hardcore games shop. Also, the bulk of what Jupiter carries and sells is games. PtG,RtS has rows and rows of bound comics, toys, and miscellaneous product. Jupiter carries some comics, but it's not the main focus.

Both shops are pretty open to open gaming. I'm not sure what PtG,RtS's schedule is like, but Jupiter holds open gaming every Friday night from 6pm-2am (or whenever everyone is ready to collapse). The last time that I made it out on a Friday night, I played games ranging from Monty Python Fluxx, M:tG, Blokus, Mordred, to Agricola. There was a wide variety played at other tables. Additionally, I know that the owners are open to people coming in for open gaming any other time as well, as long as it doesn't conflict with scheduled events. The store does cater to the serious M:tG crowd and there are draft nights and other tournaments. All the Magic players there have been extremely nice and open to playing with a casual player like myself. I'm pretty sure there are sceduled World of Warcraft CCG events, too. And I know I've seen people setting up miniatures. Jupiter is definitely smaller than PtG,RtS, but they make up for it with heart and there are half a dozen tables available to be set up for gaming in the back of the store.

Actually, another trait that the two stores share is that, so far, I haven't seen too much serious "hex-and-counter" wargaming at Jupiter. I'm pretty sure that there are lots of wargamers up in Rochester and at Millenium, so there at least is a comparison/contrast for you. That just hasn't been the case down here yet, but I hope it changes.

As far as I'm concerned, Jupiter is the best game store in NY state, but I also know that I'm extremely biased since Jupiter is in my own backyard and the other shops aren't.

As a final aside, there are still other shops in the Binghamton area that have small gaming contingents (and Fat Cat deserves pride of place just for its longevity), but none of them even come close to rivalling Jupiter's single-minded devotion to the idea of a community gathered around games.

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Sue Hemberger

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snicholson wrote:
How would you compare the store to Millennium Games in Rochester, New York? In my opinion, that's the top shop in upstate NY, as not only do they carry new releases, they have a section of old and out-of-print games. They even rent out an empty shop next door to use for big open gaming events.


And they have that good dive-y roast beef sandwich place (Amiel's?) in the same strip mall.
 
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Alan Goodrich
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snicholson wrote:
How would you compare the store to Millennium Games in Rochester, New York? In my opinion, that's the top shop in upstate NY, as not only do they carry new releases, they have a section of old and out-of-print games. They even rent out an empty shop next door to use for big open gaming events.


Like John, I haven't been to Millennium Games (I rarely make it to Rochester), so I can't comment on the comparison. Basically, I am comparing Jupiter not to other upstate stores, which I know few of, but to stores in cities I've been in. Good to know that there are so many decent game stores in the upstate area!

trawlerman wrote:
Jupiter has games catering to this family market, but they feel more like a hardcore games shop. Also, the bulk of what Jupiter carries and sells is games. PtG,RtS has rows and rows of bound comics, toys, and miscellaneous product. Jupiter carries some comics, but it's not the main focus.


I guess this is what shocked and excited me. Fat Cat and Charging Star (the only game stores in the Binghamton area I'm familiar with) both have other emphases, Fat Cat being comics, Charging Star being comics/collectible miniatures. Seeing a store that catered JUST to boardgamers was really exciting! The shout-out is just an attempt to make sure they stay in business... laugh

I'm hoping to make it to the open game night when I'm home for Christmas, if they have hours over the holiday weekend... I'll try to bring my copy of Le Havre with me and see if I can get some multiplayer action on that one.

Don't want to write off the other stores, though - Fat Cat in particular has a great Buyer's Club card that gets you $10 off anything once you make a certain number of purchases. My gripe with Fat Cat is not so much that they have limited stock, but that what they do have doesn't seem to change much at all.

Glad to hear others like the shop as much as I do!
 
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Joe Walerko
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I'd also like to chime in for Jupiter Games. Their after-hours game nights have given my wife and I a great opportunity to 1) enjoy a night of free entertainment, 2) learn about games both old and new, and 3) meet new friends every Friday. Even though stores like Jupiter Games can't compete against the prices of online retailers most of the time, their friendly staff and amazing selection of games (and comics!) have guaranteed my patronage for as long my wallet can handle it.
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Scott Woodard
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I'm originally from Rochester (though I ran screaming from that place in '92 and haven't looked back since).

I was, however, just there for the holidays (visiting with family) and I made the trip over to Millennium. Here's my take...

THE PROS
Huge space (one of the largest game shops I've ever been to)
Lots of gaming tables
Impressive selection (RPGs, boardgames, wargames, cardgames, etc.)
Several hard-to-find, small-press and out-of-print items
Fairly easy to get to (and close to RIT, The Marketplace Mall, etc.)

THE CONS
Gamer funk-o-rama (the place positively stank, the once-blue carpets are stained to a thick brown in several areas, the trashcans were overflowing, etc.)
Non-attentive staff (I think there was some sort of tournament going on, so there were a LOT of people in there, however, I had no idea who worked for the store as the register wasn't manned for much of the time I was there)


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Thanks for the heads up - this is driving distance for us, and sounds well worth the trip!
 
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Seth Stewart
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Ditto on the Jupiter. Its pretty kickass and I intend to participate in the gamage there. I just wish the open game night wasnt on my prime wastagated night... bah!

-seth
 
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snicholson wrote:
How would you compare the store to Millennium Games in Rochester, New York? In my opinion, that's the top shop in upstate NY, as not only do they carry new releases, they have a section of old and out-of-print games. They even rent out an empty shop next door to use for big open gaming events.


Millenium Games has a bigger selection, bigger play area, and more RPG stuff, but Jupiter's staff seems more into gaming and has been friendlier. Granted, we've been to Jupiter Games several times, and Millenium once, so it may not be a fair comparison based on one visit.

Jupiter Games also has store copies on shelves within reach (I got to look at Stone Age, which is what convinced me to buy it), whereas a table of what seemed to be store copies was behind a counter at Millennium, out of reach.

We were impressed with the selection at Millennium, and might make the trip every couple of months, but Jupiter still feels like "our" FLGS.
 
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David West
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I must have visited on an off day but my trip to Jupiter Games left a terrible taste in my mouth! (in more than one way!) This stinky store has some pretentious and rude staff, maybe I caught them on a bad day but as an avid gamer I brought my two sons to take a look around. They made it clear that my children could not touch anything (they hadn't tried to touch anything when that announcement was made) and they suggested I take my kids to Dollar General since they cater to a simpler gamer (did you just call my sons simple? Dollar General sells games?)
I informed the burly staffer that my kids have been interested in gaming and that I brought them in to see what suited them and to get them into a more involved strategy game and the other staff member who had managed to keep quiet said "Right buddy, whatever you want, as long as they don't touch they can look around for a couple minutes". I still (stupidly) decided to buy some mini's and a carcasonne expansions that my kids had spotted and wanted to try out. Took the items to the counter and was told that they take cash only because of a problem with fraud and credit cards. I didn't have enough cash so I was going to run to the ATM in the parking lot and told them we'd be right back. Walked to the ATM, got the cash and walked back, apparently they didn't want my sale enough, they had put my items away and said they thought I wasn't coming back.
This was a lesson for my children, we left without the items because of the rude treatment, We decided to visit another shop instead that had the items.
I can't say for sure why we were treated so rudely but I felt like it might have something to do with me and my sons being black. I guess you can give them the benefit of the doubt but I'm taking my business elsewhere, I don't like being looked at like a thief and having my children treated as thieves. A very negative experience from 2 punk kids running a business without a clue!
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It's really hard to reconcile this with my experience... it's like we're talking a parallel universe or an episode of the Twilight Zone. I don't know you, as this is your only post on BGG, and I wasn't there, so I can't say one way or the other, just that this doesn't fit with my experience.
 
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Will
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I'm a fan of Jupiter Games as well. The owners have been very supportive of the gaming community in the Binghamton area.

I'm not sure how the above poster could have had such a bad experience. I can't think of any store where something like that would have happened much less this store. I have never seen the staff treat anyone in a disrespectful way.
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Keith Tanner
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binghamtongamer wrote:
I must have visited on an off day but my trip to Jupiter Games left a terrible taste in my mouth! (in more than one way!) This stinky store has some pretentious and rude staff, maybe I caught them on a bad day but as an avid gamer I brought my two sons to take a look around. They made it clear that my children could not touch anything (they hadn't tried to touch anything when that announcement was made) and they suggested I take my kids to Dollar General since they cater to a simpler gamer (did you just call my sons simple? Dollar General sells games?)
I informed the burly staffer that my kids have been interested in gaming and that I brought them in to see what suited them and to get them into a more involved strategy game and the other staff member who had managed to keep quiet said "Right buddy, whatever you want, as long as they don't touch they can look around for a couple minutes". I still (stupidly) decided to buy some mini's and a carcasonne expansions that my kids had spotted and wanted to try out. Took the items to the counter and was told that they take cash only because of a problem with fraud and credit cards. I didn't have enough cash so I was going to run to the ATM in the parking lot and told them we'd be right back. Walked to the ATM, got the cash and walked back, apparently they didn't want my sale enough, they had put my items away and said they thought I wasn't coming back.
This was a lesson for my children, we left without the items because of the rude treatment, We decided to visit another shop instead that had the items.
I can't say for sure why we were treated so rudely but I felt like it might have something to do with me and my sons being black. I guess you can give them the benefit of the doubt but I'm taking my business elsewhere, I don't like being looked at like a thief and having my children treated as thieves. A very negative experience from 2 punk kids running a business without a clue!


Yeah, I know those punk kids, especially the burly one. He's a real jerk, I went in the store one day and he told me I had to leave, I think it was b/c I had on a black shirt and black sneakers. I saw him punch a baby one day when I was in there and I also heard that he likes to kick puppies!
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Dean
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Yeah, I'm going to Necro a thread. I'm a terrible person.

On our recent vacation down south we stopped in Binghamton because it was a far as I could drive that night while keeping the family safe, so we found lodging for the night, spent some time in the area the next morning and then continued further south.

I had wanted to visit at least one games store on the trek. Just before our vacation an expansion for our latest obsession was released. Unfortunately my local games store only received one copy, and it was sold before I could grab it. It being our current obsession, I had the game with me on the vacation and hoped that I could get the expansion while in the States.

So in the morning I opened the laptop, hopped on the WiFi and fired up The Geek. A quick search brings me to this thread, and seeing IndigoPotter's endorsement, I knew that this was the store for me to check out.

My initial impressions are good. Large, comfortable retail space. Games arranged nicely, with different categories and alphabetical sorting, and with a large gaming area, not that I'd ever get a chance to take advantage of it.

The staff are just about the exact staff I appreciate the most -- willing to stay out of my way but also willing to help, and knowing when to jump in.

Looking over the shelves, I get to the spot where I'd most likely find the expansion I need, only to find a nice expansion-sized hole. I stand there pondering my luck and catch the eye of one of the staff loading games on the shelf. He asks if he could help, and I explain my mission. Unfortunately, there's nothing that he or the other staffers can do -- even getting 5 copies (a sizable allotment for them) they've all been sold out, the last one going not long before I entered the store. Curse my luck, had I come here first instead of the other stops that morning it may have been mine, but it was nice of them to check the inventory and other locations where the box could have been. They did let me know that what I wanted was sold out at the manufacturer, though, which was quite nice, and that let me make an informed decision on my next steps toward acquisition.

The only downside is that the prices are a bit higher than I would expect to pay at home, with the price in $US being higher than what I would spend in $CDN. I think it served to remind me just how spoiled I am in Ottawa, with the number of local options I have.

Staff - Excellent. Courteous, friendly, and knowledgeable (in the area that concerned me at least -- I didn't run them through a quiz)
Presentation - Excellent. Things were well laid out and items were easy to find.
Gaming Area - Excellent. I didn't use it, but it was impressive.
Prices - Fair. I'm used to lower prices back home, but I recognize that I'm spoiled.

Were I living in the area this would definitely be a store I'd use for purchases that require immediate gratification.
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You were within 2 hours of us, perhaps less, depending on what route you took south (assuming you continued on 81, you were about an hour away)
 
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