Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Slash Game Store

Until the last few years, I've not been a fan of what I call "Slash Game Stores."  That is, "It's a hobby-slash-game store." Which is really odd, because "pure" game stores are so much rarer than slash game stores are. But more and more, I'm learning that there are definite advantages to some of the slashes, and here are a few of the more common ones:
  1. Hobby/Game Store - These stores are really really good for miniatures gamers. They have a variety of paints, and most of them have model railroad supplies that can be used for minis terrain. As a bonus, model railroad terrain is frequently less expensive than minis terrain that was designed and built specifically to be minis terrain, too.
  2. Comic/Game Store - These shops are fantastic at special orders. There are new comics coming out every week, and so the Comic/Game store is likely to be placing weekly orders with their distributor. A good comic shop is also able to create "pull" lists for their customers, so they are already well familiar with the ability to do special orders quickly and in an organized manner.
  3. Book/Game Store - These shops are generally similar to Comic/Game stores in a lot of ways.  Interestingly, even the big book stores (Barnes & Noble, I'm looking at you, here) are starting to carry more tabletop games - and not just mass-market ones, either.
  4. Computer Parts/Game Store - I only bring this one up because of the late, lamented Nybbles & Bytes in Tacoma. Because that's what this place was.  The game section was mostly a typical gamer Clutter Hole, but they were very enthusiastic and passionate about that section of the store.
Honestly, I'm not entirely sure why I developed my dislike of slash game stores. My first game store experiences (outside of the local Waldenbooks) were All Hobbies in Puyallup (now close), O'Leary's Books in Lakewood, and Nybbles and Bytes in Tacoma.

And then Phoenix closed, and I was forced to change game stores.  I'm near Tacoma, so there are a few to choose from. I spent my time checking them out. I visited all of them - and there was a wide variety.  Several stores just ignored me until I approached the counter with product in hand. A couple of stores were clutter holes (and I've grown intolerant of those stores over the years). Some stores didn't do special orders. One or two stores had crew who stared at Steph because apparently they'd never seen a woman who games. A bunch of them didn't  host a regular board game night or do in-store demos of board games (one store even had a sign on its tables that they were for scheduled events only).

These, by the way, may be local game stores, but they're not stores I'd be willing to support.  If that's all I had, I'd throw my game money at Amazon and not feel the slightest bit guilty.

But we ended up settling in at a local comic/game store. It's the closest store to the house. The staff recognized me (by name) within a few visits. Steph feels comfortable there. It's clean and well-lit with a few demos. Their special orders are quick and painless. They host regular gaming events.

In short: I think I've gotten over myself. I think there is definitely a place for /game stores in the market (and they are sometimes going to be the best choice, even in a crowded market).

No comments:

Post a Comment