Monday, October 21, 2013

Places to Game or A Place to Call Home

I am lucky to be in an area to have multiple places to play whatever games I want and be with a great group of gamers.  There are some major differences between the stores and challenges they face and ways to improve.  I plan to discuss the main players in Maryland and some of my thoughts.

I am gonna break down the stores located in Maryland in no particular order.  The negatives I mention for these stores should not be considered a reason not to go to them.  They are all great places and deserve your business. 

Chuck's Comics

Games Played: M:tG and mainly GW and Privateer Press but they are up to play anything
Club: None but they have a Facebook Page
Discount: They offer 10% off of all games (including CCG) and you can pay $20 a year and get 20% off
Miniature Nights: Thursdays

Full Disclosure: I know the guys and have shopped here since I lived in Essex and collected comics.

I like the guys at Chuck's and I support them completely but they are struggling to get things off the ground.  They have a lot of competition around them and they don't have the space to game.  That being said, they are looking to expand early next year.

They occasionally run small tournaments but it is dependent mainly on Todd (SincaiN40k) to run them.  

They are an up and comer and should be used if you want to pick up mostly anything.  They will be happy to order anything as well.   

Dream Wizards

Games Played: M:tG, many board games, most table top games.
Club: Beltway Gamers
Discount: Members of the Beltway Gamers can pay $10 for 10% off Privateer Press and GW product with 20% off during sales.
Miniature Nights: Wednesdays (All miniature events are run by BWG)

They are pretty organized.  CCGs are their bread and butter but they have Wednesdays set aside for miniature night.  That is their day.  From what I have been told, you will not be able to game any other day.

The owners and staff are friendly.  They allow BWG to run killer tournaments and in turn BWG maintains a large presence here. The prize support from the store is killer.  They have the best "loser" prizes I have seen.  One example is the store gave a raffle each round of a different flyer each round.  They also give the CYBOSKULL for the biggest loser.  A tournament will be held for just the skull winners.

There are only two negatives  I have with this store.  The first is the support for game days is smaller than a lot of then a lot of other stores.  One night and that is all.   That being said the night they support is fully supported.  They also really support tournaments.  I understand they have a lot of other events and space is limited.

The second is they don't have a large selection of non-GW product on stock.  They can order anything but don't expect to show up and find a large selection of a lot of other game systems. 

Full Disclosure: I am a member of BWG and think they run a great series of events and are pretty great group. 

Titan Games and Hobbies

Games Played: M:tG, many board games, most table top games.
Discount: Not sure but I don't think so.
Miniature Nights: Everyday.  Look at their events page for exact times

This is the best store I never visited.  I actually plan on heading up here to play in the near future.  Everything I heard from them they are cool.  The one downside is they advertise tournaments really late.  I know they are on the calendar but who checks them regularly.  They usually mention it on the FB page the week of.

Looking at their schedule, they have a lot of really cool events popping up monthly.

I will update this when I visit them the end of the month.

Games and Stuff

Games Played: Everything
Discount: They have a loyalty program but I am not sure how it works.  I believe they also offer 10% off of they have to special order anything. 
Miniature Nights: Most nights but check their events page for exact details.

I know a few of the guys that work there and they love gaming.

The store actually has one of the largest (if not the largest) RPG selection.  That is not to say that their miniature gaming is slacking.  They have a great selection of goods and a very knowledgeable staff.  Everyone is friendly and willing to make sure you get what you need without making you feel like you stepped into a GW store.

While I never actually gamed here, their new space is a larger and more open.  They have a large support for Malifaux and Infinity while still supporting both GW and Privateer Press.  The one thing I noticed is that they were more than happy to inform me what days the games are being played for the two systems I was purchasing items for.

They have a number of tables setup for painting.  This is nice.  I really like this idea and is something I think is good for the hobby.

The negative I have is that they don't advertise their events very well. They use their news letter, website and Facebook but their announcements seem to come out a little too late.

Drop Zone Games

Games Played: Everything
Club: I believe Inner Circle and Ineptus Astartes
Discount: None except during tournaments and other events.
Miniature Nights: Everyday

I started visiting them pretty regularly.  It's closer to my house and has some of the best terrain and tables in the area.  Their space is huge and well maintained. And just like Games and Stuff, they have a large area to paint miniatures.

The staff is also friendly and very knowledgeable.  While their selection is not a robust as Games and Stuff, they are very knowledgeable and more than willing to share their expertise.  They are also more than willing to order anything.  I ordered a few items in order to support them and never waited more than a few days.

The events they run are great and very fun.  From tournaments to leagues, they have something going on all the time.  The one issue is the same with many stores.  They advertise them often too late.  They rely on their Facebook page and often update their calendar too late.  I will also say that they have been working to improve this and appear to be improving daily.

Others of Note

There are a few other stores that I have no real experience with but are in the area.  In Bel Air is Critical Hits.  They usually have monthly events and a seem to play all systems. Collectors Corner has a few smaller events and are located in Rosedale and Bel Air.

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