By Matthew O’Toole,
Domestic News Writer
We live in a day of technology so advanced that we can speak to someone across the globe with the push of a button. Television and film dominate many a person’s hours of relaxation, and kids have turned to video games far more often than physical toys or books. While not bad per say, the day to day life of a human being is increasingly involved or beset by reliance on technology for both work and entertainment. In doing so, the current generation is at risk of being far less social than previous generations due to the ease and convenience of simply texting a person or talking to them via Skype. While helpful for friends or co-workers who live far away, it nevertheless weakens a person’s sociability when compared to face to face contact.
It is due to this domination of advanced technology that the tried and true tabletop game remains a great way to not only get a bunch of friends or family members together to have fun, but invites more ingenuity and imagination as well. Tabletop games range from the simple to the complex.
Card games such as Uno are family favorites, while poker is the premier form of money earning for many a gambler. Many children start off playing board games at a young age, and thus, memories of figuring out who the murderer was in Clue or bankrupting their beloved cousin out of house and home in Monopoly are fondly remembered with laughter and excitement for years to come. Young adults and older players may take a turn down a road of more complex games. Role-playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons are still as popular as they were on release thirty plus years ago, and Warhammer 40,000 is a both a popular modeling hobby and wargame for players of various personalities and tastes.
Especially in regards to the more complex tabletop games, games and hobby stores, affectionately known as “friendly local game stores,” or “FLGS,” reign supreme for gathering the biggest and best groups of gamers, from friends, to veterans, and very much so to newcomers. They are able to do what a normal person cannot, which is host events for any and every type of game there is, and sell them much needed merchandise as well.
Sure, a person could go on Amazon.com and purchase a cool new role-playing game to play, but if they have no immediate friends available to play, or there is general disinterest in their social circle for it, then they might as well have never bought it all. Yes, they support the company, which is imperative to even enjoy such a luxury in the first place, but without a gathering area to play it in with gamers and hobbyists, it is all for naught. Friendly local game stories not only provide the space and players (through word of mouth or events), but they also do what every other business does with companies they purchase from – they broker deals.
A product that may be sold for one-hundred dollars on the manufacturer’s website can now suddenly become more affordable for the average gamer at twenty percent off in the store. Everybody wins in this scenario. The customer gets a bargain, the store gains a regular, and the manufacturer knows it can reliably sell its product through the store or organization. Perhaps truthfully, online retailers like Amazon can be cheaper most of the time, but Amazon does not offer the same loyalty and support as a local game store. A difference in a few dollars is meaningless when it helps maintain the foundation of a strong and tight-knit gaming community.
In this respect, Friendly local game stores will always have their doors open for those who adore imagination, innovation, and having a physical, hands on approach to what they do, rather than having their hands on a controller, mouse, or touch screen.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, April 12th print edition.
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The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Stillman Exchange publication.