Wednesday, December 7, 2011

In praise of your FLGS

I was talking with a friend yesterday on how we have both used Amazon to buy a bunch of gifts in past years Christmas.  I sat down to do it again last night and felt a twinge of guilt.   I had been talking to one of the guys at my local game store and he was mentioning how they are not moving as much product as in the past  (of a certain game) but he sees lots of people in the game area of the store playing the game.  Seems that many are getting their books from Amazon.

I see the allure, hell I have been the band leader in the past of the allure parade. Amazon is fast, easy and cheap. I can avoid paying the insane Illinois + Cook county sales taxes (which are some of the highest in the country). And going out to the Mall???  There are at least 100 good reasons to stick with Amazon.

Except I am loyal to my Favorite Local Game Store (FLGS).

You hear people of a certain age wax on about their favorite local comic store.  How it was a place of wonder to their young eyes and how it later it even became a place of amusement to older eyes (if Our Valued Customers is any indication).  Game Stores don't get quite the same press.

Well today I want to honor the Favorite Local Game Store and remind you all that to keep these places alive we need to purchase our products there.

My first local game stores were book stores, Waldenbooks, B. Daltons, and Belobrajdic's Bookstore. I detailed my experiences at those stores here and here.  They are all long gone now.
I am happy to say that my old home town now has a real, honest to goodness game store, "Off/On the Square" in Jacksonville, IL.  I picked up Pathfinder Ultimate Magic there recently to support the local biz.  Plus it isn't too far from where Belobrajdic's used to stand, so it was nice to be buying a "D&D" book in my old hometown again.

While in college I had the chance to be there the first years that Castle Perilous had opened in Carbondale, IL.  Great store and I purchased the vast majority of my 2nd Ed collection there.  It was great. I am glad to see they have grown over the years and are still serving Southern Illinois.  One day I'll need to go back.

But my first true game store and the one I returned to after college was Games Plus in Mount Prospect, IL.
When I lived downstate I used to mail order items from Games Plus I could not get locally; like the entirely-too-risque-for-central-Illinois Eldritch Wizardry or individual lead minis (back when they were lead).

When I moved to the Chicago land area after grad school, they became a place I could go too anytime I got out to the burbs.  When I moved to Mount Prospect, they moved to their current location.

To me Games Plus is the model of the perfect game store.  Huge inventory of thousands of games, books, minis and more dice than anyone will ever need.  Knowledgeable and friendly staff that can answer questions   and really enjoy the hobby; both as a past time and serious business.  It also has one of the best in-store gaming areas I have ever seen.  There is a certain feel of camaraderie and even brotherhood going into a room where eight groups of guys and gals across all social strata are here for the same reasons.  I play-tested Buffy and Ghosts of Albion there.  I run into ChicagoWiz there every so often.  It really is like Mecca for gamers; or at least the closest one to me.  Honestly there is not a single book I have wanted that they could not get for me.  They are better and cheaper than eBay.

The really nice feature of Games Plus is their Game Auctions, held twice a year.  It is a great way to get something rare and old for your collection, or unload something you don't want anymore.  You have read about my successes at the auctions in the past ([1], [2], [3]), so I am rather fond of going.

So if you are in need of a new game or gaming book, please visit your local game store.  These places are the starting place for so many in this hobby and they are a dying breed I fear.  Plus helping out the local business is helping out the community and keeping your neighbors employed.

To my readers: What is YOUR favorite game store?  Where are they, why do you like to go?  Post their url or FB page and share the love.  Don't have one?  Maybe you can find a new one here!

Games Plus on Facebook,
Castle Perilous Games & Books on Facebook,
Off/On the Square on Facebook,


Anonymous said...


I was just at Games Plus this weekend to do some Yuletide shopping. I picked up a copy of a game for my spouse, ordered a game for my son, and picked up a set of dice for one of the dice-challenged players.

I've been going there for since 1990 or 1991 or so - though there was a couple of years in the late 90's when I worked for the competition (which has since gone out of business) and didn't visit very often.


Mark CMG Clover said...

Hiya Tim!

Indeed we are lucky to have such a fine example of game stores so close to us. Games Plus is a model that other stores would do well to follow. I run a regular game in their RPG room, play most years in war gaming campaigns run there for six to eight month stretches, and make sure to do the bulk of my gamer shopping there. And, as said, their auctions are great!

All the Best,
Mark Clover

Timothy S. Brannan said...

Here is another example of what I have been talking about.

Please visit Quest for Fun!'s blog.

Gryfalia said...

My grandparents lived in Mt Prospect and I've been visiting Games Plus for as long as I can remember (I'm 41 now). Now that I own my own game store my goal is to be 'that place' and Games Plus has always been 'that place' in my mind.

Michael S/Chgowiz said...

Tim, not sure if you saw on Google+ or ODD Board, but I will be running my OD&D/Basic Marathon for the third year in a row, and it's probably going to be at Games Plus. I've already done Dice Dojo and Unique Gifts & Games.

Zombie apocalypse + a labyrinth with ToH in the center. Can ya dig it? Hope you'll stop by!

Timothy S. Brannan said...

When is it?

I'll go look for your Google+ feed.

Michael S/Chgowiz said...

No specific date yet, I just made the decision this week to go ahead and run the thing. It's been 5 months since I gamed last. It was a good break.

Garry Snow said...

I couldn't agree more! I actually made a documentary that I call "a love letter to the friendly local game store." I do this by telling the story of the largest game store in the world - the Sentry Box in Calgary, Alberta, Canada!