January 10, 2014
What I Look For In A Game Store
The other day I made a trip over to my favorite game store, Armored Gopher Games, with a couple of friends of mine. It had been a while since I last visited, and there were a few things we were looking for. Now, I have visited several game stores over the years, but out of all of them the Gopher stands well above the rest. Why? Because it has what I am looking for in a game store.
Firstly, it has variety. Many game stores these days focus on trading card games like Magic the Gathering, and while I cannot blame them given the popularity of the game, it is not something that interests me. I go to a game store looking for new games or for supplements of games I already have. I like seeing games I have never heard of before and being given a chance to try some of them out before being asked to make a purchase. I also like seeing a variety in the types of games they have available. Role-playing table-top games are, of course, my focus, but I do like seeing a variety of card games, board games, miniature games, and more. Variety is the spice of life, or so they say.
Secondly, I like a game store that has plenty of space in which to game. Game stores are not only places of business, but also places to mingle with our peers. They are places where you can talk to other gamers about games you both have played, of games you are interested in playing, and where you can actually sit down and play games. Game stores should not be like grocery or convenient stores where you go in, get your stuff, and get out. These are places of gathering, albeit where customers should at least do what they can to support the store in some way.
Third, and perhaps most importantly, game stores (by which I mean the people working at them) should be both knowledgeable and passionate about games. They need to be run by people who share our interest and enthusiasm for our hobby and be able to answer any questions directed at them about any game they are selling. No, I am not expecting every store clerk to know every rule about every game on his shelf, but he should at least have some idea about each one. Also, sure, I understand that a job is a job and asking that every employee be enthusiastic about their job is asking a bit much, but game stores are a very niche business. People do not open these stores if they themselves are not gamers. Game stores should be places where you can come to learn about games, where you can go to have your questions answered by a fellow gamer, not by an internet search.
Finally, game stores should be willing to help you find what you are looking for even if they do not normally carry it. This is something that endeared Armored Gopher Games to me greatly. I adore Anima: Beyond Fantasy, but that is a game that few stores carry. Upon mentioning it to Gopher Dave, he immediately went to work in finding me a copy of the latest supplement to come out. Two days later, he called me up to tell me it was in. He did not ask me to pay any excess of its price for shipment or anything; he just got me the game book I was looking for because that is what he does.
These are the things I look for in a game store, and it is why Armored Gopher Games has set the bar really, really high. So, to every gamer out there who finds a store that they really like, show them your appreciation. Support your local game stores. Allow them to continue to enrich the gaming community as a whole.
Good gaming, everyone.
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