So, this week another local gaming shop had to close its doors in my area. It seems for every new one that pops up another one goes away. It’s a blow to the wargaming community in the area and it got me thinking about the first time I went into a shop to play and the reasons I continue going there.
As I’ve said before, when I began playing 40K it was among a select group of friends. I visited the two gaming shops in the area (at the time), to buy paint and the occasional model (as I bought most of my stuff online). Then one day when visiting Crossroad Games to buy something, Dave (a store employee), told me they play 40K every week on Thursday nights (think it was Thursday). At the time I had a stigma about playing at shops as I had heard so many horror stories about them online. I mean, everything you read on the internet is true, right?
Every time I went in to buy something Dave would tell me when they play. Eventually it became Wednesday for 40K night and I was intrigued. I work from home on Wednesdays, being a programmer allows me that convenience, and that particular Wednesday my wife was going to be out of town. I packed up my stuff that Wednesday, after communicating with Syko515 online about what they were doing, and headed down.
It was a ghost town. The only players there that night were Syko515,and myself. They had decided to try the BoLS campaign for the Badab War. I teamed up with Syko515 and we played against Ming and I had a great time. From that night on I’ve been going routinely every Wednesday to play 40K and I attend every monthly tournament I’m able to.
Since then the turnout on a 40K night ranges from 12-18 players. The community for 40K has grown substantially and monthly tournaments are almost always packed. The thing about playing at a shop over basement gaming is the community. Every Wednesday I get out of the house for a few hours, hang out with a bunch of guys who are cool and we play games and shoot the shit. I get to forget about the bills and life’s drama for a while and just play. I’m not saying you can’t do that with basement gaming but, as someone who did it for years, it’s not quite the same. If you’re home you still have to answer the phone, let out the dogs, do a quick favor for your significant other, etc. It just does not have that level of separation you get with leaving your home to play.
Aside from the communal aspect, there’s also the financial element of supporting your local shops. As mentioned, I bought almost everything online earlier in my gaming. Since then I buy most of my stuff at the shop. I enjoy the escape the shop provides me and that will only continue so long as the shop exists and of course that depends on money. I may not get that 35% online discount but instead I’m helping to keep the community I so enjoy alive. There’s also the fact I can walk into the store and walk out with what I need, no waiting on the arrival of my purchase.
If you’re a gamer and you’ve never been to a shop to play then go do it, you won’t regret it. It’s some of the most fun you can have with your clothes on.