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  • #75076
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    When I stopped laughing at the furore at the heart of the ‘Gaming Personalities’ post, I took the trouble to actually watch the ‘offending’ YouTube video.

    What a lot of fuss about nothing!

    All he said was ‘game shops are like any other, if they want custom they have to provide what people want at a competitive price, or offer other excellent facilities’.

    There was a fair bit of fluff about what the internet may or may not have done to them. He then disputed the idea that if they don’t survive ‘gaming communities’, whatever they are, will die and said the internet had led to a boom in gaming.

    I agree with some of that but I can see the oversimplification of Internet = Growth’.

    However – in the UK at any rate, local ‘games stores’ didn’t exist as such, for my generation at any rate. I bought my first figures at a railway/ plastic kit model shop in Ashton under Lyne. He didn’t advertise the fact he had them, you found out by word of mouth. I travelled about 30 miles for Hinchliffe Napoleonic French, and came away with Celts because he didn’t have any French Napoleonic Line. That was 20 years before the internet, and finding shops that carried any wargaming stuff made Indiana Jones quests look like a bus ride to Tescos. Games Workshop came along eventually but (whisper this bit!) to me that wasn’t wargaming! So beyond the odd pot of paint when replenishment at the next wargames show looked to be too far away, they never had any custom off me. Not out of principle, they just had nothing I wanted.

    So

    a) why the furore over Tom’s comments (not his status as guru)? and

    b) does it matter if there are local shops or not? (Mine is Firestorm Games in Newport and they are great, and I shop there, but only for stuff I want, the rest I buy online).

    #75077
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    One thing I’ve learned from the internet is that the American gaming experience is not the same as ours. If they want to believe that wargaming is doomed due to the demise of the FLGS let them get on with it.

    To address your questions:

    a) Buggered if know. Probably something to do with what I wrote above.

    b) No it doesn’t. I buy nearly everything gaming related online.

     

     

     

    "I'm not signing that"

    #75078
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    Now you mention it my impression was much the same. This is a US thing. I’ve never spent long enough over there to know if all/most/any wargaming ‘communities’ revolve around FLGS, but they don’t here in my experience.

    There was a local art shop round here that had a basement Games Workshop club and when that went bust the people I knew who played GW games stopped – so maybe that part of the market does base its activities around shops.

    Firestorm apart though I can’t say that the ‘F ‘has manifested itself in the UK LGS I’ve known. The general response to queries about figure ranges was at best ‘No, not worth it.’ to ‘S*d off and stop wasting my time.’

    Playing has been clubs or with friends. Apart from some shows when I helped put on games for people to try wargaming I don’t think I’ve ever played a game at a show.

    Buying has been mail order, shows and now online.

     

     

    #75082
    Norm S
    Participant

    We are a small hobby, I appreciate ANY hobby high street presence. It is good for our exposure to a wider public audience and it gives me a hobby related place to be in. I visit and buy something from any store that I come across, even if it is only brushes and paint. I want to see them survive and carry on giving local employment.

    My own local store (10 miles) is a new business, they have a playing area, people use it and if I want something that they don’t stock, they will order it for me. I get the impression business, like most retails, is tough for them. I would rather have a game store on my high street than not have one.

    I like photography and I like a real camera store to visit and they are getting as rare as hobby shops,  the two things are comparable. Stopping the damage that the internet is doing to the high street is like Cnut trying to stop the tide. They are two different business models and a business on the high street these days needs to be pretty much internet proof. All four of the independent stores that I can visit (within 30 miles) have an internet sales element to their bricks and mortar business.

    I drive to three other stores, which are a fair bit away from me, but just being in those stores and having a mooch has a value of its own to me, it is not always about pounds, shillings and pence, camera shops hold the same attraction to me. I do have a relationship with the staff.

    I will weep if / when they close and turn into charity / vaping outlets instead!

    I go to several shows a year and will typically travel 100 miles to get to one. I love that immersion in all the hobby stuff. I have favourite traders and I support them, I want these shows to survive. I am okay with part of my hobby expenditure solely going to that objective.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by Norm S.
    #75084
    Victoria Dickson
    Participant

    I can’t imagine any local store having enough space to stock all the figure ranges I might be interested in.  Shops are  more a board game thing for me, I am far more likely to be tempted to buy a game if I can hold it in my hands and feel the weight of the box.  Also there is more chance of seeing a game I didn’t know existed that appeals to me, figure purchases are more a case of knowing what I want and finding out who makes them.

    Can’t say I’d ever want to play a game in a store either, to be honest.

    What I really want locally is model shops where I can get paint and other supplies I run out of in the middle of a project, fortunately there are a couple of them within walking distance of my home so I’m happy. 🙂

    #75085
    kyoteblue
    Participant

    FLGS in the USA are few and far between, I am very lucky that I have 2 of them now. There is a new trend of Game parlors here, that sell or rent board games for friend and family play.  As for the death of the hobby, as we know it, that has been lamented since I got into the hobby 40+ years ago.

    #75088

    US Game stores and experience are a mixed bag.  I have several in my area but most only carry the really mainstream/high gloss products.  There are two (2!) within a mile of each other.  One makes lots of money off of cards/comics/boardgames.  Plenty of tournament play to be had in the game store and yes.  If you are so inclined, they have a wall of GW products.  The other, is the same store that I used to buy from when I was 12.  I am 52 now.  It survives because the company actually owns the property the store is in.  that has to be a HUGE weight removed from the store’s bottom line.

    There is another shop that has actually morphed a couple of times from board games to all card games.  Apparently, card games keep a store afloat.  The best game store I was ever in was The Game Parlor in Chantilly, VA.  They closed up a year or so ago.  The couple thought it was time t move on.  I don’t think they were in any kind of financial trouble but I don’t think their business was growing either.   It boasted 4 tables for miniature gaming as well as many tables for card/board games.

    Huzzah Hobbies seems to fill that niche now but, again, it is still catering to the high gloss games as those are what sells.  There is a large room for card and board games.

    What does this all mean to me?  Well not much.  Most of my gaming is and always has been in a basement of one of my friend’s houses.  Mostly I game with folks I know well rather than the random person at the shop…though I am always open to make new friends.  FLGS can stay open or close up.  It really doesn’t affect my gaming.  If I see something in one that I want, I will spend the money…usually a few dollars more than say Amazon.  But that does not really matter to me unless the price is too much.

     

    John

    "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."

    --Abraham Lincoln

    #75131
    Phil Dutré
    Participant

    It all depends … over the years I’ve seen gamestores that are simply selling product and nothing more, and I’ve seen gamestores that are clubhouses disguised as a store, and all possible variants inbetween.

    At its best, a gamestore acts as the focal point for the local gaming community: the place you go to to meet other gamers, to have a chat, to discover the new stuff, to hang out a bit, to play games, and buy a few things now and then. At its worst, it only offers stuff you can as easily order online and has a storekeeper that doesn’t know anything about the games he sells.

    Although I don’t “hang out” in the FLGS anymore, whenever I go in to buy a few things, I still see youngsters there playing games and do all the things I did many years ago. The context might have changed, but the social aspect will not. People still want to have a place where they can gather and meet fellow hobbyists.

    But gamers should also fulfill their part of the social contract. You can’t have a local gamestore to hang out and then buy your stuff online. That’s simply rude.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by Phil Dutré.
    • This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by Phil Dutré.

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    #75147

    Having been involved in the ownership/operation of two FLGS, I can tell you that the Internet has definitely had a negative effect on them. All retail has experienced a technological sea change. Niche retailers, like hobby shops, used book stores, camera shops, even mom & pop electronics outlets, have taken the hit. The fact is that if niche merchandise is widely available, the necessity of doing business with the only game in town is greatly decreased. The competition for discretionary funds greatly increases and it can be a death knell for the FLGS if the on-line outlets can offer products at a lower price point. The antidote is to create demand through marketing and developing a loyal customer base.

     
    Most game stores in the US are simple operations (often more of a hobby than a business) operating on very tight margins. They simply don’t dedicate funds for marketing. They rely upon the marketing of the manufacturers and that’s why you so often see the ‘shiny’ products on the shelf. Manufacturer marketing (often on-line) has created the demand for specific products—you can sell the product without creating the demand yourself and maybe not even having much of an interest in the product. That’s very appealing to a retailer.

     
    Creating a loyal customer base can be tricky, too. Generally, this comes down to running or sponsoring games run in the shop to get casual customers interested in new things. But as Victoria infers above, the variety of games and figures is so broad, it’s difficult to hit the target, to stock and support just that period or genre that hits the customer’s sweet spot (note you have to satisfy the customer, not the owner!). If you choose wrongly and can’t create the demand, you’ve tied up your funds in dead inventory. Or conversely (and perversely) you get it right and suddenly you’re supporting a niche within a niche to the exclusion of customers with other interests—and frankly they have no qualms about ordering on-line because you’re clearly not supporting them by stocking what interests them. It’s a trapeze act.

     
    Ultimately, I found that as the Internet grew we wound up directly competing against the manufacturers to sell their product. An example: years ago customer had come in to place a $400 order. I had a good relationship with the customer, we had similar interests and he was even planning (and eventually did) run games using the figures in the store. He was one of our loyal customers who was helping to build a good customer base (and I think we offered a 10% discount for the size of the order). Because of the Internet we both knew that the manufacturer’s line was continuing to grow. Once he got home he contacted the manufacturer to inquire about the upcoming releases. The manufacturer, getting wind of his order, then offered him a 40% discount (which is the same discount they offered retailers) if he would place the order directly with them—which of course he did! That company now routinely offers such a discount to on-line customers. I have never personally purchased any of that company’s product since that day even though I’ve been out of the FLGS for many years. Of course, I now recognize that sales of niche items has moved away from retailers and towards the manufacturer. But to this day, 10 years later, that event still irritates me.

     

     

    To the OP: I do believe that in the US the FLGS will become even more rare than they are today. But that’s probably more of a return to normalcy. There were almost no gaming dedicated stores until the 1980s. I don’t think the demise of gaming stores will affect the state of gaming much. In fact, a lot of the socializing and communicating that made for a good gaming shop is easily replaced with on-line fora and blogs. It’s not disappearing; just as retail has shifted away from the FLGS, so has the socializing.

    Self taught, persistently behind the times, never up to date. AKA ~ jeff
    More verbosity: http://petiteguerre.blogspot.com/

    #75152
    Mike
    Keymaster

    I used to work for a chain of independent games stores.
    I have a suspicion that they were kept afloat by the fact we opened MTG boosters and sold the rares, and that the stores were owned by a bigger parent company who were a distributor for games to other independent games stores across the UK.

    Lucrative it was not.

    The flagship store was very accommodating and had a largish table down the back where people played games, mostly CCG and trusted regulars would often pop the kettle on and go on sarnie runs at lunch time.

    Suffered from the stereotypical smells though.

    All in all they were happy days.
    Oh it was mostly Roleplaying games, and CCGs, with miniatures mostly aimed at skirmish and RPGs.
    Not so much in the way of massed battle wargames.

    #75165
    durecellrabbit
    Participant

    I don’t really have a local gaming store. There is GW and independent store in a nearby city but when a return bus ticket costs more than the courier postage needed when buying spray cans and fuel + parking costs more than ordinary postage it’s hard to consider them local. Of course they also suffer from not stocking products that suit my niche interests except for when I go through periods of enthusiasm for 40k.

     

    #75178
    Matthew Hipkin
    Participant

    FFS! I hate it when the you write a long post and then the internet eats it.

    #75179
    Matthew Hipkin
    Participant

    When I first got into war games (via RPG) 30 years ago growing up in Norwich I was lucky enough to have a ‘proper’ games shop in my city called The Games Room, imaginative huh? It sold a wide range of metal miniatures, RPG, war games, and board games. It was a beautiful little place in a Tudor period terrace on a cobbled Street. There was another I used to visit in Ipswich when visiting my grandparents on holidays called War and Peace. The Games Room is still there, War and Peace isn’t.

    I am lucky enough to have three FLGS in Oxford (and a Games Workshop).

    One is a licensed games cafe (http://www.thirstymeeples.co.uk) so you can have cake and a pint while playing one of many board games from their extensive library. They also hold regular tournaments for CCG and miniature games like X-Wing. They don’t have room for mass battle games like Kings of War.

    The second, my preferred outlet (https://www.gameskeeper.co.uk) has been there for donkeys years. They stock a wide range of board games, CCG, and miniature games. They also sell a range of acrylic paints, I don’t know which brand, but they come in glass screw top pots! The place is tiny, ten customers and it’s packed tiny, so doesn’t have room for games tables.

    The third (http://www.hoylesonline.com) is another board games outlet. They used to sell some GW stuff, but I haven’t been in there for years so I have no idea what they stock now.

    #75188
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    Is that the one on Elm Hill in Norwich? Stumbled across it in the early 80s with my then fiancée who was doing some research in Norfolk on John Sell Cottman for a degree. I bought about 40 (then) modern warships (Wonder why we got divorced?). I still have them in the attic (the ships not my ex wife).

    I went in about 15 years later with another girlfriend on the way to a wargames show (in an old church?) where I bought my first Gripping Beast figures (first incarnation). (That didn’t last either – girlfriend, not Gripping Beast).

    It was still there a few years ago. I don’t know if it has survived the full heat of the internet attack but I hope so.

    I’m not against bricks and mortar (concrete and steel? Half timber? Wattle and daub?) games shops at all, but they are not generally convenient for people who don’t live in cities,  and cities are the only venues where there is a chance to get sufficient footfall to survive  (Top estimate for the population of my metropolis is 11,000; it can’t sustain a greengrocers, never mind a wargames shop).

    This isn’t all an internet thing either. As Autodidact-O-Saurus experienced (and I sympathise with his sense of injustice) manufacturers have always had a difficult relationship with retail in wargaming. Why offer massive discounts to retailers when you can sell direct at shows (in the UK at any rate) or by mail order? The internet has exacerbated things no doubt – you have pictures of ranges, supporting video and tutorials for rules and boardgames – but it has always been problematic, for all the reasons people have pointed out.

    #75193
    Matthew Hipkin
    Participant

    It was indeed the shop on Elm Hill.

    I tend to visit the local shops or go into the city if I want to buy anything, not just games stuff, as I prefer to support local businesses.

    However with the exception of food, I invariably end up buying online after being told by said shops “there’s no demand for it”, “if it’s not on the shelf we don’t have it”, “we can order it in”, or “have you tried our click and collect service?”

    #75200
    willz
    Participant

    Where I live in Devon, the nearest model /gaming shop is in Plymouth 12 miles away, it has a cross selection of wargame items.  I try to support but as so eloquently mentioned in previous post it is about the price of things.  As like most wargamers I want a particular item, the internet does provide for this very well.  I do try to buy my wargame items from wargame show and shops but certainly at times in model shops the price of some items I feel is prohibitive.

    I thinks as wargamers we try to buy our modelling / wargaming items at the lowest price we can, for me I tend to buy my paints from garden centres or hobby craft and then only when they have sales on.  It must be very hard to run an internet wargaming based business and even harder to run a high street shop selling wargaming products, what do you stock?  I try to visit and shop in local hobby shops but it is the price of items for me.

    #75204
    Matthew Hipkin
    Participant

    I thinks as wargamers we try to buy our modelling / wargaming items at the lowest price we can, for me I tend to buy my paints from garden centres or hobby craft and then only when they have sales on. It must be very hard to run an internet wargaming based business and even harder to run a high street shop selling wargaming products, what do you stock? I try to visit and shop in local hobby shops but it is the price of items for me.

    I’m usually happy to pay a little over the Internet price to obtain something locally, I consider it worth paying a premium for immediate gratification.

    #75206
    Mike
    Keymaster

    I’m usually happy to pay a little over the Internet price to obtain something locally, I consider it worth paying a premium for immediate gratification.

    me too.

    #75207
    Chris Pringle
    Participant

    I am lucky enough to have three FLGS in Oxford (and a Games Workshop).

    Hi Matthew, have we ever seen you at Oxford Wargames Society in Wolvercote?

    http://www.oxfordwargamessociety.org.uk/index.html

     

    #75208
    Matthew Hipkin
    Participant

    I don’t have a car, and it’s a long walk from Temple Cowley 😋

    #75210
    Chris Pringle
    Participant

    I don’t have a car, and it’s a long walk from Temple Cowley 😋

    True! Though one of our lot regularly buses it from the Slade. So where do you get your gaming action, then, and what games/conflicts etc are you into?

    Chris

    #75213
    Matthew Hipkin
    Participant

    I don’t want to hijack this thread, are you on a Facebook?

     

    #75214
    Chris Pringle
    Participant

    No, sorry. Try emailing me at bbbchrisp

    At

    yahoo.co.uk

    #75230
    willz
    Participant

    I thinks as wargamers we try to buy our modelling / wargaming items at the lowest price we can, for me I tend to buy my paints from garden centres or hobby craft and then only when they have sales on. It must be very hard to run an internet wargaming based business and even harder to run a high street shop selling wargaming products, what do you stock? I try to visit and shop in local hobby shops but it is the price of items for me.

    I’m usually happy to pay a little over the Internet price to obtain something locally, I consider it worth paying a premium for immediate gratification.

    Please don’t get me wrong I do go for instant gratification on modelling / wargaming products at my local hobby shops and try my best to support them .  The trouble with local shops is at times they don’t stock what I want or need.  That’s not a criticism on the shops they can’t stock everything and we wargamers are an ecliptic bunch.

    #75234
    Noel
    Participant

    In the US, many hobby shops double as the local club.

    A lot of their retail space is given up to house tables for playing and they often make just as much from selling food as they do games.

    They primarily cater to miniatures and card gamers.  Sometimes they serve as sort of older child day care centers.

    There is a new trend of opening gaming cafes, which basically combine two struggling business models into one.

    #75237
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    Don’t worry chaps – brain finally kicked in – I was reading the other thread that sparked this – stand down have a cup of tea.

    As you were.

    (Sorry I forgot where I read something – it’a been a long day – kids on half term and all that.)

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by Guy Farrish.
    • This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by Guy Farrish.
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