Tuesday, May 3, 2016

FLGS Quest 2016 - The Pittsburgh Retail Scene

Phantom of the Attic Games, Oakland

When I first moved to Pittsburgh in December, 2000, I felt incredibly isolated.  Granted, my fiancee was here with me, and I was secure in a job as an accountant in a small used car dealership in Allison Park.  But for someone who defines their social life by their current role-playing game campaign, I was starting from scratch.  I immediately went on a quest to discover friendly local game stores (FLGS's, for those not "in the know"), so that I could connect with other gamers in the region.  

For all you younger gamers, you need to keep in mind that this was way before social media.  Finding a gaming group in the early 2000's could be a real challenge, especially if you didn't know anyone in the area.  Back in my day an FLGS was the only place where you could be free to talk geek for hours, and post "players wanted" fliers on staple-ridden cork boards.  This is actually how I found some of my first fellow gamers in Pittsburgh, by tearing off tiny scraps of paper and responding to an email address like I had found a lost bicycle or puppy.

If I was close to Pittsburgh I would stop by Phantom of the Attic Games in Oakland, and when I was closer to home I'd visit Bill & Walt's Hobby Shop in Greensburg.  This was back when I didn't have any kids waiting for me at home, so I could freely get lost searching through stacks of used RPG products and forgotten miniatures.  Eventually I had children, and wasn't able to frequent these stores as much.  Maybe I'd stop by a couple times per year, but only for a few minutes.  

My late twenties and early thirties were dark times indeed!

Fast forward to the present and I've found myself rediscovering some of these local treasures.  Since starting up the Norwin Game Knights in 2013, I've made it a point to go out into the community to scope out these stores, reporting back to my game-hungry club-members.  Mr. Nice Guy Games in Monroeville is my "go-to" location for Star Wars X-Wing swag, and I'm now running fairly regular Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG one-shots at Phantom of the Attic Games as part of the World Tour 2016.  

But still, I want to do to more!  

After some recent conversations with friends, I wanted to find a way to further support these establishments.  While I can't exactly frequent all of them regularly, I can still share my experiences at local FLGS's, and perhaps a few regional retailers right here on Living 4 Crits!

So consider this post the "kick-off" to FLGS Quest 2016, my attempt to write a series of blog posts showcasing as many local retailers as possible.  I plan on going out into the FLGS community to meet the owners and some of their patrons.  I'd like to learn what kinds of games these stores commonly promote, as well as those that they'd love to promote more.  Also, since I am an RPG enthusiast, I'd want to get a feel as to their feedback on the current RPG scene in 2016.  

With that in mind, I'm going to need some help.  If you are a gamer in Pennsylvania, Ohio, or West Virginia, please consider sending me the following information:

  • The name, website, and social media page for your favorite Friendly Local Game Store (if you yourself are an owner, please give me your contact information!)
  • The games you purchase from this store.
  • The games you play at this store.
  • Anything else that you'd like to say regarding your favorite FLGS.

You can post the information as comment to this blog, or email me at norwingameknights (at) gmail (dot) com.  

I'm really looking forward to this journey, and hope you can be a part of the experience!