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Sunday, July 19, 2015

"My" game stores: a New England Gaming Gazetteer

So you may have noticed I game a fair bit and I do it at a number of venues so I thought I might give you sort of a profile or maybe even a Gazetteer of the various game stores I game and shop at.  I have an affection for all of these locals but I'll try to be objective and I will invite all of the store owners and/or employees to speak up for their particular store.  I am very lucky to have so many gaming option in my area and I want to showcase these great gaming venues.

3 Trolls Games and Puzzles
Chelmsford Town Center,
7 Summer St, Chelmsford, MA 01824
(978) 250-0566
I wrote about these guys earlier this month because of the passing of Dick Kirshbaum.  Well I am happy to say that Dick's wife Lilia and Son Andy are carrying on.  There is a bit of the pause right now but generally you will find open gaming on Thursday nights, Historical games on Saturday mornings (Bolt Action and Check your 6 are frequent favorites here) and open gaming on Sunday afternoon typically you can find a variety of Fantasy and Science fiction games on Sundays.   They have a good supply of paints and supplies, Gaming stock varies but they are very helpful with orders and they have a great stock of Bones miniatures from Reaper.  They also have lots of puzzles as well as traditional and not so traditional games and fair selection of toys for kids (or so it seams to one who doesn't have kids) as well as model kits, model rockets, pine wood derby items and other hobby supplies.   In addition they have a good stock of terrain for gaming and the people here are great, Saturday morning is a bit of an older crowed but you'll find a good mix of ages and play styles.  Gaming space is limited but they do their best to make sure everyone gets the space they need.  I buy most of my paints, brushes, primer and related items here.

They are currently trying out an in store painting night on Tuesdays from 5:00 to 8:00 PM.

Rewards Program: Keep your recites $100 worth of recites gets you $10 of store credit.

The Whiz Store
122 Turnpike Road (Route 9)
Westborough, MA 01581
Readers of this Blog probably know this store by its Teddy Bear fur terrain boards.  The stand out feature of the Whiz is the terrain selection available at the store.  The owner Chris has a tremendous number of boards and three teddy bear fur covers that can be made into a single massive table if you want that.  There is a good selection of Hills, trees, bocage, buildings, fields, pretty much anything you can imagine. Robert Burke one of the Store regulars has also "donated" a large portion of his collection of buildings to the store for general use.   The gaming space takes up about a quarter of the store, some Sundays space is at a premium especially since there is always a large crowed of Magic players using part of the space.  Sunday is the open gaming day but if space is available and no events are scheduled you can game most any day.  Monday night Chris hosts a community painting day (its to far for me on a work night with traffic sadly).   The Flames of War selection is very good and there is a good mix of War Hammer, Hordes, the Fantasy flight lines and other Science fiction and fantasy games.  Chris also has a small selection of Bones figures.  The paint selection is good if you like the Games workshop lines.  Like 3 Trolls a fair portion of the store is dedicated to puzzles, games and children's toys.

Rewards Program: The Whiz has card based program that keeps track for you I believe it comes out to $10 off for every $75 you spend. The same program also sends out coupons for $5.00 to $10.00 worth of store credit on some purchase.

Hobby Bunker
33 Exchange Street
Malden, MA 02148
(781) 321-8855
This is my some time Thursday night Hang out were John M and I had first our Longstreet and then our Dux Britanniarum campaigns. Its also the one of the biggest Gaming and Hobby store in New England. Mat Murphy has the nearest thing to a gamin big box store I can imagine. They have a huge selection of pretty much every thing. Collectible Toy soldiers, books, Osprey, Flames of War, Games Workshop, saga, model kits, terrain, paint, obscure rule sets you name it they probably have it and if they don't they can probably order it. Hobby bunker has open gaming on until 10:00 PM Thursday nights, and is the home of the Boston Trained Band which gathers every Saturday about 10:00 AM and playing until whenever. There is also gaming space available on other days during regular business hours . Gaming space is in the back and it looks like your going into their office and storage space (and you sort of are) but players are welcome back there. The staff is friendly and helpful both in the store and if you find them at a convention (they attend several each year). There is a good selection of terrain available for games to use though its not as extensive or well organized as the collection at the Whiz. The store is the closest to Boston and can be reach by the Orange line if you don't have a car. They have a cool little tour you can take on line

Rewards Program: you get a card that is stamped every time you sent $10.00 or more get 10 stamps and you get $10.00 off your next purchase.

The Relentless Dragon
483 Amherst St, Nashua, NH 03063
(603) 204-5275
The New Guys. its a smaller store that I think is still seeking its identity They have good corps of X-Wing players every other Thursday night.  At least on Dedicated RPG group that games in the back, and are the home of the New Hampshire War Gamers Alliance.  They have a very good selection of board and card games, a small paint and supplies section, a cool little selection of old school RPG books and a growing selection of Bones figures by Reaper.  They are holding off on Flames of War and Games Workshop because of the initial commitment of both money and space. The New Hampshire club is a fun group and this is my regular Thursday night alternative when John M is on call.  about 1/3rd of the store is dedicated to gaming tables a significant investment of space for a new retail outfit.  I hesitate to call this a great gaming store at the moment but the potential is there.

Rewards program: None I am aware of

The Game Castle
Crossroads Mall Shopping Center, 123 Nashua Rd # 5, Londonderry, NH 03053
(603) 425-7400
In the interests of fairness I have to say that I have not been to the Game Castle in several months so things may not be as I describe them.  This store is something of a poor cousin to the others on this list.  Its a bit rundown (though in better shape than it was few years ago).  There is not much selection unless your into Games Workshop or card games. They do have flames of War but it has not been restocked in years.  They have Hordes and War-machine and get some new content.  They do have lots of gaming space and a fairly active community of players.  A historical group meets informally most Tuesday nights and its a fun group to pay with.  They have a nice selection of terrain.  Its a bit out of the way for me so I have not been playing there as often of late.  They do have a good community of gamers and Tuesday night you will find a good crowed some playing magic some painting and other playing fantasy or historical games.

Rewards program: None I am aware of

This last is a bit of an honorable mention since I have gamed there but only once. but its worth mentioning especially as they have two locations.

Battleground Games & Hobbies
1423 Bedford St, Abington, MA 02351
Phone: (781) 261-9669
25 Taunton St, Plainville, MA 02762
Phone:(508) 316-1195
As I said I have only been to the store once and that time I was in Plainville location.  I was impressed with the game space.  They had a nice if some what limited selection Games Workshop terrain the table above is a mix of store and terrain my friends brought.  The space was bright and clean with lots of RPG and board games.  X-wing was new when I visited and they had a nice selection ships.  I know they had a good selection of Games Workshops products though I don't recall any Historical miniatures.  Like a lot of shops Magic is a big part of the gaming culture. 

Rewards Program: None I am aware of. 

I hope folks will find this an interesting read and that if your traveling or living in my neck of the woods you will take a look at one or more of these great stores. If you frequent any of these stores please feel free to speak up on behalf of your favorite. Store owners please feel free to speak up for your self in the comments section and if I have details of a Rewards program or other item incorrect please let me know. 

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