Board Gaming Bites for New Gamers: Your Local Game Store

by Mrs Saint

I grew up playing the classic mass marketed board games like Monopoly, Clue, and Life, and to this day, I’m still impressed with my Dad’s Carrom skills. However, I’m no veteran to this hobby. In fact, I’m pretty new to the hobby board gaming community. It wasn’t until my husband and I started dating in 2017 that he introduced me to the big and beautiful world that is hobby board gaming (actually he threw me into the deep end of the pool with Arkham Horror 2e). Even three years later, I am sometimes intimidated about how much there really is to this hobby and community so I thought I would write a blog post series for anyone who is coming into the hobby and other newcomers like myself. I have so much yet to learn but I want to share some of the tips and tricks to navigating the wide ocean that is hobby board gaming that I have found along the way these past few years. Originally, I started writing this as a huge, long blog post and was like “yikes this is just as intimidating,” so I decided to make these a blog series of short posts that are easier to digest. For each Board Gaming Bites, I will cover one topic and try to keep the post to around one page in length. Let’s get started. 

Everything is digital these days and there are a slew of digital gaming resources (to be covered in future posts), but the first thing you could use the internet for is to Google your friendly local gaming store (FLGS). Now as I write this, we’re in the middle of a global pandemic, and here in the United States a lot of stores are just now reopening or still not open at all.  As such, we’ll talk about what your game stores may offer in the form of both in-person and online resources. 

One of the things I still find intimidating is the sheer volume of games that are out there. The local game stores in our area all offer a library, where you can sit down and play a game to see if you enjoy it. Considering how expensive board games can be, trying a few games at the library will give you an idea of what you like or don’t like before spending any money buying games for your own collection. If you already have a few games you enjoy, your FLGS staff should be able to show you some similar games you may want to buy. 

Some FLGSs also have one or two nights a week set aside for tabletop gaming (although right now many of these events are probably postponed indefinitely here in the States). Attending these nights is a great way to meet other gamers and become part of a community. Also, if you’ve already tapped out the entire FLGS library, you may be able to join a game that someone brought.  Or if you’re like us and you typically play at two, it can be a lot of fun to get to play some of your favorite games at higher player counts or to play some of the games you can’t play regularly because you don’t have a third or fourth player normally.  I know it can be intimidating going to a new place for the first time. I suggest you take a friend or family member who has interest in gaming or is just willing to be your wingperson for a couple of times until you decide if your FLGS game nights are for you or not. 

If your store is closed or if all events are currently canceled, there may be other ways to engage with your FLGS. Many stores run a website, social media page, have an email newsletter, or host a Discord you can join. This is a great way to network with the FLGS community even if you cannot meet up in person. I’ve seen a few of our local game stores are also hosting online gaming nights which could be another way to meet your gaming neighbors. 

We have some great local board game stores in our area. I would love to hear about your store and local community. What is your favorite event or service your FLGS offers?

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