Category Archives: Site

Extended Holiday hours

Just a quick note letting you all know that for the month of December, Fair Game will be open on Mondays from 11am to 7pm and Saturdays from 9am to 9pm.

 

On retail and competition

We’ve had an interesting situation crop up which in all honesty was completely unexpected. A new game store has opened up in Plainfield IL – The Wandering Dragon Game Shoppe. The owners (Laura and Kevin)  have been in to Fair Game a number of times and had discussed their desire to run a store of their own. They found a location in Plainfield (near their home) and went for it.

Cool!

The strange thing about this is I’ve had customers and friends who expressed their disappointment (dare I say anger?) that another game store has opened “so close” to Fair Game. That somehow we have ‘dibs’ on a 20 mile radius around Downers Grove and no other store should dare open within our ZOC (that’s “Zone of Control” for you non-war gamers). One person went as far as to say that our customers are being stolen!

That is UTTER NONSENSE.

Our community not only can handle more game stores, I genuinely believe it is a strong indicator of how well the game industry is doing. A good game store will not only attract gamers, but also introduce the hobby to those gamers-to-be – effectively “growing the hobby” (sorry for the business speak).

As to the customers “being stolen” comment – again, I cry BS. Fair Game doesn’t have customers based solely on geography – they are not “ours” – they do not belong to us. We attract customers due to our passion, enthusiasm and hard work. We truly love the games we carry and enjoy fostering that upon anyone that will pay attention. Our customers come because they enjoy our store, our employees and our selection. My purpose in opening Fair Game was not primarily one of business, but of community. I wanted a game store in Downers Grove so my kids and their friends would have a safe and interesting place to shop and discover. We need more gamers. After all, without them who are we going to play with?

Laura and Kevin are passionate gamers – I’ve seen that every time they come in to Fair Game. They are, frankly, perfect game store owners. I believe they will do a fantastic job of catering to the gamer and non-gamer alike; spreading the joy of socializing over a board game to experienced, and (more importantly) inexperienced (or new) gamers. They will grow a community as we have done at Fair Game – and in turn, increase the number of gamers in our region.

What on earth could be wrong about that?

–Josh

Too many choices

Obvious disclaimer: Somewhat off-topic post follows…

“Hello!WelcometoMcDonalds!WhatcanIgetforyoutoday?” says Charles, the young man standing behind the counter at one of the ubiquitous McDonald’s fast-food restaurants sprinkled throughout the world.

I’m immediately flummoxed; presented with a myriad of photographs and words, everything begins to blur into a mass of confusion. Sensing my hesitation, and possibly worried that one of the people in his queue may be upset that the ordering rate has decreased due to this customer who isn’t prepared, Charles helpfully prods me with, “doyouhaveanyquestionsonthemenuIcanhelpyouwithsir?”

I just wanted a hamburger, and a few other items for my kids as we take a break to refuel the family on a road trip.

“There are too many choices,” I state – still staring up the menu futilely. Giving in to the pressure, I muster up the nerve to just order blind, ” just give me a hamburger with mustard and ketchup only, a cheeseburger with onions only and McChicken(tm) sandwich with no Mayo.”

Tap tap tap. Tap. Tap tappity tap tap goes Charles as he enters my order into his terminal.

“Wouldyouliketoaddanyfrieswiththat?” he asks.

“Oh, yeah” – Sam likes fries, “Give me a large fry and onion rings” I announce with authority.

Tap, tappity tap, pause, “we don’t have onion rings.” flatly states Charles – picking this moment to carefully enunciate each word with the tone and meter of a person explaining something obvious to his younger (and less smart) sibling.

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Frustration in the industry

After four months (!) of being a shop owner, I’ve started to get a bit of a feel for the market, our customers,  and the “business”. Obviously, I’m no expert but the newness of the store is starting to fade and the mechanism of running it is starting to hone.

Owning a game store is,  indeed, as fun as it sounds.

One thing in particular though has me as frustrated as ever – when I have to make excuses and utter the (paraphrased) sentence, “Well, we can’t get that one right now as the game manufacturer has yet to reprint it.”

Gad I hate to say that.

Yet EVERY DAY it happens again and again. A great new game comes out,  gets a lot of good press and then disappears – sold out due to unexpected success, limited production or…some other reason.  I honestly can’t think of another example in the retail business which has this problem over, and over, and over  again. We have great games out there, produced by (relatively) small companies who apparently have adopted a “limp in” mentality in terms of production. More often than not a game manufacturer will produce just enough of a given game to make their minimum print-run requirements; not sure if the game will be a flop or a hit.  They hedge their bets.

I think this is a mistake.

The game industry community as a whole is mature enough that any company worth it’s salt should have a good handle on whether or not a new design will be a hit or not.

Dear Game Manufacturers,
Don't sell yourselves short. Trust your instincts.
If you feel that your next game is going to be a raging hit,
print the heck out of it! Go for the slam-dunk. Win the
meta-game of being the underdog who came out of nowhere and
beat the 'big guys' on their turf. In all likleyhood you
are producing games because you love them -
you know what gamers want, because you are one!

Fair Game Forum is LIVE!

Just a quick note that the forum is now LIVE – you can access it here.

For now, all new users will have to be authenticated to make posts (I’ll try and do it as quickly as possible), but everyone is allowed to read right off the bat.

Back to basics

I’ve decided to take the plunge and implement a “big boy” site management system. WordPress won the die-roll, so here we are. Bear with me for a week or so while I get things in order…

–Josh