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Subject: Game Stores Lacking rss

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Brad Keller
United States
Bakersfield
California
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In the past 13 years I've lived in San Diego, Seattle, Tacoma, Hartford CT, Nashville, TN and now Denver. In those 13 years I've been in no less than 20 game stores. I've NEVER...EVER...EVER been in a single game store that has had an owner nor employee that knows sh*t from shinola about strategy board gaming.

They sure know about D&D and Magic the Gathering and that ilk, but in the early 90's talking about Civ or Titan or 1830 or Acquire and you got stares.

Now adays most everyone has played Settlers (which is a start), but I'm sorry Settlers can barely be called a strategy game because of the intense lucky dice dependance on the outcome.

I've yet to find any of latest purchases in stock like Puerto Rico, Memoir 44, Ticket to Ride, PotR, Power Grid, Tigris & Euphrat, etc.

In fact, I was just in the biggest game store in Boulder, CO. Some young college kid came up to me and asked me if I needed any help. I asked him if they had Ticket To Ride or Power Grid. He said he could order it (which i eventually did). I began to ask his opinion on games on his shelf (1870, Acquire, Axis & Allies, Cosmic Encounter, etc... older games that i've played and enjoy). He had no clue.... he stuttered and picked up the boxes and began to read off of the back of the boxes. I asked him how long he had been working there and after he said 9 months I just about choked! I asked him how he could work in a game store and not have played some of the classics from the 80's and 90's. All this 25 year old young man could respond is ....well D&D is from the 80's isn't it? I had to correct him that D&D actually was from the mid 70's and Gary Gygax but that's another story entirely.

Heaven only knows what would have happened had I asked him about Civ, Squad Leader, Diplomacy or Titan. He probably would have gone into a seizure right then and there and scared away the newly wed couple buying Apples to Apples at the register.

I'm done with game stores, from here on out I'm just going to buy on line because game stores just don't get it.
 
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Bill Skulley
United States
Westminster
Colorado
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There's a game store in Boulder?

If you haven't been to Attactix ('way down in South Aurora), then you may be in for a surprise. I know the owner is a gamer of old, as are at least a couple of the helpers - Doug in particular knows quite a bit about games old, new, and obscure. I'd say Attactix is the premiere game store in the Denver area.

No, I don't work there.
 
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Malachi Brown
United States
Hermitage
TN
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Nashville
The current game store in Nashville (The Game Keep) has a decent stock of current games. Puerto Rico, Memoir '44, Ticket to Ride, and Power Grid are in stock (or they were as of last Monday), and I got my copy of T&E there (as well as Money!, Through the Desert, Settlers, Illuminati, Ricochet Robot, Ricochet Robots, Puerto Rico, Zertz, Web of Power, Carcassonne, Carcassonne: H&G, Carcassonne: The Castle, all three Carcassonne expansions, Mystery Rummy 1-3, Wyatt Earp, and many others).

I don't know exactly how knowledgable about the games the staff is because I don't generally ask. I like to do my own research here, but they at least have a good selection.

And no, I don't work there.
 
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Eliot Hemingway
United States
Seattle
Washington
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Gary's Games and Hobbies in Seattle has some very good employees, especially the manager (who is only in part of the week, but I've never been in when he's not there). I swear, at one time or another, he has played most of the games the store stocks and can give a lot of good info on them (and still plays a lot of them on a semi-regular basis).

Grated though, I've yet to see service to match that store anywhere else.
 
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Denise Lavely
United States
Carmel
Indiana
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Indianapolis
Well, we've got two super game stores here in Indy - The Game Preserve and Boardroom Games.

Boardroom Games is a one man operation, and he doesn't know too much about Euro-games, but he has a GREAT selection of them anyway - I've picked up several out of print goodies here, and he always has the latest - I was there last week and saw several copies of TtR at a display near the checkout counter, and he also had several other recently released games such as Goa and Oasis.

Game Preserve (which has three or four stores in central Indiana) also has a great selection of recently released games and the classics - I was in there last night and saw Memoir '44, Modern Art, but also a whole display of all the Settlers stuff, AND several copies of Puerto Rico, and so on. Plus the staff is not only knowledgable, they try to educate the public about Euro-games - I'm been in there when they were doing demos of Mystery of the Abbey and Blokus and several others that I can't bring to mind right now. Plus they have a clearance rack that sometimes has suprisingly good games like Too Many Cooks or Maya.

We're VERY lucky in Indianapolis!!
 
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Boise
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I'm done with game stores, from here on out I'm just going to buy on line because game stores just don't get it.

Perhaps you don't get it. As a game store owner I can assure you of this, it's nigh impossible to be up to date on every aspect of gaming. So I utilize my customer base by encouraging them to be a part of the gaming community and teaching the games, running leagues and tournaments and even demo'ing their copy or a store copy. This works quite well also for tabletop and miniature games as well as CCG's.

Blaming a store because they don't cater specifically to your interests doesn't help generate a boardgame community. On the other hand, going back to that store and offering to teach them and their customers the joy of boardgaming does build community.

So. Why not create rather than denegrate?
 
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We've got a great game store in Houston, TX (near 1960 and 249 for the natives). It's called Enigma Games. The owner there is mainly into CCGs, but he keeps a good stack of board games like Power Grid, Settlers, Carcassonne, Game of Thrones, San Juan (he was out of Puerto Rico last time I was there), and a bunch of other great titles. Plus he has a big open area in the back where gamers can come in and play their games on the tables. It's a great atmosphere and I'm quite happy to find it.
 
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Last fall I applied for a job at the local Wizards of the Coast game shop (forgot the name of it). I was called in to join a group interview, with about 15 people, and I was amazed at the number of people they wanted to talk to who had zero experience in gaming. About half of the group called in had no experience whatsoever with games, while myself and a few others could be considered gamers.

I hope to open my own game store within the next few years and I will work damn hard at keeping abreast of the gaming industry.

Brian
 
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Gary Webster
United States
Littleton
CO
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One's trying to get it
Brad,
There's an "It's Your Move" in Southwest Plaza that IMO is trying to get it. Granted, they have eleven different Monopoly clones and one entire wall full of puzzles and Puzz3D's, but the last time I went in they had PR, San Juan, A&A (all four!), a couple of Eagle Games' massive boxfulls, Odin's Ravens, Metro, and several more that I can't think of at the time. I've talked to them about various games, and they'll order what you want, and usually get it pretty quickly. That said, it's still cheaper to go online (may I recommend Dave at timewellspent.org, he's up in north Metro area, Thornton or Broomfield I think) than to go to a store, simply because the stores have to pay a lot of overhead (rental, salaries, etc.). I've found the store to be a good quick fix, and as long as I'm not buying more than about 2 games the cost difference isn't much because of the shipping you have to pay when you order online.

DW has a good point, too, in that the store owners have an interest in keeping the gaming community happy, and that's us, so taking a shot at educating them can be a good thing. If you can talk to the owner directly, or at least the manager o'the day, you should be able to get them interested in what you want. :0
 
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Chris Udziela
United States
Vancouver
Washington
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Game Stores
Okay, In Portland, OR, we have Bridgetown Hobbies (used to be called the Military Corner), and I have also visited Gary's Games in Seattle, which has a LOT of used games.

The internet has saved what is a niche hobby. That said, it takes a retailer a lot of risk to buy an expensive strategy game no one buys. Many of the old style wargames are of course used games, and some of the companies out of business. This site has amazed me for the number of games still actually out there, but I agree with the comment from the game store owner. Gamers have to get involved and show people the games. If there is a group of gamers who likes a certain type of game, the stores will more likely start carrying it.
 
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Sheridan Hortness
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Ottawa
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I've been to lots of hobby stores in the past couple of years and I think its safe to say that board games have been relegated to a side business in most of them. The fact of the matter is that the board game industry is simply not big enough to support an entire store any more. In the 70's and 80's it was do-able, but not today. These days the real cash cows are minatures, CCG and RPG games. Without those products the gaming hobby stores would all go under. Even the board game segement that does exist is fueled mainly by Gereman style games. So if the clerk (which you treated very badly) knew about collectable and RPG games then he was qualified to work there IMO because thats what 80% of the customers will be asking about.
 
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John Di Ponio
United States
Lake Orion
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In today's computer age, board games have become less appealing to the younger crows. Do you ever see board games advertised on tv?...Are ther 20+ magazines dedicated to board games like their computer counterpart? It is the instant satisfaction for a kid to throw a game in a machine and be up and poaying in 20 seconds...and even that wait is usually too long for teir liking! This may all be side bar...but is part of the cause of board gaming deminishing and thus...the stores that carry them. We had a Wizards of the Coast here until this past winter when they pulled out. They were doing great business, but they closed like i hear so many other ones doing.
The 'mom and pop' stores are having a rougher time. Like others have written, CCG, RPG and Games Workshop type mini's have stolen most gamers hearts. Owners have to try to keep up on everything? They can't do it! TOO MUCH these days. Going to a Gencon is the only way some people can even keep up on whats going on! Finding a sales staff that knows about every game imaginable is impossible. If a person knows about a few games....thats great....more knowledgable than most. I own and have played quite a few games....couple of hundred for sure....but I haven't played Civ or Titan or 1830...or Magic for that matter......guess i wouldn't be qualified either.
 
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Pierre-Luc Thiffault
Canada
St-Laurent
Québec
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Le Valet D'Coeur
For my local game store, I can't complain. They KNOW their stuff. Any questions, any game. If someone doesn't, another employee does. Every time I had questions and stuff I always got an answer.
 
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Jerry Hawthorne
United States
dallas
Texas
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I'm surprised
I think it is way off to expect game store employees to know everything about gaming. How many "gamers" do you think walk in and apply for a job in most game stores. It is like expecting an employee of your local video rental store to know all there is to know about every movie in the store. Being polite, responsible, and helpful would, for me, be the most important criterea. You could always apply for the job yourself if you think that your talents would be more in tune with the business that this store is trying to run.
 
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Candy Weber
United States
Port Charlotte
Florida
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Lack of stores
My frustration is a lack of brick and morter games stores. With the recent death of Wizards of the Coast, we have very little left in my area, south SF bay area. The few stores I can find, even when travelling to other cities, seem to cater more to war games and ccg's than to the strategy board games that I enjoy. I like to study the box before purchasing, but there aren't many of the games I want in nearby stores, so I'm limited to reading what I can on sites like BoardGameGeek then purchasing on-line.
 
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