Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Good Game Stores

About a year ago, I wrote three posts about the FLGS and where they fit into gaming for many folks (especially, of course, me).

I left a couple of things out of the second article in the series, and I want to rectify that now.

Before I do this, though, I want to emphasize that I'm talking about good Local Game Stores. You'll find that, as with any industry, there are bad game stores that don't deserve your money. Even if it's the only game store in town.

Again: I'm blessed, because I live in the Greater Seattle Area, where we have a ton of good game stores. And I've been doubly-blessed because two of the best ones have been the two closest ones for a long time - first the late, lamented Phoenix and now Fantasium.

A good game store does special orders for you.  I can't call Amazon and say, "Hey, I don't see this game on your site, can you track it down for me?" If it's not on their site, I can't order it. But when I go to Fantasium, I can ask them, "I don't see on the shelf - is that something you can get?"

The same applies to pre-orders. I can call Fantasium and tell them, " is releasing in a few months. Can you get one in for me?" And they will.  I can't do that with most online retailers. Of course, a game-focused online retailer (like Funagain) will often put things up for pre-order as soon as pricing is announced.

In fact, Fantasium's special order system is the best FLGS special order process I've ever experienced in a game store. I suspect that this is because Fantasium was a comic book shop first, and then grew into being both a comic book shop and a game store.

The most important thing that a good game store does, though, is that is good game store becomes family.  I'll admit that I'm not as close with Paula and Rachel and Brian and Sarah and the rest of the Fantasium crew as I was to Brian at Phoenix. But I'm getting there. Slowly.

They smile when they see me, and they notice when I'm not there for Beer & Board Games. Which is good. I was in the other day picking up some sleeves, and Paula mentioned that they'd been missing me on Saturdays (I've been roleplaying on Saturdays). It was a fantastic feeling to know that I'd been specifically missed.

And it doesn't feel like a generic retail smile. It doesn't feel like they miss my money. It feels like they miss me. I've spent time chatting with Brian about Guild Ball (which you really should play if you haven't).

Gaming is one of my personal stability anchors. When I have a rough day, I don't go to a bar. I go to a game store because the people there understand me and can communicate with me in ways that no-one else can.

1 comment:

  1. Funtasium is an awesome store. We have gone out there a few times, we also like Heroic Knight Games and Hills of Comics in Auburn. But of course, that last one is about 3 blocks from home. lol