Dear Game Store Owner,
I am trying to understand why you don’t regularly sponsor, support or promote diverse gaming at your establishment. Well, except for magic the Gathering and other card based games. Yes, we the gaming public, understands these games pay the bills and keep the lights on, but to the near exclusion of all other games?
Why do you carry a decent and moderately diverse selection of roleplaying games, but never take to social media or other such platforms to advertise the games GMs are running at your store? Why do you not openly seek out GMs to run games that you stock in hopes of collateral sales? Why do you not have a weekly boardgame night to promote the hundreds of game you stock on your shelves?
We’re not mind readers; we want exposure to new games and old favorites at the local level. Many of us seek out these new experiences, but not finding them at local stores turn to other avenues. Take for example the rise in local game clubs and online RPGs. These are, in many cases, a direct response to limited gaming opportunities, experiences and exposure to new products at local stores. I have found a world of great opportunities to play and experience new RPGs with folks from all over the world online. It’s an experience I would never find at your store because you don’t want to promote games outside of card games (again, we know MtG pays the bills).
In the past, you have attempted to participate in opportunities such as Free RPG Day and International Tabletop Day, but you failed to promote these events and expected people to just show up. Really? Do you lack business sense, motivation or both? Let me break this down for you! Gamers want an excuse to come to local stores. We want opportunities to meet other like-minded individuals in a friendly public location! We want to try new games regardless of what type of game it is! Lastly, we want to spend our money on games we like! Give us those opportunities so we continue to come to your store and hopefully spend our hard earned money on the products you stock.
Give us those opportunities; if you continue doing what you do, we are going to go elsewhere or even forego the local game stores altogether. Is that what you want? Customers to continue to be driven away, either into other local stores or online for all their purchases and exposure to new games!
My open letter above is not specifically directed at any one store in my local area, it is more of general frustration that many gamers experience in their local areas. Games stores are not all created equal and as consumers with money we want to spend, online sales are far to easy and cheaper than buying locally. Game stores need to give us a reason to spend our money locally! I want to support local businesses regularly, but when some (not all) make going to their stores a chore because they lack the motivation to entice diverse crowds and promote diverse gaming opportunities, why bother with them anymore?
For the record, I do openly support my local stores that make an effort to be diverse, that are willing to go the extra mile to promote the games being run in their stores, and make me feel like a valued customer.
PS. If you’re ever in the Charleston, SC area and want to meet to play a game (RPG, wargame, boardgame) hit me up! I enjoy gaming at some of the local stores!
This continues to be one of most read articles. I originally wrote the above post nearly two years ago and I still continue to see these issues pop up from time to time with my local stores. I must admit there has been a slight uptick in locally promoting various games and events on the part of the store owners-some are better at it than others.
The one area that I see that still needs lots of work and attention is the promoting of in store roleplaying games. We all know they are happening to some degree in most of the local stores, but damned if anyone knows about these games and who might be looking for players. Some of us cannot live or frequent the stores on a daily basis to keep in the know. Another area that needs attention too is boardgaming. I know this is not limited to my area, but local stores try to have boardgame nights, but they’re generally ad hoc with attention to making it run smoothly. Some stores assume you know they are having a boardgame night and therefore do not promote it on social media or elsewhere.
It’s the age of fast flowing information via social media, businesses need to catch up with the times and employee programs that can auto-post to various social media sites for them. This would go a long way in getting the information out to gamers.
As I stated above, we are not mind readers and a little communications goes a long way in fostering mutual respect and continued patronage. I hope all of my local stores continued success, but they all need to give attention to various the various things that will keep us customers coming in and shopping and playing our games there. It’s to easy to shop and play online anymore.