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Subject: Moving to Seattle... questions rss

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Josh

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Howdy everyone,

I've recently accepted an offer to work in Seattle for a year starting next August... as an East-Coaster all my life, I have no idea what to expect, outside of an adventure

I was hoping that, in preparation for my move, some people might be able to kindly answer a few gaming questions I have in regards to Seattle.

First, where are the best board game stores located (keep in mind that I don't know the layout of the city yet)? My work is located in the downtown area, and I'm thinking about living nearby (expensive, but okay for a year).

Second, is there a healthy community for all types of games? I tend to prefer heavier games (TI3, Roads and Boats, etc), and also might be interested in delving into more wargaming.

Third, is there a strong CCG/TCG community for any particular game(s)? I used to play SWCCG competitively many years ago, and have recently been tempted to start playing A Game of Thrones in light of the new LCG format... but if no one plays in Seattle, that kind of kills any interest I might have.

Any help, either with these questions or any general tidbits about living in Seattle, are greatly appreciated!
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Mike Frantz
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Hopefully some natives will come answer, but I lived in the area for years. Seattle has awful public transit, so if you work downtown, living downtown would be an expensive luxury that might totally be worth it. However, it's a gaming wasteland downtown. The nearest "good" game store that I know of would be Blue Highway Games (http://bluehighwaygames.com/default.aspx). They've recently started supporting MtG and their event calendar is looking pretty full. They are located in the Queen Anne area which is a bit north of downtown. Gary's games is even further north in Greenwood. I don't think they do a lot of events, but they do have a fairly extensive selection. Across Lake Washington from Seattle is what they call the "Eastside." Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland. There are a lot more game stores over there...Genesis Games and Gizmos (Redmond), Oroboros (Bellevue), Uncles Games (Redmond and Bellvue).

The big game club is the Metro Seattle Gamers (http://www.dragonflight.org/index.php?page=16). They used to own a house, but I now I think it's some space in a business center.

Seattle is a little odd in that two biggies are located there (Wizards of the Coast and Privateer Press), but for all that the game scene just isn't like it is in some other areas (Ohio, Boston, Bay Area). Neat city though.
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Eric Franklin
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There's a Seattle Guild - http://www.boardgamegeek.com/guild/42 - there is a thread listing a number of local game stores, and every week threads go up listing game groups, times, etc.

We have a number of good game stores locally, as well as a lot of good gamers.

As far as TCG's: Wizards of the Coast is local, so Magic is big. Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh are huge for the younger crowd. It may be different in Seattle Proper, but those are the only three collectible card games I see played regularly.

Eric
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Brad Miller
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Blue Highway Games on Queen Anne, just north of downtown, very good selection, high retail prices, nice gaming area.

Berserk Games - Phinney Ridge, little bit north of Queen Anne. More of an internet business. they buy old Magic cards and the like. Nearly online prices, good selection.

Gary Game's - Greenwood, 15 blocks north of Berserk Games. Good selection, more of your standard game store, with all the good and bad that that typically represents. RPG and CCG also spoken here.

Math n' Stuff in Maple leaf also has games, and I'm sure there are others. Eastside has Genesis and Uncle's in Redmond, both of which host game nights, (Tues & Friday respectively).



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Jeremy Louzao
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Seattle resident here.

There's also First Pick Games, in the Wallingford/Fremont area. Lot's of ccg play there, including A Game of Thrones LCG (which I also will be playing when the core set releases!).

Games and Gizmos in Redmond is great for miniatures games, Magic, Board Game Night on Tuesdays, and the new privateer press game, Monsterpocalypse (which I also play).

I second what folks say about Berserk Games and Gary's. They are both located very close to each other, and not too far from First Pick.

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Marc Guy

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I'm from the Redmond area so I don't know much of the Seattle downtown scene. Good choice on living and working on the same side of lake Washington though... crossing the bridges at rush hour is killer, but I digress. I found a lot of good shops in the area myself. Uncles Games has a few shops on my side of the lake. Gizmo games is nice for miniatures and they have a several gaming tables. I new place called Ernies Games opened up in Bothell that has a good mix of board games and minis. Now, I know that these aren't *in* Seattle, but they are all within about 20 minutes. My real point is that I've been able to find a lot of shops around the area that I like and originally coming from the mid-west where the nearest game shop is hours away was great for me. One last thing that I think you might enjoy is that Seattle is the home of PAX (the Penny Arcade Expo). This is mostly a video game convention but has enough board game material to make it worth the price of admission (heck, it's where I picked up my early copy of Battle Star Galactic - The Board Game *ROCK*).
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Caleb
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Windopaene wrote:

Gary Game's - Greenwood, 15 blocks north of Berserk Games. Good selection, more of your standard game store, with all the good and bad that that typically represents. RPG and CCG also spoken here.

It's also worth noting that Gary's has a small section in the side of the store for used games. There's typically not much there, but occasionally something halfway decent that (I'm assuming) he's bought on the internet or gotten some other way. I got Res Publica in that section for $5 once.
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Dan Owsen
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I live on the east side, but it feels like there are a lot of gamers in the area, and opportunities to game.

For more info about Metro Seattle Gamers, go to www.dragonflight.org. The club now has a space north of Seattle and it's pretty nice.

There are a lot of meet-ups in the area, and also several conventions. In addition to Dragonflight in the fall we also have Conquest NW in January (www.conquestnw.com).
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Tim K.
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Join the Seattle BGG guild:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/guild/42

Local Brick & Mortar Stores
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/170837
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John Sheppard
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I live in Bellevue, which I would say is 10-15 minutes East of Seattle. If this is the area you end up living in, I'd also say Uncles games is good. The Crossroads store (part of Bellevue) is in Crossroads mall, which is an unusual place. Imagine a giant community center that is also a mall. There are a million tables and a very diverse group of gamers. They have a giant chess board and a lot of chess players. Uncles holds tournaments and many different kinds of 'game night' (family, Magic, other ccg/mini's, Euro-game night, and so on). Worth checking if you are in the area.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=crossroads+...
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Josh Matthews
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I've been to Gary's and Berserk Games just north of Seattle. They're both great stores.
Gary's has one of EVERYTHING but games are not organized and it's a bit claustrophobic in there.
Berserk Games is just north of Gary's and has a very clean store-front and has the "one-size-fits-all" games (i.e. the more common big box games from Rio Grande and Spiel winners) but the staff is knowledgable and will let you browse Boardgamegeek while in the store if you need help making decisions.
If you don't mind driving a bit... Uncle's Games is in the Redmond Town Center. The staff here was knowledgable and friendly. They also have a HUGE variety of games and will willingly order games for you if they don't have it in stock. Additionally, they have tables in the back for gaming and frequently host gaming events. Every Friday night after 9pm they offer 50% off a boardgame if you stay and play one!
Lastly, the Game Matrix, in Tacoma, is an excellent store for wargaming and CCG games. They have an amazing selection of miniatures, manuals, games, novelties and accesories. They also have hard-to-find games, and a huge selection of boardgames. They also reserve nearly half the shop space for gaming tables and frequently host gaming events and competitions (especially CCG and wargame events). In fact, they're hosting a New Year's Eve game night going dusk till dawn and are providing free food and beverages (the store owner deep fries turkeys) and says everyone is welcome for as long as they like to stay. This is a very cool store as long as you don't mind the piercings and tattoos of several disillusioned teenage regulars
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Nathan Beeler
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I will also add I'm aware of many private game groups, none of which I am the host of so I can't personally invite you to. But if you ask around the gamers here, you will probably find plenty of homes to play in.
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Daniel Chen
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chuckles2000 wrote:
Seattle has awful public transit, so if you work downtown, living downtown would be an expensive luxury that might totally be worth it.

I would have to totally disagree with the comment about public transit. I think the bus system in Seattle is awesome. I lived in Seattle for 6 years during graduate school. And now I work in Tacoma, and live in Federal Way. My wife commutes up to Seattle via bus. So living downtown isn't necessarily a must. (I would actually almost recommend living up north of Seattle - Northgate, Maple Leaf). Great 20-30 min. bus commutes downtown for work. And close enough to Cardhaus games to buy games cheaply by going to their store. And Cardhaus is actually heavily in the CCG business and I'm sure would know more about the CCG scene.

There's also these two threads in the Seattle Guild page:
http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/170837
http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/296409
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Joe Lott
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Just a bit out of the way, in Tacoma, there is a great store called the Game Matrix, that's my native home. (it's actually in Lakewood, a bit of a way from Seattle, but a nice place to game none the less.)
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Daniel Carew
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I am currently managing a brand new game store in the Greenlake/Aurora area, 7509 Aurora Ave N, to be speicifc. The name is Greenlake Games, oddly enough. We have a growing selection and we run game nights every Wednesday starting at around 6:30 P.M.. Depending on where exactly you end up downtown, it should be rather accessible for you.
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Thaadd Powell
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Seriously, if you can swing it, and you are there in time, look into attending Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) convention. While there is a strong focus on electronic gaming, it had one of the better open board gaming sections I have ever seen at a convention.

A free, large, well stocked boardgame library with tables scattered about all over the place to play. Some minis terrain, some smaller rooms for rpg or whatnot... Moreover, everyone just seemed so nice, and friendly. Pretty sure alot of the gamers there were fairly new to the games (rulebooks in hand, they were sorting things out!) but I did not see stressy faces or frustration.

I really wish I had found it earlier in the convention! I am going to try hard to beg my way back next year with work. (Also, the food in Seattle rocks. I am jealous of people who can get good....fresh.... seafood!)
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Charlie Sheppard
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Speaking of conventions, we have two great cons every year on the east side. One is Dragonflight, held in August and the other is ConquestNW held in February. Both draw significant numbers of gamers, of all types, and vendors as well. There's also BottosCon which started just last year, held in November (this weekend in fact!) in Vancouver, but it's focus is almost exclusively wargames.

Thaadd wrote:
Seriously, if you can swing it, and you are there in time, look into attending Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) convention. While there is a strong focus on electronic gaming, it had one of the better open board gaming sections I have ever seen at a convention.

A free, large, well stocked boardgame library with tables scattered about all over the place to play. Some minis terrain, some smaller rooms for rpg or whatnot... Moreover, everyone just seemed so nice, and friendly. Pretty sure alot of the gamers there were fairly new to the games (rulebooks in hand, they were sorting things out!) but I did not see stressy faces or frustration.

I really wish I had found it earlier in the convention! I am going to try hard to beg my way back next year with work. (Also, the food in Seattle rocks. I am jealous of people who can get good....fresh.... seafood!)
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Michael Sosa
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I'm in a similar situation to you in that I've been working on a project in Seattle for the last couple of months, ending soon unfortunately. I was staying in Queen Anne neighborhood, which is just north of downtown Seattle, and walking, using the bus, or taking a taxi to work in the morning (1.5 miles away). There are a lot of nice condominium buildins near downtown Seattle, many of them are advertising furnished apartments month to month. That is probably a better deal than paying $150 a night for hotel!

Anyways, there does not appear to be a shortage of gamers here. There is a a group of gamers that meets by Queen Anne on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Its an official not for profit company actually, got to pay $25 a month to join but they do have their own office / playing space and I've enjoyed playing there often. Their website is around here somewhere! Also try Meetup.com for a couple of other Seattle boardgaming groups.

I don't think you will have difficulty finding opponents for heavier games here.
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Martin Stever
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Wampa8jedi wrote:
First, where are the best board game stores located (keep in mind that I don't know the layout of the city yet)? My work is located in the downtown area, and I'm thinking about living nearby (expensive, but okay for a year).

There are no good game stores downtown. Your best bargain for living downtown is to look at leasing a condo for a year. Seattle has a really condo glut right now, so there are many buildings looking to rent units until the real estate market rebounds.

Wampa8jedi wrote:
Second, is there a healthy community for all types of games? I tend to prefer heavier games (TI3, Roads and Boats, etc), and also might be interested in delving into more wargaming.

Yes, between Metro Seattle Gamers, the game stores, Meetup, Yahoo groups, and the conventions there is a healthy community.

Wampa8jedi wrote:
Third, is there a strong CCG/TCG community for any particular game(s)? I used to play SWCCG competitively many years ago, and have recently been tempted to start playing A Game of Thrones in light of the new LCG format... but if no one plays in Seattle, that kind of kills any interest I might have.

You can find pretty much anything here. I recommend checking out Metro Seattle Gamers. MSG has both a web page and a Yahoo Group:

http://www.dragonflight.org/index.php?page=16

http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/Dragonflight-MSG/
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Rob Bottos
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Re:BottosCon... questions
While BottosCon had a mostly wargames theme it's very first year, this year saw some new additions. We had John Westra from The Trumpeters who ran a few sessions of Check Your Six, a miniatures air combat game that was well received. Jeff Christensen ran a game of Twilight Imperium. Dave Adams, of Dragonflight fame, ran several Euro's and his science fiction game - similar to Civilization, was quite popular. Anthony Santiago ran a game of Fury of Dracula which I really enjoyed learning to play. While BottosCon will always have a wargame theme, all types of boardgames are welcome and encouraged. The goal is to have fun, and hopefully get new people into our hobby. This year's BottosCon is slated for the weekend of November 6-8, 2009. If you're from south of the border this is a great opportunity to see Vancouver and the home of the 2010 Olympics.
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Ted Groth
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TrojanDan wrote:
chuckles2000 wrote:
Seattle has awful public transit, so if you work downtown, living downtown would be an expensive luxury that might totally be worth it.
I would have to totally disagree with the comment about public transit. I think the bus system in Seattle is awesome. I lived in Seattle for 6 years during graduate school. And now I work in Tacoma, and live in Federal Way.
This is going to be a matter of perspective. Seattle has more public transit options than Tacoma, and far more than Federal Way.

But the original post was from an East Coaster. Where is he from? Boston? New York? DC? Atlanta? If he is from the area around any of those cities, he is familiar with the flaws in their transit systems, but he will consider the Seattle transit systems inferior. The system is improving, but it will take time.

I've lived in Olympia WA for 10 years now, and I visit Seattle often enough, but I don't work there. Before I moved here, I lived in the suburbs south of Boston. The transit system in Boston was old and stodgy at the time, but it worked! I could take a commuter train into the city all day and evening any day of the week, and then travel to any area of the city on the local subway/transit system.

Before that I lived north of New York City. There commuter trains run in and out of the city in all directions all the time, Subways are all over, and busses everywhere. The subway system is dirty and sometimes a bit scary to a native midwesterner, but again, it works. My sister lived in Manhattan at the time, so I visited the city often but I never drove into Manhattan. Public Transit was always far more convienient

Seattle only has commuter trains leading in from the North and South in the morning, and out in the evening, only at the major commute times, and only Monday through Friday. Sometimes there will be trains for the Seahawks & Mariners home games too. I've taken the train from Tacoma to Seattle a few times, but usually I have to drive. I miss being able to catch a local train into the city on the weekend for some sightseeing, without the hassle of city driving and parking.

There is improvement in Seattle. In a couple of years it should be possible to take light rail from the Airport to downtown, like you can in Atlanta (or Cleveland, near where I grew up) but that won't be quite in time for the OP to use it during the one-year assignment. There is also a short new street car line from downtown to the south end of Lake Union, operating now. The famed Monorail is fun, but it is also only a short run, & the two end stop locations are not the most practical for residents, really just set up for tourists, it seems to me.

Besides the public transit issues though, Seattle is a great location! The Pacific Northwest is beautiful. Plan on spending free time on the water or getting away to the mountains, hiking in summer and skiing in winter. Yes it rains, a lot in the winter, and even snows a little (more this year than usual) but spring lasts a much, much longer time here than it does on the east coast and is very beautiful, and the summers are actually quite dry, and wonderfully mild. Enjoy!

I can't help you with game stores. or game groups We have a couple stores in Olympia, and our own game guild here on BGG, but the references others have given for the Seattle area will probably help you more.
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Shane Laws
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Hello all, first post...pop.

One place that I feel is one of the better game shops around the Puget Sound has yet(as far as I can tell) to be mentioned:

American Eagles Hobby is a superb place to find new and old(some VERY old) games of all types. I was there ysterday and saw 2 copies of the Chieftain expansion for the Assualt/Boots and Saddles series by GDW. These were in shrink, brand new. That expansion is over 20years old, but there they sit.

I also found a first run of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles RPG core rulebook. Again, brand new. They have quite a good selection of used games as well. Go check it out. Oh, if you like plastic models, leave your wallet at home. The place has more than any store I have ever seen or heard about.

Welcome to Seattle! We got it all, from Jimi Hendrix to Bruce Lee!
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Abraham Drucker
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jzerem_zao wrote:
Seattle resident here.

There's also First Pick Games, in the Wallingford/Fremont area. Lot's of ccg play there, including A Game of Thrones LCG (which I also will be playing when the core set releases!).

First pick games is basically a storefront for CCG game lovers. It's a room with tables, and that's about it, except to say that those tables are always full of avid game players.

It has a small inventory of board games for sale, but what they lack in inventory they more than make up for in price. The place seems to sell games as a courtesy, which means that they basically decide what sounds like a good price for the game and charges that. If I recall correctly, Agricola wasn't the $70 every other game store charges, but was around 45 or 50.

I don't live in seattle, but I thought it was a great store.
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Robert
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Martin said "There are no good game stores downtown."

OK, I must chime in as a resident of Belltown (which is about as downtown as you can get in Seattle). Blue Highway games is about one mile from the Central Business District on the top of Queen Anne Hill. The Dragon's Toybox is located in the Pike Place Market. Magic Mouse toys is located in Pioneer Square (which WAS the Central Business District). Now, of the three, only Blue Highway could be considered a true "game store", but all of them have a decent selection of the current Eurogames, and they are all located within a mile of downtown.

Blue highway also has regular gaming nights on Fridays and Saturdays from 7pm to 11pm along with a huge games library for public use.

-Escher
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