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 Post subject: Disappointed with the FLGS in regards to DCC RPG.
PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 8:21 am 
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Cold-Blooded Diabolist

Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2009 11:14 am
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Location: Cube Farm of Alien Geometry
I made the pilgrimage (45 min) to a game-store that is credited in the back of the DCC RPG rulebook. I was excited as I thought I could check out and buy some modules, etc.

They had nothing at all DCC RPG. It was all Warhammer and 4e DnD with a smattering of other RPGs. But not one item of DCC RPG, or even an older DCC module.

They said that they had no demand and could special order it for me. Maybe my attitude is not the best but I'd rather buy on-line then. I like the FLGS to be able to browse before buying. In that case I'd happily pay a bit more. But otherwise I'll buy on-line.

I live in a big populous county in FL and am saddened that apparently no-one in my area plays DCC RPG. I guess it is up to me and my group. We're still in a DnD 3.5 campaign and I plan on running a DCC RPG campaign right after if I can convince them. Our group is entrenched heavily in 3.5 but I am disillusioned with that version as 'the thrill is gone' for me.

I'm also going to try and run a campaign for my 11 year old son, but I'll have to tone down some of the evil arcane elements (which I love, BTW). 0 level funnel is going to be hard for single player.


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 Post subject: Re: Disappointed with the FLGS in regards to DCC RPG.
PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 8:56 am 
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What if "no demand" means "I've never had anyone in the store actually seem to care enough to have me order something for them," and all the local DCC players are buying their DCC goods online?

I always wonder things like that because, to me, it almost always seems to be a chicken & the egg situation - the FLGS owner is waiting for customers to show interest in the product before stocking any while the customers are waiting for the FLGS to stock product for them to buy as a show of interest.

I know my FLGS only has DCC on its shelves because I set up a standing order to get every product as it is released and they decided to order an extra here and there, and only stocks Gamescience dice because I placed a few order for them, the first of which actually required their setting up of a special account just for the ability to order in the first place... and now they keep a few precision singles in their dice bins, a few 7 piece sets in the display case, and a few Zocchi packs by the register to grab customer attention.

...and since starting to stock those products that "only that one dude cared about," they have been selling more than they thought they would have.


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 Post subject: Re: Disappointed with the FLGS in regards to DCC RPG.
PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:13 am 
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I know my FLGS has had a couple of distributor issues -- mostly with DCC stuff being sold out. It took me forever to get the print copy of Beyond the Black Gate. I agree that if some random FLGS 45 minutes away doesn't have the game, you shouldn't shop there. But, I would certainly pressure your local FLGS to order the game. Maybe organize a game at the store?

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 Post subject: Re: Disappointed with the FLGS in regards to DCC RPG.
PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:50 am 
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TheNobleDrake wrote:
What if "no demand" means "I've never had anyone in the store actually seem to care enough to have me order something for them," and all the local DCC players are buying their DCC goods online?


Yeah, the popularity of obtaining product via an online means makes it hard to gauge the popularity of a gaming product based solely on the FLGS' shelves.

TheNobleDrake wrote:
I always wonder things like that because, to me, it almost always seems to be a chicken & the egg situation - the FLGS owner is waiting for customers to show interest in the product before stocking any while the customers are waiting for the FLGS to stock product for them to buy as a show of interest.


I agree. Some stores don't want to stock unless there is interest expressed by the customer. And some customer's won't say exactly what they are looking for when they come into a store and might walk away empty handed because the store didn't have what they want.


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 Post subject: Re: Disappointed with the FLGS in regards to DCC RPG.
PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 12:36 pm 
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I've never understood a store's offer to order something in for me. I can order things myself.

I'm buying convenience from you, not product.


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 Post subject: Re: Disappointed with the FLGS in regards to DCC RPG.
PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 12:40 pm 
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Teflon Billy wrote:
I've never understood a store's offer to order something in for me. I can order things myself.

I'm buying convenience from you, not product.


+1. Also you usually don't have to pay sales tax when you order it online. Which kinda sucks, I mean in theory I'd like to see gaming shops thrive. But if they're not price competitive or convenient, what's the point?

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 Post subject: Re: Disappointed with the FLGS in regards to DCC RPG.
PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 1:40 pm 
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TheNobleDrake has a good point though. If I were to suck it up and make them order it, they might make some more sales and order more.


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 Post subject: Re: Disappointed with the FLGS in regards to DCC RPG.
PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 1:48 pm 
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cthulhudarren wrote:
If I were to ... make them order it, they might make some more sales and order more.

+1

beermotor wrote:
...in theory I'd like to see gaming shops thrive. But if they're not price competitive or convenient, what's the point?

...because they might be your neighbor, maybe? Don't get me wrong, I buy stuff online, too. But if I can get it locally for a similar price, I will.

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 Post subject: Re: Disappointed with the FLGS in regards to DCC RPG.
PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 4:10 pm 
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my local store in Anchorage, Ak (Boscos)
is pretty much the same. tons of wotc and games workshop items with some shadowrun here and little battletech and some random rpgs, but NO DCC at all. Nothing!
i asked them about it and they were like "who?"
even the "guy" in charge of the rpgs pretty much refuses to order any. i like supporting game shops that at least carry what i want and arent such dicks about anything they just personally don't like. being#5 on the charts i'm sure that three-necked sweater wearing momma's boy just orders what he likes in his personal collection. he's kind of a creep anyway, so i don't have that much problem not shopping there. i DO order virtual craploads from frpgames.com though. if they were my brick and mortar store i'd love to dump more of my $$$ there.
retailers have to understand that they aren't shopping for themselves but for their customers


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 Post subject: Re: Disappointed with the FLGS in regards to DCC RPG.
PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 4:20 pm 
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That would be why a lot of these stores go out of business... not listening to their customers. Though if only one person is asking for DCC, then I can understand their skepticism. Margins are pretty slim in these stores and they typically make most of their money on comics (at least here in the Austin area).

There are two local stores in Austin/Round Rock that I frequent (most often the Round Rock one -- Rogue's Gallery). The Austin one (Dragon's Lair) has all of the modules and the core book stocked. The Round Rock store couldn't keep the stuff on the shelf to start with, but general demand seems to have tapered off. I have a standing order for each new module and, other than Black Gate, I've always gotten them quickly -- maybe your store can do that?

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 Post subject: Re: Disappointed with the FLGS in regards to DCC RPG.
PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 4:57 pm 
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Teflon Billy wrote:
I've never understood a store's offer to order something in for me. I can order things myself.

I'm buying convenience from you, not product.

I don't buy convenience (that would be subscribing directly from Goodman Games and having everything shipped to my door, and early too), nor product from an FLGS - I buy community.

Because I go down there and get my DCC goods they keep some DCC goods on their shelves which means more chance that some other person sees the product on the shelf and becomes interested, and I may just swell the number of available gamers in the area willing to play the game with me... especially if I ever get around to setting up a time to run some DCC in-store, which I am sure the FLGS would be glad to reserve me a table and time to do because they have gotten to know me since they opened their shop and I buy stuff their constantly.

This is related to another theory of mine: I've always encountered a majority opinion among the gamers I have met (whether in Oregon, Nevada, Idaho, Mississippi, Louisiana, or Florida) of "There is no one in my area to game with." I have also constantly refused to believe that to be true and have never had trouble filling all the seats at my table (and having people waiting to fill openings).

The appearance that no one in the area plays the games one wants to tends, in my experience, to be an illusion created by so many people ordering their gaming materials online and only playing games with people they have always played games with (especially in the case of all those poor folks that still think saying "I play table-top RPGs" is embarrassing) - so the FLGS in the area wither and fade and no one has a place to go and find people that share their like of a particular game.

So many times I've seen entire groups form to play face-to-face while every member was saying "seems like no one in my area likes this game, so I guess I am looking for an online game," with a response of where are you from? Oh, me too we should play! Hey, you guys got room for two more 'cause I have a buddy and we need a game.

Gamers are everywhere, and Amazon (and other scarily cheap online outlets) is making gamers blind to each others existence and proximity.


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 Post subject: Re: Disappointed with the FLGS in regards to DCC RPG.
PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 7:00 pm 
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TheNobleDrake wrote:
I know my FLGS only has DCC on its shelves because I set up a standing order to get every product as it is released and they decided to order an extra here and there....
This is pretty much my story as well. I ran a couple of DCC demos at my local game shoppe and generated some interest. I have a standing order for all DCC RPG products (which the store owner thinks is amusing since he knows I get to preview and playtest the modules before they hit the shelves, but I want "real" copies for my collection) and this has also helped to get some product into the store.

The store owner now plays DCC and buys one of each as well and has even supported one of John Adams' kickstarters so he can get multiple copies of some of the BHP DCC stuff for his shelves.

Bottom line is that stores will stock based on demand, and if no one is buying a particular product line they won't bother to stock it, but if they see them moving from the shelves they will be inspired to keep restocking.

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 Post subject: Re: Disappointed with the FLGS in regards to DCC RPG.
PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 4:59 am 
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I went to my wargaming club last week. I go there to paint minis & brought my copy of the DCC RPG rulebook along to read when I needed a break from painting. I got chatting to the owner of my FLGS about the book & he thought it was a really great looking book but he'd never heard of it. I've agreed to run a few sessions of DCC at the club. I hope that generates some interest, as it's a great game & I need new souls for my group.


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 Post subject: Re: Disappointed with the FLGS in regards to DCC RPG.
PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 5:54 am 
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Teflon Billy wrote:
I've never understood a store's offer to order something in for me. I can order things myself.

I'm buying convenience from you, not product.


I also hate when they say this. :roll:

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 Post subject: Re: Disappointed with the FLGS in regards to DCC RPG.
PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 8:03 am 
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Again I have to agree with TheNobleDrake. But in my case that game-store is hardly convenient. It's way out of the way for me. I went there because it's a big store and it is credited in the DCC RPG book.

I was just expecting more. Anything.

So that leads to the question... where is everybody located? I'm in Tampa Bay, FL.


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 Post subject: Re: Disappointed with the FLGS in regards to DCC RPG.
PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 10:12 am 
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DCCfan wrote:
Teflon Billy wrote:
I've never understood a store's offer to order something in for me. I can order things myself.

I'm buying convenience from you, not product.


I also hate when they say this. :roll:


That doesn't make it any less true though. The fact is, in the day and age where online retailing of everything, not just rpgs, means you can get what you specifically want faster, with less fuss, more convenience, no rubbing of elbows with catpiss men or socially-inept edition warriors, and generally for cheaper too, retail stores have to up their ante. They have to offer things that online retailers can't (like good customer service, clean staff and premises, an awareness of the market you are serving, and hopefully a decent place for folks to game too). Sadly, many fail to do so. And let's not even get started on those stores who really do not deserve that F at the start of FLGS; can anyone truly deny rpgdom does not have more than its share of such stores?

Colin


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 Post subject: Re: Disappointed with the FLGS in regards to DCC RPG.
PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 12:00 pm 
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Hmmm, sounds like a few of us trudged out to the same store near the shore in South Jersey.

My local game store never fails to disappoint me. Between frequently selling out of White Dwarf a full week BEFORE it's street date, refusing to stock items from publishers that list them as stocking agents on company websites, and a staff that is condescending towards items and companies they don't read or play, I've pretty much written them off. They've goofed all but 2 special orders since 2010.

I hate hearing them say, 'Oh no, we wouldn't stock that. NO ONE wants to (read or play) that!' When I've just driven 1/2 an hour w/ a pocketful of cash to buy that something. Then if I order it because I want to support them, I pay full price + tax and wait and wait and wait and wait.

When DCC RPG was released I went in to buy it, but no one there knew what it was or was interested in finding out even though Goodman lists them as a stocking store. Next time I tried buying the Sailors/Starless Sea module, I was told no one was interested in Goodman modules, and when I made them order it it took 6 WEEKS to get it. The next module took 4 weeks because apparently no one could read the order takers handwriting and just ignored the order. Now I get them online w/in 5 days at much less than retail even w/ paying shipping. I want to support them but their attitude has completely turned me off.

What I don't get is why stores avoid new items instead of hyping new game nights and voraciously marketing and supporting it. I understand that their established customer base supporting 40K, DnD, Pathfinder, CoC, & Magic is dropping a lot of cash on those games, but relying on only that income is short sighted and stupid! During my 7 years as a book store manager for a small chain, I built a moderately successful store into a super successful one and changed the whole company's model for conducting business. I did it by expanding inventory to include niche markets and creating a strong program of cross marketing small publisher offerings alongside the established companies strong sellers. I also cultivated a knowledgeable staff that strove to not only satisfy customer demands, but to understand and anticipate what customers would want. Quick turn around on special orders, competitively discounting large volume orders and communication, communication, communication with customers are all mandatory as well.

This isn't a wish list for a perfect store; this is how a great retail business is run. Perhaps small publishers need to be more proactive in developing a marketing formula to help stores roll out new product. Promotional sales aids (posters, book marks, etc.) are great, but step by step instruction that makes new product marketing easy and sensible for store staff could be the ingredient that makes it all work effectively. The stores that do well with new games understand this and are already successful at marketing. It's the 40K, Magic, DnD hangouts that need this help. It would be a win - win - win situation for the hobby, the small store owner and the publisher.

BTW, if anyone is considering opening a game store/cafe in Southern New Jersey and needs a manager or business partner please contact me.

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 Post subject: Re: Disappointed with the FLGS in regards to DCC RPG.
PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 5:39 pm 
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ragboy wrote:
There are two local stores in Austin/Round Rock that I frequent (most often the Round Rock one -- Rogue's Gallery). The Austin one (Dragon's Lair) has all of the modules and the core book stocked. The Round Rock store couldn't keep the stuff on the shelf to start with, but general demand seems to have tapered off. I have a standing order for each new module and, other than Black Gate, I've always gotten them quickly -- maybe your store can do that?


I didn't initially have good luck with DCC at DL (I had to get the core book online), but recently they've had a lot more DCC stuff, to the point I go there to get the new modules when they come out. There was a period during the d20 glut where they were pretty limited in their RPG selections, but they've been a lot better in recent years about stocking Indie and retro stuff and I try to reward that by buying there whenever feasible (I live in Steiner so trekking there is kind of a drive).


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 Post subject: Re: Disappointed with the FLGS in regards to DCC RPG.
PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2012 5:15 am 
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Colin wrote:
DCCfan wrote:
Teflon Billy wrote:
I've never understood a store's offer to order something in for me. I can order things myself.

I'm buying convenience from you, not product.
I also hate when they say this. :roll:


That doesn't make it any less true though. The fact is, in the day and age where online retailing of everything, not just rpgs, means you can get what you specifically want faster, with less fuss, more convenience, no rubbing of elbows with catpiss men or socially-inept edition warriors, and generally for cheaper too, retail stores have to up their ante. They have to offer things that online retailers can't (like good customer service, clean staff and premises, an awareness of the market you are serving, and hopefully a decent place for folks to game too).
I was in my local store on Saturday and asked them to order a product for me. Got an e-mail on Tuesday saying it was at the store and ready for me to pick up.

My local store offers pretty much everything you listed, Colin. They know my name when I enter the store, the place is clean and looks great, and they have a nice place to play and/or run a game.

The problem is that there are so many games out there. They are a "game" store and not a "RPG" store, so their shelves are stocked with quite a lot of product which I don't find interesting but their walk-in customers do. Their RPG stuff is mostly 4E and Pathfinder because that's what folks in the store mostly play, but they also stock some DCC. The real problem is that there are so many RPGs out there (with so many different products to go with them) that it's hard for them to know what to order. If I suggest something they usually stock a couple of copies to see if they sell, but I think they are afraid to overstock because if it doesn't sell they may eat a huge loss, which they can't afford to do. I know that they have too much 4E stuff that no one wants any more.

So I'm always torn. I want to support the store but I want to be able to look at things before I buy. Always a tough thing to balance to maintain.

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 Post subject: Re: Disappointed with the FLGS in regards to DCC RPG.
PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2012 1:37 pm 
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Wowzers, I feel spoiled now! My game store is awesome. They let me run any games I want to, whether the game is in print or not (Although I currently run DCC, I started out running 1974 OD&D). They help me promote the games I run, and get me good quality players and steer away the weirdos. I have a standing order for the DCC modules, and they always show up in a timely manner. For every $10 I spend, I get a stamp. After 10 stamps, I get a $10 store credit. This effectively amounts to a 10% discount on everything (although slightly less due to rounding, etc.) All I gotta do if I want something is shoot them an email, and it will be there waiting for me the next time I run a game. I understand that RPGs are a tiny sliver of their business, their space is small, and they need shelf space for the stuff that keeps the lights on (Magic cards, miniatures, and board games). I don't take it as a personal affront that their RPG section is small. It is simply a reflection of the market. It's easy to order stuff from them, I don't have to pay shipping, and I get to support the really nice and accommodating couple that owns the shop. They respond in kind by doing little things like giving me an early pick from Free RPG Day items, and things like that. In this day and age, it is really nice to have such a relationship with actual real-life human beings. I cherish it!

Also, there is another store that is about an hour away. The place is tiny, so they can't stock much, but the guy offers a 20% discount on anything that he has to special order, which is pretty generous. At any rate, If I was looking for something specific, I would probably call them to see if they had it before making the trip.

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 Post subject: Re: Disappointed with the FLGS in regards to DCC RPG.
PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2012 3:38 pm 
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If someone has a truly FLGS, then that's absolutely fantastic, and I'm seriously jealous. But over the years, I've either experienced or come across so many tales of LGS woes, that the idea that they must be saved in blanket terms like some mythic Holy Grail, simply doesn't hold much water. If your FLGS makes you happy then it most likely *has* upped its ante and *is* competing (or was wonderfully competent to begin with).

To me, a FLGS is really no different than any other store I purchase things from; if it's good (insofar as it offers me something rivals, including online options, do not) I'll shop there. If it's not good (insofar as shopping there is objectively pointless, or worse, actively negative in some way) I won't, at least not more than once. All sink or swim on their own merits, imo. If they're really good, they won't really need the efforts of others to save them in most cases.

Finally, the simplistic view I've sometimes come across that it's "FLGS vs. Evil Online Sellers" is a false one, as some of the online sellers actually *are* local gamestores with a brick and mortar presence (even if they're not local *to you*), stores that were clever and canny enough to set themselves up to sell online as well as directly in-store. In the UK, for example, Leisure Games in London are a prime example. I'm sure you chaps in the US can name actual stores that also do very well with online sales as well.

Colin


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 Post subject: Re: Disappointed with the FLGS in regards to DCC RPG.
PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2012 3:49 pm 
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Colin wrote:
I'm sure you chaps in the US can name actual stores that also do very well with online sales as well.


Noble Knight comes to mind, though I think they were fully established as an online seller first before branching out into brick & mortar sales.


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 Post subject: Re: Disappointed with the FLGS in regards to DCC RPG.
PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2012 8:44 pm 
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Rick wrote:
Colin wrote:
I'm sure you chaps in the US can name actual stores that also do very well with online sales as well.


Noble Knight comes to mind, though I think they were fully established as an online seller first before branching out into brick & mortar sales.

I love Noble Knight. I would give them an A+ rating. The best online service I have ever used for RPG's.

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 Post subject: Re: Disappointed with the FLGS in regards to DCC RPG.
PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2012 12:50 am 
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DCCfan wrote:
Rick wrote:
Colin wrote:
I'm sure you chaps in the US can name actual stores that also do very well with online sales as well.


Noble Knight comes to mind, though I think they were fully established as an online seller first before branching out into brick & mortar sales.

I love Noble Knight. I would give them an A+ rating. The best online service I have ever used for RPG's.

Noble Knight is the example by which all stores should follow, is my personal favorite store, and never ceases to amaze me with underestimation of the quality of their used products.

Everything I have purchased at what they call "very good -" quality has arrived to me in what I, and every other store I've been too, would call "near mint."


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 Post subject: Re: Disappointed with the FLGS in regards to DCC RPG.
PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2012 10:13 pm 
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Shortly after 2003's Gen Con, I called my FLGS and asked if they had the newly-released Arcana Unearthed by Monte Cook.

"Who's Monte Cook?" Yep. At the height of Cook's influence in RPGs, the FLGS employee hadn't a clue who he was.

So he did some checking and came to the conclusion that the book hadn't been published yet. I replied by telling him that the book had been released at Gen Con.

You can see it coming: "Gen Con?" He didn't know what Gen Con was.

I ended up ordering the book online, and the FLGS ended up going out of business.

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