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Subject: Boardgame stores in Chicago?? rss

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Jonathan Heuvinck
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Hi fellow geeks!!
As we are already impatiently counting down to our 'legendary' visit to Chicago next January (for the clash between the Blackhawks and the Rangers), I was wondering if any of you guys could recommend some nice boardgame stores to be found downtown in the Windy City?
I feel we're ready to fund local boardgame economy while we're there!
Thanks guys!!
 
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Abraham Drucker
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Downtown there aren't any. In fact, up until about 6 months ago, there weren't any good gaming stores in the entire city of Chicago, however have opened up recently.

http://chicagolandgames.com (northside)

http://www.cat-n-mouse.com (Wicker Park-ish)

There is a third opening but I can't find the link in the forums (I think if you dig a little harder you can find it pretty easily).

Have fun!

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David Matchen
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The third one was Black Sun Games--they're near Foster and Kedzie, if memory serves. They opened before Labor Day.
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Brad Johnson
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I realize it's not all that close to downtown, but if you've got some time for about an hour drive, you really should go to Games Plus in Mt. Prospect. (www.games-plus.com) If it's not *the* best game store I've ever been in, then I don't know what is!
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King of All Simians — Not a Mere Diplomat
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Games Plus has inventory, but that's it. It's also got an authentic old-school vibe, where the workers are unhelpful, the clientele is unwashed, and the shelves are crammed and disorganized. If you're into Magic and miniatures, it'd be better, I suppose, but as a board gamer, it's no great shakes. I've never felt the least bit welcome when I'm there, either to game or to buy. I'm glad that there are options in the city, now.
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Penny Osborn
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Chi-tag is a board game convention at the Navy Pier on Nov 22 & 23. It is open to the public and you can buy games there.

http://www.chitag.com/chitag.htm

If anyone is in the area you should check it out.
 
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Bobb Beauchamp
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Holmes! wrote:
Games Plus has inventory, but that's it. It's also got an authentic old-school vibe, where the workers are unhelpful, the clientele is unwashed, and the shelves are crammed and disorganized. If you're into Magic and miniatures, it'd be better, I suppose, but as a board gamer, it's no great shakes. I've never felt the least bit welcome when I'm there, either to game or to buy. I'm glad that there are options in the city, now.

As part of that clientele, I take offense at this opinion.

Games Plus has it's dishelved aspects of old-time Game Store with large inventory. It's also one of the best FLGS's I've seen in over 30 years of hobby gaming. The staff is very helpful on things they no about, and when they don't have personal knowledge, the admit that, but then offer what they've heard of things. The regular customers are...pretty much normal people, like me. While I've had a run in...singular...with another customer that creeped me out, it's to be expected when you go out in public. There's nothing inimicable about Games Plus that includes the kinds of things this comment suggests.

It does have a large selection of boardgames, including the full range (usually) of FFG games, more euros than I could care to mention, just about every other game currently in print and available mentioned here on the 'Geek, including a hefty selection of older OOP games from publishers long past.

It does also support a large miniature range, painting and scenery side of the hobby included, which by necessity requires a lot of shelf space, and also many CCG games.

They have a large gaming space available. Is it posh? Not at all. It's rough, unfinished, and drafty at times. In other words, pretty much exactly what you'd want and expect from a FREE gaming space. Not to mention that they have a large number of playable copies of boardgames available for your use.

For any gamer into the hobby, Games Plus would be a great place to spend an afternoon or evening.
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Dan M
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I agree with kingbobb here.

The register staff was always friendly and helpful...But I will admit the owners felt a little closed off from the customer base.

The inventory alone is worth the trip out there but only if you have a few hours to burn. I've spent many hours there just walking around looking at stuff. Every time I went there I almost never walked out with just what I intended to get. Not because they didn't have it, but because I found something else I've never seen before that caught my eye that I thought "well I may not have the chance again and FF will always have Citadels availble so I can get that later". It has almost like a used bookstore feel where stuff is roughly organized, but only by taking some time, looking at things and hunting for that rare treasure do you come away happy.

And the customers I don't agree with. Ocassionally someone would drop a bomb in an isle but I've had that happen at other retail places so nothing new there. And out of the many dozens of times I was there, I never came accross anyone who I felt I had to bathe after walking by like is implied.
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Ray
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THere a fairly active thread that people keep posting game store info in as stores come and go. It's at:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/177319


Also, some good resources to bookmark on BGG if your a gamer in the Chicago area are:

The Chicagoland Guild: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/guild/143
The Midwest forum: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/forum/23/forum/1
The Chicagoland geektags: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/tag/chicagoland


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King of All Simians — Not a Mere Diplomat
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Gosh, fellas, I'm sure that y'all're well bathed... laugh

I wasn't tryin' to impugn the scent of all regulars at the store, just trying to communicate that it's an old-school environment. If you remember what game/comic stores were like twenty years ago, it's kind of nostalgic, I suppose, but it's not an unalloyed Good Thing. Do you remember Larry's comic book store, back in the eighties/early nineties? Games Plus is rockin' the same vibe.

If you're a modern-era hobby gamer, Games Plus will make you remember why gamers have long enjoyed a bad reputation. If I get crappy, dismissive, I'd-rather-be-doing-anything-but-dealing-with-you attitudes from the hot chick behind the counter at Reckless Records, I can write it off 'cos I'm old and ugly and out of the scene. But when I get the same attitude at a board game store... I'm glad I've got other options, is all I'm sayin'.
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Jonathan Heuvinck
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Wow, you guys gave me already more reactions than I was expecting so a big "thank you" goes out to everybody who posted here!
Even though we will never be able to visit all those lovely places during just 1 weekend, I took note of each single one of them... including the amazing "Games Plus" store, who just became world famous in Belgium too now, thanks to this topic
You've been a great help, and I appreciated all your comments. Keep them coming!
Chicago, here we come...!! devil
Take care everyone.





 
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Bobb Beauchamp
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Holmes! wrote:
Gosh, fellas, I'm sure that y'all're well bathed... laugh

I wasn't tryin' to impugn the scent of all regulars at the store, just trying to communicate that it's an old-school environment. If you remember what game/comic stores were like twenty years ago, it's kind of nostalgic, I suppose, but it's not an unalloyed Good Thing. Do you remember Larry's comic book store, back in the eighties/early nineties? Games Plus is rockin' the same vibe.

If you're a modern-era hobby gamer, Games Plus will make you remember why gamers have long enjoyed a bad reputation. If I get crappy, dismissive, I'd-rather-be-doing-anything-but-dealing-with-you attitudes from the hot chick behind the counter at Reckless Records, I can write it off 'cos I'm old and ugly and out of the scene. But when I get the same attitude at a board game store... I'm glad I've got other options, is all I'm sayin'.

Is that based on a single visit, or mutiple trips? I hit GP several times a year, mostly just to window shop, and I can't really recall a single trip where I've not been asked pretty politely and professionally if I need any help. And when I do need help, I get it.

It's an old store, and is bright and neat is your thing, it's going to be a turn-off walking in. It does have somewhat of a used bookstore atmopshere to it. Sure, the GW section is neat and orderly...it pretty much has to be...but the boardgame ailes tend to look cramped and disorderly. That's not because it is, but because boardgames come in a variety of box sizes, and there's just no good way to organize them by box size. GP presents them by theme, so generally you'll find all the train games in one area, etc.

One thing GP has over just about every other FLGS I've ever been in is that it has something for every gamer. RPGs? In spades. WWII minis? A whole large wall dedicated to them, including supporting documentary books. Current production companies in discreet locations? Check...GW, PP, TFG, FFG, etc...so even if you don't ask for directions, just looking around will lead to what you're seeking.
 
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Todd Pytel
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Holmes! wrote:
Games Plus has inventory, but that's it...
That seems pretty harsh to me, as someone who has visited the store probably at least 100 times over the last 20 years. The guys at the register always ask if I need any help, answer questions if I have them, and don't get all engrossed in side conversations. And I don't find the store at all dirty or disorganized. A bit cramped perhaps - it's clear that they value a comprehensive inventory over snazzy presentation. But to me that just makes for more interesting browsing. As others have stated, it's kind of used-bookstore-like.

What Games Plus doesn't do is make a positive outreach towards boardgamers/wargamers. They never have demo copies out on the table. They never promote their boardgame night. They don't strike up any chit-chat about what you're playing and what other people are playing. It's definitely more of a place to go strictly to shop and not for any kind of community. So if that's what you're in it for, I can see being disappointed. Personally, I live too far from the shop to be a regular anyway, so I'm usually going there just for the browsing and it's great for that.
 
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King of All Simians — Not a Mere Diplomat
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kingbobb wrote:
Is that based on a single visit, or mutiple trips?
My wife's family lives in nearby Barrington, so I used to go in about every other month or so, for the past several years. I just never had the positive experience you had. Pretty much every time, it was all about standing around waiting for the guys behind the counter to finish their conversation and grudgingly take my money.

I still went there regularly, even with my misgivings and their MSRP pricing, 'cos I think it's important to support local stores, and they were, by far, the best game store in northern Illinois. I've been in enough game and comic stores that the sketchy vibes didn't really bother me enough to stop going until there was a better alternative, which there now are.

But by all means, mileage appears to vary, and lots of folks swear by GP. Go nuts, have a blast. Maybe they just don't like me.
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Ray
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tempus42 wrote:
I realize it's not all that close to downtown, but if you've got some time for about an hour drive, you really should go to Games Plus in Mt. Prospect. (www.games-plus.com) If it's not *the* best game store I've ever been in, then I don't know what is!
Actually If you measure distance in how much you have to move your feet Games Plus is very close to downtown: Walk to the Metra train station, get off at Mt Prospect, and walk to Games Plus is how I always did it when I worked downtown. The time on the train was so much better for reading over your purchases than having to drive yourself.

http://www.metrarail.com/Sched/cnw_nw/cnw_nw.shtml

and I understand Holmes point. The store is a bit of a Mecca, so it will often have some hardcore fans standing around the register talking for several hours about some obscure army construction technique. For the new to gaming visitor this can be a bit disconcerting to listen to if you spend a few hours at the store browsing the many isles.
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Griddly wrote:
Chi-tag is a board game convention at the Navy Pier on Nov 22 & 23. It is open to the public and you can buy games there.

http://www.chitag.com/chitag.htm

If anyone is in the area you should check it out.

nice find! thanks for sharing. Has anyone been to this event in pass years? Is it worth the $10 admission price?

I will definitely have to check out this bit...
"Games 24x7
Monday (Eve.) 11/17 though Mon. 11/24
A weeklong, around the clock gaming experience on the enclosed terraces of Navy Pier featuring some of the newest and hottest games including the latest releases from the Essen Game Fair in Germany. Sponsored by Rio Grande Games, this event is open to the public and is free of charge!"

 
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David Matchen
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Patroclus wrote:
Griddly wrote:
Chi-tag is a board game convention at the Navy Pier on Nov 22 & 23. It is open to the public and you can buy games there.

http://www.chitag.com/chitag.htm

If anyone is in the area you should check it out.

nice find! thanks for sharing. Has anyone been to this event in pass years? Is it worth the $10 admission price?

I will definitely have to check out this bit...
"Games 24x7
Monday (Eve.) 11/17 though Mon. 11/24
A weeklong, around the clock gaming experience on the enclosed terraces of Navy Pier featuring some of the newest and hottest games including the latest releases from the Essen Game Fair in Germany. Sponsored by Rio Grande Games, this event is open to the public and is free of charge!"


Tonight, on "Pimp My Geeklist":

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/10119
 
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jeff morales
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I think there is a board game store in the top of the water tower building downtown on the magnificient mile. I think its called Gamer's Paradise.
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Todd Pytel
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ikiru wrote:
I think there is a board game store in the top of the water tower building downtown on the magnificient mile. I think its called Gamer's Paradise.
Gone now.
 
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Ken Roth
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As is, I believe, the whole chain.

Gamer's Paradise and Games + are basically my personal history in the Chicago area in games.

And I moved downstate, so when the store in town closed I opened my own.

Cause I'm nuts that way...
 
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Steven Tran
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Sorry for hi-jacking this older thread. Similar to the OP back in 2008, I'm looking to visit Chicago. I'm sure much as changed in the BG scene. Does anyone have any recommendations on BG stores in the Chicago area that have a large selection and good pricing?
 
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Todd Pytel
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Chicagoland Games has just gotten better and better over the last 5 years or so. More open gaming space, more games in the library, more games on the shelves, more players of all types and ages at the table. It's easily the best option within city limits, and is readily accessible via the Red Line. If you go out to Mount Prospect via Metra or a car, Games Plus still has the best selection around, but it's not nearly as friendly a place to hang out at as Chicagoland Games is.
 
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Steven Tran
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tppytel wrote:
Chicagoland Games has just gotten better and better over the last 5 years or so. More open gaming space, more games in the library, more games on the shelves, more players of all types and ages at the table. It's easily the best option within city limits, and is readily accessible via the Red Line. If you go out to Mount Prospect via Metra or a car, Games Plus still has the best selection around, but it's not nearly as friendly a place to hang out at as Chicagoland Games is.

Thank you kindly for your input and speedy response! Will have to check out Chicagoland Games and if time/distance is on our side, Games Plus.
 
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Justin S.
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bskin wrote:
tppytel wrote:
Chicagoland Games has just gotten better and better over the last 5 years or so. More open gaming space, more games in the library, more games on the shelves, more players of all types and ages at the table. It's easily the best option within city limits, and is readily accessible via the Red Line. If you go out to Mount Prospect via Metra or a car, Games Plus still has the best selection around, but it's not nearly as friendly a place to hang out at as Chicagoland Games is.

Thank you kindly for your input and speedy response! Will have to check out Chicagoland Games and if time/distance is on our side, Games Plus.

I'll second Chicagoland Games. Also, if you happen to be available mid-week, Wednesday Night it their open boardgaming event. If you're looking to play new games or with new people, there will always be options.
 
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Pete
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I wouldn't waste your time in Chicago visiting game stores. They're all going to be out of your way and they're just regular game stores. I like a few of them, but not in a "hey, you're from out of town, you need to see this!" sort of way.

Pete (doesn't think our local game stores are anything special)
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