I am in Hobart, Tasmania for a few days as I am marking exam papers for Computer Science after the end of year period has concluded for the students. There are only about three, maybe four friendly local game stores (FLGS) in Tasmania and two of them are located in Hobart. One of them is very new (only a few months old at best) whilst the other has been in existence for a long time. Each time I come to Hobart I try to get in and support them and this time was no different at all.
The first FLGS that I visited is Area 52 and is in the heart of the city. It is the store that has been established the longest and focuses mainly on comics, tabletop war-gaming, card games and a smattering of RPG’s. I often come into store and because I get a lot of my material via the internet I am amazed at some of the prices. But of course I understand that their are overheads and so I always try to buy something that I have been wanting. Yesterday was no different and as I am planning on running some Numenera in the next couple of months I found something that would inspire me and that was a pad of character sheets! Boring, some of you may think, but to me the Numenera character sheet is a work of art and really well done. I have looked at the one in the back of the book and wondered how I was going to faithfully photocopy it and now, I do not need to! The character sheet pad comes with 50 sheets on quality paper in full colour so I am fairly well all set!
I traveled directly from that store to the new FLGS in town known as Good Games Hobart. This store opened a few months back, in fact in the week that I was down doing some training recently. I stopped in then and had a chat to one of the guys there and was impressed by the size of the store. Three quarters of the store is made up of tables to play games at and they have a mini-cafe there too to cater to the players. They also have tabletop war-games, card games, board games as a focus and their RPG section is really small too but it exists.
When I spoke to the guy a few months back he told me that their focus was on being a place to game and that the store is open late every single night of the week to facilitate this. At the time I thought that was an ambitious project but on walking in yesterday the place was packed. Young, old, male, female, all wandering about or playing in store. The people behind the counter were kept busy by card game sales or collectible miniatures while I try to find something to buy. I looked over the RPG section and considered buying another core rule book for Pathfinder but could not justify it really with the amount of different ways I have at my disposal to access the rules. So I broadened my search.
Wandering around for about 20 minutes I decided to (as I often do) grab a new set of dice and found a really nice marbled aqua set so picked them up. I decided to do one last perusal of the board games before I left and I was rewarded. I have been looking for the Call of the Cthulhu card game for quite some time after talking to a guy at the FLGS Good Games Launceston when I went to watch John Cleese live. I had seen some booster packs and asked if they had a base deck. He told me that you really needed the base boxed set to start with before you expanded out. Unfortunately at the time he was out and so every time I have been near Launceston I go in and ask to no avail. Well, yesterday I found the bulky box set and picked it up. It was reasonably priced too which is always a nice thing. Mind you when I opened it I had to laugh – this massive box set for very little content. I often wonder when companies are going to start sizing their packaging to the product!
So there you have it. My trip to the FLGS was fruitful and I came away with a trio of items that helps make me feel good that I am supporting the locals. Mind you, the locals for me are quite some distance away, Hobart is 360 Km (223 Miles) away and Launceston is 160 odd Km away (100 Miles)! So I do not get to them often. There is a FLGS kind of in Burnie called Leading Edge but at its heart it is an electronics store. They have a tiny amount of hobby stock for Warhammer war-gaming in its various forms and a tiny amount of D&D gear that is pretty expensive. They also have some card games as well and dice which are all reasonable price.
Today I just wanted to give a shout out to all the FLGS that keep our hobby alive. Yes, you can normally get the same stuff on the internet cheaper but remember that the internet stores can sit at home in their underwear and have the books in boxes without needing to pay store frontage, wages and the like. FLGS can not sell PDF’s and they always deal in the hard copy material. The FLGS acts as a network of friendly people. Last time I was in Area 52 I picked up a D&D Players Handbook for a friend and a guy wandered up and asked if I had played before and we had a chat. It was nice. Not sure who he was but it just goes to show that it is a great place to go – the FLGS is full of people like us!
So go on, get out there. Visit a FLGS. If it is in your home town, one town over or you are just visiting somewhere, find out where the FLGS is and stop in and say hello. Tell them that Mark at RPG Knights sent you. They may give you a strange look, but that is OK – point them at my website and we both win! I get more readers and you get more contacts for your games. Keep rolling!