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 Post subject: The Game Store Review Thread
PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2008 6:32 am 
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Location: San Jose, CA
I visit a lot of game stores. It occurred to me recently that I should write up brief reviews of them to help guide consumers. This thread is where I'll do that.

Other folks should also feel free to chime in. If you have a negative experience with a store, keep your recap professional, and make sure you give the owner or manager a chance to correct it. I would be happy to get involved in helping smooth things out if it involves a Goodman Games product.

With that intro out of the way, here are some reviews...

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Joseph Goodman
Goodman Games
www.goodman-games.com


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 Post subject: Black Diamond Games
PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2008 6:43 am 
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Location: San Jose, CA
Black Diamond Games
1950 Market Street, Suite E
Concord, CA 94520
925-681-0600
http://www.blackdiamondgames.com/

Image

I visited Black Diamond Games the week before Christmas. This place is like the Gap of game stores - clean, well-lit, organized, and attractive. It's a huge store and completely outfitted in matching new light-wood fixturing, which looks great.

Black Diamond Games has a large gaming space in the back (around 6 or 8 tables if I remember correctly) with framed gaming posters on the walls. Their strength is their appeal to the everyday customer: without being a "mall store" that focuses exclusively on board games, they intelligently merchandised the store to open with the broadest appeal and narrow in the back to the more gamer-specific products. This is the kind of store that will bring new blood to the industry.

Their RPG section in particular is focused on newer releases without a lot of distractions or old product. They are tuned in enough to industry promotions to have downloaded and displayed our "Out With The Old, In With The New" promotional materials. They have a neat, organized Goodman Games section with a good selection of 4E and a dwindling selection of 3E.

And best of all, they have a "mom chair." My wife could read ladies' magazines for an hour while she waited on me to look around!

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Joseph Goodman
Goodman Games
www.goodman-games.com


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 Post subject: Re: The Game Store Review Thread
PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2008 11:30 am 
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Location: Left Coast, USA
Interesting and somewhat surreal, given that you I believe are based 2000 miles away, that your first review is a store from the town I grew up in... I don't live there any more, but I have been to Black Diamond Games once.... it's the best laid out game store I've ever seen, and miles away from the orge-cave-like store I started buying D&D stuff from in the late 70's, Light Brigade Hobbies. And it's better than LBH's successor, Games Unlimited, which was fine, but didn't feel as, um, 'upscale'(?).

Those kids shopping and playing there now don't know how good they have it! Even if they insist on referring to a watch as a 'portable chronometer'...

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Gnome Boy (a.k.a. "Jon") • DCC play-tester @ DDC 35, Feb 2011. • Beta DL 2111, 7:00 AM PT, 8 June 11.
Playing RPGs since 1977 • Quasi-occasional member of the Legion of 8th-Level Fighters - Holds the power to play gnomes at will!

Here Be DCC Monsters...

General Yoros, Warrior, Str 13, Agl 8 (10), Stm 17, Per 13, Int 11, Lck 8; Law, HP 39, AC 17, R+2, F+4, W+2, band/shld, warhammer, longsword, longbow, pitchfork

Han Dee, (Weaver) Neutral Thief, Str 10, Agi 13, Stm 11, Per 11, Int 15, Lck 14, AC 13 (Leather), HP 25, Luck Die d6, Backstab 3, Sneak Silently 10, Hide In Shadows 9, Pick Pocket 10, Climb Sheer 10, Pick Lock 9, Find Trap 9, Disable Trap 9, Forge Doc 10, Disguise 3, Read Lang 5, Handle Poison 3, Cast Scroll d14+2, birth augur (Born under the loom) +1 to all skill checks (including thief skills), Banepicks (auto pick lock/disable trap, but lose 1d3 random ability loss, if a 3 then 1 pt is perm)


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 Post subject: Re: The Game Store Review Thread
PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2008 9:24 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 01, 2002 2:41 pm
Posts: 2695
Location: San Jose, CA
Gamers World
Woodfield Mall, F209
Schaumburg, IL
847-517-1103
No web site that I know of, but you can find more info here:
http://www.shopwoodfield.com/IM/storede ... store=F209

If you know the old Gamers Paradise chain in Chicago, you probably know Marty from the Woodfield store. Marty's back with his own store, Gamers World. It's a spacious mall store located in one of America's largest malls. It caters to a broad cross-section of the American public, focused on mass market games, board games, puzzles, and those sorts of things. Gamers World has a good selection of fantasy board games from the likes of Fantasy Flight, and a healthy selection of CMG's. Their RPG section is limited to core books with a smattering of 3.5 DCC modules at the moment. But Marty's a longtime gamer and a Goodman Games fan, so he's willing to take special orders, and I expect the RPG section to expand once the store gets past its six-month birthday. This is a great start to a new store filling the void left by Gamers Paradise. Stop by and visit!

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Joseph Goodman
Goodman Games
www.goodman-games.com


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 Post subject: Re: The Game Store Review Thread
PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2008 9:34 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 01, 2002 2:41 pm
Posts: 2695
Location: San Jose, CA
Oxford Comics & Games
2855 Piedmont Road
Atlanta, GA
404-233-8682
No web site that I know of

Oxford Comics & Games is a packrat's dream. The primary focus is comics, and the store has an enormous collection of recent issues shelved directly behind the current titles. They seem to have a never-ending supply of Free Comic Book Day 25-cent comics - every time I visit, no matter what time of year, there are boxes of them. The RPG section features far too much 3E product that, in my opinion, should be cleared out to make room for new material. But that's part of the charm - there are jewels from the earliest days of d20 packed away in this store. If you're a fan who enjoys the thrill of the hunt, Oxford Comics & Games is for you.

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Joseph Goodman
Goodman Games
www.goodman-games.com


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 Post subject: Re: The Game Store Review Thread
PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2008 9:42 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 01, 2002 2:41 pm
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Location: San Jose, CA
Gamescape San Francisco
333 Divisadero
San Francisco, Ca 94117
415-621-4263
http://www.gamescapesf.net/

Image

Not to be confused with its northerly neighbor, this is the only full-line game store within San Francisco proper. The front of the store is focused on board games, chess, and puzzles - more puzzles than I would ever know what to do with - with a fairly large RPG section in the back and a "niche" housing a good selection of miniatures. The store has a large collection of 3E stock going back to titles I recognize from the first wave of d20 releases, as well as rarities like shrink-wrapped copies of DCC #35 and DCC #30 tournament edition. (After I recently visited, I posted some of my sitings on the Acaeum forum and I'm sure these titles are gone by now.) They have less space devoted to 4E than I'd like, especially relative to the huge 3E stock investment still sitting at full price. The store has a constant supply of discount and used games in the back, always good for bargain-hunters.

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Joseph Goodman
Goodman Games
www.goodman-games.com


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 Post subject: Re: The Game Store Review Thread
PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2008 9:47 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 01, 2002 2:41 pm
Posts: 2695
Location: San Jose, CA
Black Sun Games
5426 N. Kedzie
Chicago, IL 60625
773-588-1065
877-588-9990
http://blacksungameschicago.com/

Image

Black Sun Games is one of the newest additions to Chicago's game market. It's an unexpected store, housed in a condominium development without much commerce nearby, and it's a hidden surprise. The store is small but has almost as much floor space devoted to gaming as selling, with multiple tables in the back and a clear focus on being a gathering point for the gaming community. They have a broad selection focused on key drivers for a "gamer gamer," not the mass market, so you'll find a representative sample of popular RPG's, CCG's, CMG's, miniatures, and other titles there along with board games from Rio Grande, Fantasy Flight, and others. The store is still finding its audience so I would expect the stock mix to adjust over the coming months, eventually settling on what's best for the local market. The staff is friendly, and I hope to do some gaming in there from time to time.

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Joseph Goodman
Goodman Games
www.goodman-games.com


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 Post subject: Re: The Game Store Review Thread
PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2008 9:56 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 01, 2002 2:41 pm
Posts: 2695
Location: San Jose, CA
Games Plus
101 W. Prospect Ave.
Mt. Prospect, IL
847-577-9656
http://www.games-plus.com/

Image
The crowd outside Games Plus before opening on Free RPG Day 2009

Ah, Games Plus, one of my favoritest game stores in the world. This is a "gamer's game store," not a mall store, not a comic store, but the place you wished was near your house when you were 14 years old and had hours to browse. Games Plus has the most extensive RPG selection of any game store I've ever seen, and it's extremely well organized, with tabbed dividers for every game system. Their Dungeon Crawl Classics selection is excellent, with every title in stock and presented face-out. They have several gaming tables in the back, an enormous amount of wall space dedicated to miniatures, an extensive collection of tabletop terrain for wargaming, and a selection of rare gaming products behind the counter the way comic stores keep Amazing Fantasy #15 behind the counter. The store actively supports the gaming community with a constant schedule of events, an annual auction, a periodic EN World Games Day, and of course strong representation on Free RPG Day. I know a lot about the gaming industry, but every time I visit Games Plus, I walk away learning something new about games.

Image
Forming a line for the freebies table inside Games Plus

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Joseph Goodman
Goodman Games
www.goodman-games.com


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 Post subject: Re: The Game Store Review Thread
PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2008 9:59 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 01, 2002 2:41 pm
Posts: 2695
Location: San Jose, CA
Dreamland Comics
Schaumburg Plaza
1415 W. Schaumburg Rd.
Schaumburg, Illinois 60194
847-524-6060
http://www.dreamlandcomics.com/html/index.htm

Dreamland is a comic store with a decent gaming selection focused primarily on CCG's and CMG's. Their comics are extremely easy to shop, with everything presented nicely and well organized, and they have good pricing on graphic novels. The gaming selection is an afterthought and thus isn't always up to date, but the owners are open to suggestions and I'm going to work with them a little. Like many comic stores that dabbled in RPG's during the 3E boom, they have some artifacts on the shelves, along with a solid selection of recent 4E releases. If you're a comics fan this is a great place to buy new releases and graphic novels -- along with a small but growing back issue assortment -- and if you're a guy who likes comics and games, it's a good place to visit on new comic book day each week.

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Joseph Goodman
Goodman Games
www.goodman-games.com


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 Post subject: Re: The Game Store Review Thread
PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2008 10:02 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 01, 2002 2:41 pm
Posts: 2695
Location: San Jose, CA
GnomeBoy wrote:
Interesting and somewhat surreal, given that you I believe are based 2000 miles away, that your first review is a store from the town I grew up in...


Well, like I said, I visit a lot of game stores. :) I wish I had thought of doing this earlier. This first batch is all based on memory from recent trips. There are so many more but the visits aren't fresh. I'll start updating this thread regularly as I hit new stores.

I'm glad you like Black Diamond Games. It is indeed a great store.

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Joseph Goodman
Goodman Games
www.goodman-games.com


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 Post subject: Re: The Game Store Review Thread
PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:01 am 
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Posts: 2
Thanks for the Black Diamond Games review!

Our game center has ten folding tables and two 4x8 terrain tables. We can seat about 50 people during a Magic tournament, or 5 sessions of D&D during an event like World D&D Day. Since we built walls to enclose the space, we made a very deliberate decision based on store research about how much game space was "enough." Of course now we wish we had more. ;)

Thanks again!

--gary

Gary L. Ray
Black Diamond Games, LLC
1950 Market Street, Suite E
Concord, CA 94520

925-681-0600
www.blackdiamondgames.com
blackdiamondgames.blogspot.com


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 Post subject: Re: The Game Store Review Thread
PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2009 3:08 pm 
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Location: San Jose, CA
Cat & Mouse Games
2212 W. Armitage
Chicago, IL 60647
773-384-4454
http://www.cat-n-mouse.com/

Image

Cat & Mouse Games is a family-oriented game and puzzle store located in Chicago's Wicker Park area. It is an open, well-lit space with a large selection of children's games, puzzles, and family games. The middle of the store has two card tables with comfortable seats, and they offer to open any game to demo it on the spot - great sales technique. They use the gaming area actively for demos and game nights. If you're an adventure gamer, head to the back right corner, where they have a good selection of Euro games, FFG board games, and other such things. Their RPG selection is limited to the core D&D books, but they have accounts with the major distributors and are willing to special order. If you're a gamer in the neighborhood, this could be a good place to get your fix.

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Joseph Goodman
Goodman Games
www.goodman-games.com


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 Post subject: Re: The Game Store Review Thread
PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2009 3:13 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 01, 2002 2:41 pm
Posts: 2695
Location: San Jose, CA
Chicagoland Games/Dice Dojo
1207 W Bryn Mawr
Chicago IL 60660
(773)728.DOJO
http://www.chicagolandgames.com/

The first thing that impressed me about Chicagoland Games was the friendly ambiance. I haven't seen this many gamers hanging in out a store this size in quite some time! The store's footprint is small and they use every available square foot for gaming space, meaning this is a community-oriented place. The crowd inside is especially impressive considering the store opened only two months ago. They have a wide selection of adventure gaming products, including board games, RPG's, and CCG's. The stock levels are light given that the store just opened, but I expect that to grow as time goes on and the store prospers.

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Joseph Goodman
Goodman Games
www.goodman-games.com


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 Post subject: Re: The Game Store Review Thread
PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2009 2:32 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 10, 2006 3:46 pm
Posts: 2310
Location: Left Coast, USA
goodmangames wrote:
test

Now there's going to be a test on this material!!?? :shock:

I had better re-read the thread then...! 8)

_________________
Gnome Boy (a.k.a. "Jon") • DCC play-tester @ DDC 35, Feb 2011. • Beta DL 2111, 7:00 AM PT, 8 June 11.
Playing RPGs since 1977 • Quasi-occasional member of the Legion of 8th-Level Fighters - Holds the power to play gnomes at will!

Here Be DCC Monsters...

General Yoros, Warrior, Str 13, Agl 8 (10), Stm 17, Per 13, Int 11, Lck 8; Law, HP 39, AC 17, R+2, F+4, W+2, band/shld, warhammer, longsword, longbow, pitchfork

Han Dee, (Weaver) Neutral Thief, Str 10, Agi 13, Stm 11, Per 11, Int 15, Lck 14, AC 13 (Leather), HP 25, Luck Die d6, Backstab 3, Sneak Silently 10, Hide In Shadows 9, Pick Pocket 10, Climb Sheer 10, Pick Lock 9, Find Trap 9, Disable Trap 9, Forge Doc 10, Disguise 3, Read Lang 5, Handle Poison 3, Cast Scroll d14+2, birth augur (Born under the loom) +1 to all skill checks (including thief skills), Banepicks (auto pick lock/disable trap, but lose 1d3 random ability loss, if a 3 then 1 pt is perm)


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 Post subject: Re: The Game Store Review Thread
PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2009 10:35 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 01, 2002 2:41 pm
Posts: 2695
Location: San Jose, CA
Top Shelf Games
6742 E. State Blvd.
Fort Wayne, IN
(260) 749-6669

Image

Top Shelf Games is the first and only game store I have visited that has a pizza parlor on the premises. What more needs to be said? You can game at the many open gaming tables and have your pizza cooked on the spot...and when you're done, play on their vintage Gauntlet arcade game! It's a spacious store with a selection primarily focused on miniatures, cards, and a core selection of RPG's, looking to bring in the expanded Goodman Games 4E assortment. Say hi to Aaron and Drew, who are both active in the local gaming community and run a wide variety of events in the store.

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Joseph Goodman
Goodman Games
www.goodman-games.com


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 Post subject: Re: The Game Store Review Thread
PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2009 10:41 pm 
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Location: San Jose, CA
Books, Comics, & Things - Maplecrest Road
2212 Maplecrest Rd.
Fort Wayne, IN
(260) 493-6116

Image

Books, Comics & Things has a life-size statue of the Silver Surfer flying out of the 2nd floor over the lobby - how can you go wrong with that? This is a large comics and gaming store with a wide selection of comics, an excellent collectibles selection, and a strong Wizards of the Coast gaming selection, soon to include Goodman Games products. They have a huge gaming room upstairs with separate rooms, perfect for role playing.

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Joseph Goodman
Goodman Games
www.goodman-games.com


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 Post subject: Re: The Game Store Review Thread
PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2009 10:45 pm 
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Location: San Jose, CA
Books, Comics, & Things - Jefferson Boulevard
5936 W. Jefferson Blvd.
Fort Wayne, IN
(260) 431-4999

Image

This store has a terrific selection of comic back issues, more than you see in almost any comic store these days, and an impressive RPG selection. The RPG section includes a couple boxes dedicated to gaming comics shelved separately from the rest - a real plus for anyone who appreciates KODT or Dork Tower. They have two game tables in the back, primarily focused on miniatures, and overall a broad assortment of games suitable for any gamer.

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Joseph Goodman
Goodman Games
www.goodman-games.com


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 Post subject: Re: The Game Store Review Thread
PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2009 10:49 pm 
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Location: San Jose, CA
Clem's Collectibles
4201 Coldwater Rd.
Fort Wayne, IN
(260) 480-7087

(New location opening soon at 4240 West Jefferson)

Image

Clem's started out as a sports collectibles store and has since branched into comics and games. They have a good variety of product, including RPG's (with good backstock selection), frontlist and backlist comics, graphic novels, and board games. Plus, in their new store, an awesome $899 model of a scout trooper! They're moving into a new location formerly occupied by a Sharper Image with enough room for a much-expanded gaming section and a huge gaming space in the back.

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Goodman Games
www.goodman-games.com


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 Post subject: Re: The Game Store Review Thread
PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2009 10:54 pm 
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Location: San Jose, CA
Collector's Box
515 N. Jefferson St.
Huntington, IN
(260) 358-0690

Image

Collector's Box has excellent lighting and great promotions, and is active in all sorts of local community events. It has a good selection of the core Wizards books as well as some backstock from prior editions. They have a wide variety of used video games and a great open gaming area for regular Magic events, and their staff is engaged in D&D Experience, Worldwide D&D Day, and other events.

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Goodman Games
www.goodman-games.com


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 Post subject: Re: The Game Store Review Thread
PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2009 11:16 pm 
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Chaos-Summoning Sorcerer
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Posts: 736
Location: Lexington, KY
goodmangames wrote:
Books, Comics & Things has a life-size statue of the Silver Surfer flying out of the 2nd floor over the lobby


No picture of that?!

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 Post subject: Re: The Game Store Review Thread
PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2009 5:51 am 
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Location: San Jose, CA
The Book Nook
155 2nd. Street
Decatur, IN
(260) 724-2665

Soon to be DZ Gaming

Image

Book Nook, soon to be renamed DZ Gaming, is a store with an unusual history and good future. It used to be two stores, a paperback novel store next to a used video game store. Enthusiastic new owners Dan and Zach are in the process of tearing down the walls between the two establishments (two down, one to go when I visited) and plan to combine it into a new gaming store under the name DZ Gaming. Right now the store features only some used paperback novels, Magic cards, and used video games, but they're looking to add RPG's at some time in the future. This place has a great selection of vintage video games!

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Goodman Games
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 Post subject: Re: The Game Store Review Thread
PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2009 5:56 am 
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Location: San Jose, CA
MCS Cards, Comics, and Games
107 W. Wabash St.
Bluffton, IN
(260) 824-4576

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MCS is primarily a card store, with a a gigantic collection of Magic cards. They also have a large selection of Marvel and DC trade paperbacks. Their RPG selection supports a small local gaming community and is currently limited to the D&D core books, but they're willing to special order.

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Goodman Games
www.goodman-games.com


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 Post subject: Re: The Game Store Review Thread
PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2009 6:02 am 
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Location: San Jose, CA
The Keep
1505 Goshen Road (Gateway Plaza strip mall)
Fort Wayne, IN
(260) 471-4336

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The Keep is a fun, family-run game store with a long history in the Fort Wayne area. They're a longtime supporter of Goodman Games and very knowledgeable about industry goings-on. You can count on owner Jane to be in-the-know on the latest news and events. They maximize their space with clever sliding walls of miniatures racks. The store runs fun events, such as a "Where's Violator?" contest where the customers try to find an action figure hidden somewhere in the merchandise, and get entered in a drawing if they do locate him. They support multiple editions of the game, and occasionally pick up old 1E and 2E D&D books to put up for sale. I also found it ironic that The Keep is located right next to another business called The Tower!

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Goodman Games
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 Post subject: Re: The Game Store Review Thread
PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2009 9:36 am 
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Location: Flying overhead
Note to self: Move to Fort Wayne in the near future... :)

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Monstercology: Orcs
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 Post subject: Re: The Game Store Review Thread
PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2009 10:42 pm 
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Location: San Jose, CA
Lightspeed Hobbies
5884 US Hwy 6 (in the Portage Commons)
Portage, IN
(219) 764-7314
http://lightspeedhobbies.com/index.php/ ... ed-Hobbies

Image

Lightspeed Hobbies is a comics and game store with wide center tables for gaming. They have new comics and backlist, and a selection of board games, trade paperbacks, and RPG's. They're the first store I've seen with store-imprinted shopping baskets, which is a nice touch. They're tuned into industry events and have participated in Free RPG Day and the Goodman Games 20% Off Sale, and posted our recent Open Call for 4E Writers on their bulletin board.

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Goodman Games
www.goodman-games.com


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