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Subject: What is your Favorite LA-area Game Store? rss

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Cuppa Jack
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Title says it all...

I'm in Hollywood, and would prefer to avoid Orange County or deep in the Valley...

 
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Bernard Donohue
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goldencamelGame Zone goldencamel
2302 E Colorado Boulevard
Pasadena, CA 91107
(626) 304-2637

One of my favorites. Good layout, friendly helpful staff, good selection of new games and old favorites. Bright, airy and pleasant. Large back room available for gaming & has several computers set up for LAN play.



limecamelThe Last Grenadierlimecamel
820 N Hollywood Way
Burbank, CA 91505
(818) 848-9144

Also a good store. More of a typical game-store feel to in than GameZone. Large selection of board games, miniatures, roleplaying games and a ton of wargaming stuff. Staff is a bit more on the grumpy-men-behind-the-counter side than I like, but is helpful.


 
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Bill the Pill
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John,
Unfortunately, I think Orange County is where it's at.

Brookhurst Hobbies, on the corner of Chapman and Brookhurst, is my favorite. Has lots of older product hidden arround, too, as well as miniatures and model kits. Give them a try when you have an excuse to head south.
 
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Nick Oettinger
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Game Zone and The Last Grenadier are good, and I'd also recommend

Aero Hobbies
(310) 828-5264
2918 Santa Monica (at Yale)
Santa Monica, CA

Aero Hobbies is a delightful mess -- lots of games, miniatures, etc. piled around the store, boxes of books and magazines to dig through. They seem to have a lot of miniatures (Warhammer, etc.), but also a decent selection of board and card games, and the guy who runs the place is pretty friendly. Probably closer for you than Game Zone, too.
 
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Travis Cook
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I always use The Last Grenadier as my FLGS. I checked out the others, but The Last Grenadier had the best selection. Their prices are at MSRP, but I don't mind too much as I get my game fix quickly. The guys behind the counter seem nice enough to me. They aren't the kind to pester you about game reccomendations or anything like that. If you have a question, they're good ant answering them for you. I like stores that allow me to browse and make my own choice, rather than the pushy salesmen. I'd definately check them out. By far my favorite.


 
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If you don't mind coming to the "other" valley, Lionheart Games. They have opened in La Verne and it's a great place to shop for games, RPG stuff, casual miniatures, and more. Check them out if you are in the area.

Lionheart Games and Comics
2451 Foothill Boulevard, Unit F
La Verne, California 91750

909-596-6609

EDIT ALMOST A YEAR LATER:

Lionheart is closed - try Gameology in Claremont, CA instead http://www.gameologyshop.com

You can hear the owner interviewed about his unique game store on my podcast, Volume 21 - www.boardgamebabylon.com
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Robert Martin
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I always liked Game Zone when I lived in Pasadena. They didn't have a huge selection, but you could always count on the newest stuff showing up soon after its release.
 
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Chris Johnson
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They all suck to one degree or another, which is why most of my buying has shifted online.

The closest two stores to you are Last Grenadier and Knightware.

Kightware is in the Cahuenga pass. Small selection, but cooperative. Parking can be a huge pain. Known to randomly close for days at a time.

In regard to the specific stores mentioned by others:

Aero Hobbies is a pit. A relic of the bad old days. Not worth the time or trouble to go, especially since they don't focus on boardgames at all. And the owner is *not* friendly. He won't greet you, or look you in the eye, and you basically have to demand to be helped when you want to buy something.

Last Grenadier has "personality" problems. They don't care, and it shows. OK but not great selection of boardgames. I stopped shopping there a while ago (when I lived two miles away), and have never looked back.

The Game Zone...seems to have cash flow issues; their new stock varies wildly over time. Even less boardgame selection than Last Grenadier. Also, very much not "light, airy, and pleasant". They have the gamer funk something fierce, especially in summer, and don't run the air conditioning nearly enough.

Brookhurst is in deepest, darkest OC, and focuses on miniatures.

Lionheart is new kid, but is probably too far away for you (and it's in the *other*, other valley (Pomona valley, not San Gabriel)). Their selection is small, but growing, and they take requests well.

The War House is in Long Beach. Sort of like the Grenadier, but less annoying.

All Ways Gaming is in the Northwest San Fernando Valley. They used to suck badly (catering to the high school and junior high that were both within blocks), but I've heard they've gotten better lately (I haven't been back yet).

All Star Games in Diamond Bar used to be great, but then the owners died is short sucession, and it's slowly spiraled down. Today is actually their last day in business.

Third Planet in the south bay/Torrance stocks some games, but historically was focused on comics. They were supposed to be shifting to more games, but it's been a while since I've been back.

There are a couple of other stores in OC (Game Castle in Anaheim, Game Arena in Cerritos, The Realm in Brea), but they are pretty far off my stomping grounds, so I haven't been to any more than once.

I'll repeat: IMO, all of the remaining LA-area stores suck to some degree; none are really worth the effort to patronize. I'll stop by idly if I'm in the area, but do about 80% of my buying online.

When someone who knows how to run a clean, well-lit, funk-free, customer-service-oriented, professional, profitable business opens a store in LA, I'll happily patronize them. There just aren't any such beasts right now. (But Lionheart seems to be a decent candidate; time will tell.)





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Cody
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fnord23 wrote:


When someone who knows how to run a clean, well-lit, funk-free, customer-service-oriented, professional, profitable business opens a store in LA, I'll happily patronize them. There just aren't any such beasts right now. (But Lionheart seems to be a decent candidate; time will tell.)



GMI Games
8300 Limonite Ave
Riverside, CA
92509 US 951-681-8270

Fits the above description, with the exception that its in Riverside, not LA.

He stocks all the new stuff, but not much of the old. The owner is friendly, but not intrusive, the place it big, clean, organized, and theres a huge gaming area. Prices seem to be pretty much MSRP.
 
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Chris Johnson
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Yeah, Riverside is the kicker.

I will make a point of checking them out next time I'm out there, though.

Thanks for the pointer.

Chris

 
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fnord23 wrote:
When someone who knows how to run a clean, well-lit, funk-free, customer-service-oriented, professional, profitable (emphasis added) business opens a store in LA, I'll happily patronize them. There just aren't any such beasts right now. (But Lionheart seems to be a decent candidate; time will tell.)

Aye, there's the rub. I've thought about just such a venture, but the good ones always seem to last about five years before succumbing to a variety of fiscal ailments.

The sad truth is that at least in Los Angeles (and Orange County to boot), there just aren't enough customers to keep a brick and mortar store open. The rent is too expensive, and the workforce usually isn't knowledgable enough. Blame the proclivity of video games, or DVD's delivered to your door, but online shopping is surely becoming the only viable option for those of us in the southland.

Very respectfully,
Beowulf
 
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John Klump
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I just moved from Hollywood to Culver City, John, and I had the exact same problems finding a decent game store. I, like Chris, do my shopping online pretty much exclusively now, and no game store that I've seen North or South of Hollywood is worth the 1+ hour drive.
 
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Cuppa Jack
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So, it is as I had feared...

I grew-up in OC so am very familiar with Brookhurst Hobbies and (my personal favorite) GameCastle and I was really hoping there would be something close to those in LA. Sometimes the instant gratification is worth the drive and MSRP for me.

Does anyone know is Puzzle Zoo on 3rd street stocks Euros?
 
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Nick Oettinger
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verive wrote:
So, it is as I had feared...

I grew-up in OC so am very familiar with Brookhurst Hobbies and (my personal favorite) GameCastle and I was really hoping there would be something close to those in LA. Sometimes the instant gratification is worth the drive and MSRP for me.

Does anyone know is Puzzle Zoo on 3rd street stocks Euros?

I haven't been there in a while, but I don't recall seeing any last time I was there.

I'm afraid Beowulf and others have pretty much covered it -- there's not much in LA.
 
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John Klump
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Puzzle Zoo doesn't really carry Euros, I get to the Promenade about once every 5 or 6 weeks, and I think I may have seen Carcassonne there, but for the most part it's Simpsons-themed Milton Bradley games.
 
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E.R. Burgess
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fnord23 wrote:
They all suck to one degree or another, which is why most of my buying has shifted online.

The closest two stores to you are Last Grenadier and Knightware.

Kightware is in the Cahuenga pass. Small selection, but cooperative. Parking can be a huge pain. Known to randomly close for days at a time.

In regard to the specific stores mentioned by others:

Aero Hobbies is a pit. A relic of the bad old days. Not worth the time or trouble to go, especially since they don't focus on boardgames at all. And the owner is *not* friendly. He won't greet you, or look you in the eye, and you basically have to demand to be helped when you want to buy something.

Last Grenadier has "personality" problems. They don't care, and it shows. OK but not great selection of boardgames. I stopped shopping there a while ago (when I lived two miles away), and have never looked back.

The Game Zone...seems to have cash flow issues; their new stock varies wildly over time. Even less boardgame selection than Last Grenadier. Also, very much not "light, airy, and pleasant". They have the gamer funk something fierce, especially in summer, and don't run the air conditioning nearly enough.

Brookhurst is in deepest, darkest OC, and focuses on miniatures.

Lionheart is new kid, but is probably too far away for you (and it's in the *other*, other valley (Pomona valley, not San Gabriel)). Their selection is small, but growing, and they take requests well.

The War House is in Long Beach. Sort of like the Grenadier, but less annoying.

All Ways Gaming is in the Northwest San Fernando Valley. They used to suck badly (catering to the high school and junior high that were both within blocks), but I've heard they've gotten better lately (I haven't been back yet).

All Star Games in Diamond Bar used to be great, but then the owners died is short sucession, and it's slowly spiraled down. Today is actually their last day in business.

Third Planet in the south bay/Torrance stocks some games, but historically was focused on comics. They were supposed to be shifting to more games, but it's been a while since I've been back.

There are a couple of other stores in OC (Game Castle in Anaheim, Game Arena in Cerritos, The Realm in Brea), but they are pretty far off my stomping grounds, so I haven't been to any more than once.

I'll repeat: IMO, all of the remaining LA-area stores suck to some degree; none are really worth the effort to patronize. I'll stop by idly if I'm in the area, but do about 80% of my buying online.

When someone who knows how to run a clean, well-lit, funk-free, customer-service-oriented, professional, profitable business opens a store in LA, I'll happily patronize them. There just aren't any such beasts right now. (But Lionheart seems to be a decent candidate; time will tell.)







Chris' assessments here are really harsh but I'd have to sadly agree. All Star really was excellent and the sad deaths of the owners really meant the store lost its soul. I, like Chris, have high hopes for Lionheart (which Valley notwithstanding) as their shelves expand and the backstock gets deeper. They have lots of space for it and a nice gaming area so I can definitely see them expanding. Too far to drive for many but hopefully old All Star fans (and those who think the Game Castle - which is deeper into OC now and okay but RPG/mini-oriented and is way short on Euros - has gotten too far away, too) will give it a try. Lenny (the owner) is a good guy (who used to work for All Star, apparently) who is working hard to make it in a tough business. I can guarantee, you won't find a cleaner, nicer game store in LA/OC.
 
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Michael Gurien
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I saw Blokus last time I was in Puzzle Zoo (about 2 months ago), but it's pretty much non-Euro stock.
 
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Kevin Ankoviak
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Hey, what was the name of the game store that used to be in South Coast Plaza...oh gosh I think they closed 10-13 years ago???

It used to be where the Rain Forest Cafe is now. They were great...but SCP wanted them out and out they went. My roommate would go in there, and she always received the best of help. Even when she corrected the salesperson on the pronunciation of "Croix de Guerre(ASL)" which she bought me for my 30th birthday.

sauron
 
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jeremy r
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If the War House in Long Beach is the place I'm thinking of, it mainly stocks miniatures and role playing games (this is from a single visit a few months back and I only made it through 2/3rds of the store). However, the owner is quite nice. I chatted with him for a while and learned that after 60 unpaid tickets they revoke your license. Although it isn't in the nicest of neighborhoods.

Is the Last Grenadier the same one that was on Reseda in the Valley? I used to buy DnD miniatures there 20 years ago...
 
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Cuppa Jack
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kankoviak wrote:
Hey, what was the name of the game store that used to be in South Coast Plaza...oh gosh I think they closed 10-13 years ago???
sauron


Gamesmanship!
I loved that place! (and spent a whole lot of coin there too!)

I think I may have bought my very-first D&D red-box edition there...
 
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verive wrote:
Gamesmanship!
I loved that place! (and spent a whole lot of coin there too!)

As did I, only I remember back when it was in the Mercantile Building in South Coast Village (across the street from S.C. Plaza).

That's where I picked up Panzer Blitz, Panzer Leader, A3R, Dune, Squad Leader, Luftwaffe, D&D, Boot Hill, Star Frontiers, Marvel Super Heroes (noticing an AH & TSR trend?), Paranoia, who knows what else. There hasn't been another store to equal it down here in OC since they closed their doors.

Very respectfully,
Beowulf
 
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Dennis Murray
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I spotted this thread a bit late, but was really pleased to see Gamesmanship mentioned...I managed the store during the 80s and early 90s. I have great memories of the many friends I made there. I'm now on the other side of the country in Bucks County, PA, where game shops are far more rare than in California. Sad to hear about All-Star games...that was a great store!

Dennis
 
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Steven Packard
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Forgive me for essentially saying nothing but "me, too", and for noticing this thread so much after the fact.

However I just have to say that I LOVED "Gamesmanship". I live in the North edge of Los Angeles County, but around 1989 or so I was tasked with working on a short-term project (about 3 months) in an office building across the street from South Coast Plaza where I discovered that fantastic gamestore.

I went there every couple of days, and probably spent there whatever money I made on that project. I loved the selection of games, and the people who worked there were outstanding. They were helpful, informative, and downright nice.

When the project was over every now and then I'd take my family on a road trip to see what was new at Gamesmanship. (They thought that we were just going to a big mall for a change of pace, but I planned the trip, and its sole purpose was to visit that game store.)

One bleak Saturday I finally discovered the inevitable. Gamesmanship was gone, and the best game store I've ever been in was a thing of the past. soblue I've been looking for its equal ever since. But I don't think it exists. shake

Thanks for the memories, and thanks, Dennis, for a heck of a store. I didn't know you by name, but I bet that you helped me from time to time.
 
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Dan Verssen
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Lionheart is gone.

I went in there a few days ago as they were closing up.

It's too bad, it looked like a nice store.
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Jay Adan
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It's funny how you give a blanket condemnation to stores you either haven't been to or haven't been to in a while.

To clarify for you, Third Planet strikes a nice balance between Comic and Game store. They have a decent selection of both though probably a better selection of comics. It's a well-maintained store with a friendly staff. If I have any complaint it's that they really don't seem to have the space for gaming table and yet have them anyway. Otherwise, I really like the place.
 
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