Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Death to the FLGS!

I've been going to my Friendly Local Gaming Store for 25 years now, and been increasingly disappointed over the last decade with their service and stock. I have two shops within 30 minutes of me, and another about an hour away. Time and again I've made the trek only to find they either didn't carry what I was looking for, or were out of stock. Some things I expect to be hard to find: historical miniatures can't really compete in popularity with Games Workshop and Yu-Gi-Oh. But c'mon. Paint? You've got a rack of GW paints and all that's left is two bottles of bright yellow and a bottle of orange? Combine that with the typical aloof game store staff that's more interested in hanging out than engaging with anyone on the other side of the corner, and each trip was invariably a disappointment.

Despite countless unproductive trips, I'd still try hit the store. I think a physical shop is important to the health of the games hobby as it provides not only merchandise but a place to play and exposure to the outside world of window shoppers. I also loved the idea of immediate gratification, of heading to the store, grabbing some paints and being home painting all within an afternoon. But after leaving these game and hobby shops dozens of times empty handed I finally gave up on them. I'd used Amazon for some game purchases because of their free shipping, but their stock is limited, and the free shipping option usually takes at least a week to arrive at my house.

I finally relented and placed an order with the War Store. I expected a hefty shipping fee, and was hoping to get delivery in one to two weeks, but was shocked to see a shipping fee half that of what I expected, with delivery two days after my order. On top of that, I contacted Neal at the War Store with a question and not only did he respond quickly, he followed up several times for additional clarification and to point out some products I had missed on his site. Amazing!

I'm kicking myself for not trying the War Store before now, but now I'm sold. Let the FLGS die. I'm happy to spend a few extra dollars on shipping for such exceptional service.


  1. "Let the FLGS die" Shock! Horror!! (..although I reluctantly have to agree with you).

    I'm in a similar situation with only three shops reasonably close to me. Two of these are Games Workshop and I don't count them as 'real' game stores any more. The remaining shop is a bit of a trek for me but I do like to pop in now and again. However they often don't have what I want in stock. The staff are excellent and always offer to order in for me but the fact is I can get anything I want online, cheaper and quicker than my FLGS.

    I don't want to see the FLGS die out but the fact is that I now buy probably 80% of my gaming purchases online and most of the rest at shows or conventions.

  2. While the guy who runs the FLGS right by my house is a nice fellow, there's no denying that his store is painfully anemic, unless you're counting board games, which are represented very well. He has no miniatures aside from GW and Warmachine, and even those are not particularly well stocked. RPG's are hit-and-miss, and he's fallen for the familiar trap of dedicating a ton of shelf space to used games, most of which are OGL dross.

    He does provide the gaming space, almost a third of his floorspace, to local gaming groups, and for that reason I try to help him out, but I can't buy miniatures he doesn't have, and that's the problem.

  3. @Lee, that's too bad. I was under the impression that gaming stores were a bit healthier in the UK. Sounds like you are in the same boat.

    @ WQRobb, that's a good point. There's an enormous gaming store about an hour from my house that I used to frequent because of it's great stock, but on my recent trips they've had less of what I need and tons of floorspace dedicated to old stock. Magazines from the early 2000s faded to pink and cyan by the sun, dusty Babylon 5 miniatures, racks packed with ancient minis for games that became defunct a decade ago. I just don't understand the mentality of holding onto stock that hasn't budged in years in the hopes of making a sale and recouping the initial investment. Take your losses and move on Game Store!