Saturday, September 08, 2007

Supporting Your Local Game Store

Those of you who know me in person already know that I'm really big on supporting my local game store, but not all of you know what I mean by that or why I'm so firm on it.

Now, I'm not going to tell you horror stories about online game stores - I've had nothing but positive experiences with Funagain or Thoughthammer when I have purchased from them. The man who runs Boards and Bits is active on BoardGameGeek, and I have heard nothing but good about his operation as well.

But I thought it'd be a good idea to explain why I take this stance, and what exceptions I make for it.

A good game store is the center of Gamer Society. It's where gamers go to meet gamers and interact with gamers. And, of course gaming takes place in some game stores, too. Game stores are also where you learn about new products - or old ones that may have been overlooked.

When I'm exploring a new area, one of the first things I do is try to find the local game stores - they'll give you a very good idea of what the gaming is like in the area - and I'm not just talking about what games are popular in the region.

Within fifteen minutes of my apartment, there used to be three game stores. One of them has closed, one has moved, and the other is the one I support.

The game store I support is Phoenix Games in Mukilteo, Washington. I'll discuss the full whys and wherefores at some future point. It's the game store locally that best fits my needs.

It's clean, wide open, and is inviting to all ages (and genders). What he doesn't stock, he's willing to special-order (if it's available). He has tables available for gaming. He's knowledgeable about games. And he can sell Fluxx without sneering (something I struggle with).

Online game stores don't generally do special orders. There are exceptions, it's true. But it's more difficult to arrange for a special order.

I don't have to pay shipping costs when dealing with Brian.

I've never seen an online game store that has tables I can use for gaming.

While I can get rules questions answered by the online game store folks, it's a lot faster to ask Brian.

Do I pay more by buying from Brian? Yes. Absolutely. But I think the added services more than make up for the extra money I pay.

Now, I'm not saying you should support game stores who make you uncomfortable. I'll use the other two game stores that used to be nearby as examples in a future post.

I'll also discuss when I choose to buy online rather than through my local game store.


  1. I would love to support a local game store if I had a decent one. The only game store close to me is 30 minutes away. It has been open since I was in high school and the games are just about as old. I bought my copy of Blokus there, but everything else on the shelves had a thick layer of dust. I will say that this store is the first place I think of if I need dice, though.

  2. Dani,

    First of all, welcome to the blog! I still neeed to go over when I buy online rather than through Phoenix - I'd meant to put it in this post, but apparently hit 'publish' rather than 'save.' :) I'll just tweak the ending of this one a bit, and slip that into the next post, where I talk about the other two game stores that used to be nearby.


  3. Like you, I do prefer to go local if the service makes up for any pricing difference. I also have this whole "instant gratification" thing goin where if I want it, I gotta get it now!! I remember a place it Tacoma that closed over a decade ago (Nybles and Bytes), they actually took reservations for the card games without requiring you to order an entire box. I knew people who ordered just 2 packs to pick up on the release date. I still need to research what is around me here in my new locale. But I have some good friends around who will be sure to assist in the ratings. lol

    Thanks for the post,


  4. Anonymous5:16 PM

    Eric, I agree with you for the most part about supporting the local game shop and paying more for the tables and sense of community, etc.


    I guess I'm not so strict about it... I try to support Brian by buying at his shop regularly, but at the same time it's hard to ignore the savings from buying online. A game like Thebes is 15-20 bucks cheaper online than at Phoneix. I might by it at Phoenix, but then again, maybe not.

    IN my own defense, I did buy Battlelore and Arkham Horror from Brian, both pricey games. So as I said... I do *try* to make an effort. Maybe if I had a closer relationship with Brian (as you do), I'd buy from him more regularly.


  5. My game budget is very limited, so I usually only buy one game at a time. That means that shipping charges eat up the savings I would get from buying online. I made the comparison when I bought my Fluxx cards and it was actually $2 cheaper for me to buy it locally. However, many of the games I want aren't available locally, so that doesn't matter much :-).