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Tuesday, January 03, 2006


Retail Rule #1: Know Your Merchandise/ Blogging Rule #1: Don't Use Bad Pictures

I had a great time in the lower '48 on my Christmas vacation. Saw numerous family members who we hadn't seen in years, including my brother's children, ages 5 & 7, who we had never met.

Played plenty of cribbage and pinochle, as well as a game of Australia, For Sale, San Juan, Puerto Rico and Settlers. Played numerous games of Battle Line with my brother, as well as a game of YINSH with my father-in-law.

The highlight of the trip was a great boardgame store that I will tell you about in the Gone Gaming blog on Friday. At that store I scored a few games that my local game store has not been able to get into stock, and met several great gamers.

Know Your Merchandise

A secondary highlight was a trip to a hobby store that, a decade ago, was one of two places in town to stock good games. In years gone by, this particular store was a reliable source for the latest and best Avalon Hill and SPI games.

They no longer had a good selection of games. They had a few copies of Muppet Monopoly, Risk: 2210 and various editions of Axis and Allies. I rolled my eyes and turned to walk out, and what caught my eye? Advanced Squad Leader modules?

Yep. There on the bottom shelf, hidden behind some model-railroad accessories were two Avalon Hill ASL-modules, still in the original shrink wrap with the original price tags. I poked around a little more and found Sid Sackson's out-of-print Samarkand, and 2038 an out-of-print 18xx game. These games aren't exactly grails of collecting, but they are both games that had sparked my interest for one reason or other and command $50+ in used condition.

There were a few other out-of-print games, none of which were too exciting. As I was buying 2038 and Samarkand the clerk (who I suspect was an owner or manager) looked the games over and asked me if they were any good. I told him I hadn't had a chance to play them yet. He made some more small talk. After he had the games bagged and handed them to me I told him those particular games had been out of print for a few years and TimJim, the publisher of 2038, had been out of business for quite a while. He said, and I quote, "Huh. That doesn't surprise me. We don't sell many games." He then went on to tell me about how hard it was for the store to liquidate its role-playing games.

But the story doesn't end there. I decided to go back a couple days later to ask if they had any games stashed in the back of the store. A different guy told me, "No, all our games are on the shelf. Sorry, but we don't have a very good game selection."

What an odd moment. Here I am thinking they might have another gem stashed away and the clerk thinks I'm dissatisfied with the selection. I just left it at that. The discussion could not have progressed any further. I was talking Harleys to a Huffy guy.

Don't Use Bad Pictures
Oh well. Here it is anyway.

Speaking of highlights, how could I forget? Did I mention that I met Alex Rockwell? No, I don't believe I mentioned that.

Hope you had some happy holidays, I did,

True story: One of our local stores bought up another local store's inventory. They have one of the 18xx games still over on the shelf, with the dust from the original store STILL all over it.

I did get them to agree to a 20% discount if I paid cash, but it was still going to be upwards of $30 and I just couldn't justify it at the time.

They also have Puerto Rico on the shelf. For $37. American dollars, in America.

I wonder why they never sell anything?
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