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Subject: A real life FLGS closes its doors. rss

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Lance Moody
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Just wanted to lament the announced end of the year closing of the Cincinnati area game store, Ivory Tower Games.

Kim and Kevin created a great and friendly store that supported gamers and encouraged the hobby. It's gonna be a big loss for those of us who came to love the Tuesday board game nights, the Saturday monster game days and the friends we made through the years.

This economy is taking a hard toll on a lot of people and it must be particularly hard on game shops (which are almost never gold mines anyway).

Support your local game store.

So that you have a local game store.

Goodbye to Ivory Tower
And best wishes to Kim and Kevin and their lovely family.


Lance


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Xander Fulton
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Running theory I've seen is that hard economic times can either be really good for a game or game store, or really bad for them. The much-derided (here), but WILDLY successful Monopoly, for example, seeing commercial launch at the height of the Great Depression. I suppose the cost vs return on them can favor tighter budget times.
 
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Paul M
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Soooooo they made their millions and retired? Great! I never met them, but I wish them well.
 
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j b Goodwin

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Where was this place? I couldn't find a good game store in the three years I lived in Cincinnati.
 
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Sean Dooley
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swandive78 wrote:
Where was this place? I couldn't find a good game store in the three years I lived in Cincinnati.

Really? I can name at least three (YottaQuest in Mount Healthy, Acme Games in Anderson, and Up Up and Away in Cheviot)
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Ed Lizak
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It's not good when a store closes but I am not surprised. I tried to visit this store once and it was closed. Here's the hours of operation from their web site:

-------------------------
Monday Closed
Tuesday 12:00-9:00
Wednesday 12:00-6:00
Thursday 12:00-6:00
Friday 12:00-9:00
Saturday 12:00-6:00
Sunday Closed
-------------------------

I told a fellow gaming friend that unless this store is massively subsidized by online sales, they were not long for this world. Those hours are not really gamer friendly.
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J. Green
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lancemoody wrote:

This economy is taking a hard toll on a lot of people and it must be particularly hard on game shops (which are almost never gold mines anyway).

Support your local game store.

So that you have a local game store.


I agree. I couldn't afford the Deluxe Starter of WoW Minis I bought today from my FLGS, and would rather have gotten FFG's new "Android" from an online retailer for about the same price. But having a game store to attract a fairly consistent game community is important to me, so I voted with my dollars to help them keep the lights on, since this Christmas season will probably not be the bonanza it has been traditionally.
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Chris Franka
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bookgnome wrote:
I couldn't afford the Deluxe Starter of WoW Minis I bought today from my FLGS.
Hey, I bought one of those as well from our FLGS (as did one of my gamer buddies). We meet pretty consistently on Monday nights there, sit and play games, buy a few sodas from their machine, and sometimes a game. Enough that I feel like I'm showing some appreciation for them giving us a place to play.
 
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Simon Lundström
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I've constantly buying my games on a non-online store, and for each game I usually end up paying at least $15 more (like $80 instead of $65). That game store has constant gaming nights, online gaming rooms and is a blessing for the capital of Sweden, who sports exactly 2 stores for carrying board games, for more than 1 million inhabitants.

So frigging what? I have more than 150 games. Sometimes I like to buy me something new. If I can keep a non-online store alive by seeing to that my new acquisitions happen 25% slower or less, it's absolutely worth it. No question.
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Bruce Murphy
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I keep a nifty little spreadsheet of games purchases so I can see exactly where I'm spending money. My wonderful FLGS has seen more purchases than any other single store, but my various online purchases outnumber it. Of course, I'm in a slightly unusual position because of local language.

I'm just happy to have a local store which is generally pretty quick to get games in, has reasonable prices, and also has an amazing catalogue of older out of print stuff.

B>
 
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j b Goodwin

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wittdooley wrote:
swandive78 wrote:
Where was this place? I couldn't find a good game store in the three years I lived in Cincinnati.

Really? I can name at least three (YottaQuest in Mount Healthy, Acme Games in Anderson, and Up Up and Away in Cheviot)

Never came across Yottaquest or Up Up and Away. Perhaps they were not there when I was.

I went to Acme, which was usually about the ACME in we're-pretending-hard-not-to-notice-you-so-we-don't-have to-stop-talking-with-our-buddies customer service. If you didn't play Magic or Warhammer 40K, they couldn't seem to do much for you.

There was a little place called the Violet Vortex, which was pleasant enough, but they seemed a little unknowledgable. They did order somkething for me once. Didn't seem to be much on wargaming, one of my big interests.

And the memorable Main Street Hobby Shop, the store I went into every week for three years without being greeted more than a handful of times. Perhaps they would have greeted me more if the store had been open more during the posted business hours.

Do I seem bitter? Yep. I failed to hook up with any group of gamers in Cincinnati, or any merchant who seemed passionate about selling games.

Was it me? Perhaps, but when I went to the D.C. area, there were plenty of great gamers a few great game shops, and a few mediocre ones, but it was easy to connect. I found more gamers in one week in NOVA than I did in three years in Cincinnati.

 
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j b Goodwin

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Cincinnatus wrote:
It's not good when a store closes but I am not surprised. I tried to visit this store once and it was closed. Here's the hours of operation from their web site:

-------------------------
Monday Closed
Tuesday 12:00-9:00
Wednesday 12:00-6:00
Thursday 12:00-6:00
Friday 12:00-9:00
Saturday 12:00-6:00
Sunday Closed
-------------------------

I told a fellow gaming friend that unless this store is massively subsidized by online sales, they were not long for this world. Those hours are not really gamer friendly.
Sleep late, eat dinner at home almost every night, two-day weekends. Not much like a small retail shop trying to stay in business.

Still, good work if you can get it!
 
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Paul DeStefano
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swandive78 wrote:

Sleep late, eat dinner at home almost every night, two-day weekends. Not much like a small retail shop trying to stay in business.

Still, good work if you can get it!

Of course, they couldn't, or they'd stay in business.
 
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Andrew Brannan
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swandive78 wrote:
wittdooley wrote:
swandive78 wrote:
Where was this place? I couldn't find a good game store in the three years I lived in Cincinnati.

Really? I can name at least three (YottaQuest in Mount Healthy, Acme Games in Anderson, and Up Up and Away in Cheviot)

Never came across Yottaquest or Up Up and Away. Perhaps they were not there when I was.

I went to Acme, which was usually about the ACME in we're-pretending-hard-not-to-notice-you-so-we-don't-have to-stop-talking-with-our-buddies customer service. If you didn't play Magic or Warhammer 40K, they couldn't seem to do much for you.

There was a little place called the Violet Vortex, which was pleasant enough, but they seemed a little unknowledgable. They did order somkething for me once. Didn't seem to be much on wargaming, one of my big interests.

And the memorable Main Street Hobby Shop, the store I went into every week for three years without being greeted more than a handful of times. Perhaps they would have greeted me more if the store had been open more during the posted business hours.

Do I seem bitter? Yep. I failed to hook up with any group of gamers in Cincinnati, or any merchant who seemed passionate about selling games.

Was it me? Perhaps, but when I went to the D.C. area, there were plenty of great gamers a few great game shops, and a few mediocre ones, but it was easy to connect. I found more gamers in one week in NOVA than I did in three years in Cincinnati.





Just out of curiousity, did you ever stop by Boardwalk hobbies in Mt. Lookout? More hobby store than game store, but they did, and do, carry a reasonable selection of "euro" games, but not much in the Collecty genre. No place to play either, but again, they aren't a game-centered store. They also are great for special orders.


Disclaimer: I am a lifelong customer (literally, I remember going there when I was 4, 28 years ago) and my father and I both were onetime employees at Boardwalk, so I have a bit of a soft spot in my heart and a blind spot in my eye for them.



I completely agree that the gaming scene in DC is much healthier and robust than Cincy, BTW. Just wanted to plug my favorite store on the east side of town.
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Andrew Faehnle
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Sci-Fi City in Northgate Mall also has a good game selection.

I really dislike Boardwalk; terrible hours and the staff isn't very friendly. Yottaquest is probably the best bet for board games, followed pretty closely by Sci-Fi City, IMHO.
 
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Ed Lizak
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I should have mentioned in my earlier post that I agree with the Yottaquest recommendation. They do a great job. Lots of games to choose from and very gamer friendly. They don't say anything when the Tuesday night boardgame game group goes past their closing hours of 10:00 PM. Plus open late on weekends. That's how a store hustles to stay in business.

I don't feel I am paying extra for games I purchase there, I feel like I am just putting a few dollars towards them providing me a warm and comfortable gaming area. I sure wouldn't invite all the people at the store to my house every Tuesday so I feel I am way ahead.

That said, I always buy something from every game store I ever walk into. Having owned a game store myself back in the day, I'm a sucker for the little guy.
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j b Goodwin

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abrannan wrote:
I completely agree that the gaming scene in DC is much healthier and robust than Cincy, BTW. Just wanted to plug my favorite store on the east side of town.
Thanks for the response. Wish I'd had the 'geek when I was in Cinci.

Sorry, I WAS talking about the Boardwalk Hobby Shop, not Main Street. I used to walk down there from Norwood every week on my day off (with the obligatory stop at Chipotle or Buskins' bakery on the way back). I asked about special orders, and the employee shrugged and never really answered me; he said something about asking the owner, who was a "wargame guy," but never got back to me.

I apologize for the generally negative tone; Cincinnati was a vast gaming wasteland when I was there, and I'm glad that it seems to have perked up, but there's a grumbly part of me that's a little peeved about the lack of opportunity when I was there.

Ironically, I have moved from the D.C. area recently to a smaller, more conservative town, and there is NO gaming store here at all. The closest gaming store is about seventy-five miles away. I'm a little better armed now, though; I'm going to start a gaming group MYSELF.
 
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Bill J
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swandive78 wrote:


I apologize for the generally negative tone; Cincinnati was a vast gaming wasteland when I was there, and I'm glad that it seems to have perked up, but there's a grumbly part of me that's a little peeved about the lack of opportunity when I was there.

Ironically, I have moved from the D.C. area recently to a smaller, more conservative town, and there is NO gaming store here at all. The closest gaming store is about seventy-five miles away. I'm a little better armed now, though; I'm going to start a gaming group MYSELF.

No reason to apologize. The gaming situation here is less than ideal. What groups I have found tend to be very insular and / or concentrate on a single game or system. Even the universities don't seem to have board game groups. If anybody knows of one, let me know!

Your idea about starting a broad-based and self-sustaining group is a good one. I am incredibly impressed by what the CABS have done in Columbus. Why can't there be a similar group in Cincinnati? Or anywhere else for that matter? Go for it!

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Sean Dooley
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swandive78 wrote:


Do I seem bitter? Yep. I failed to hook up with any group of gamers in Cincinnati, or any merchant who seemed passionate about selling games.

Was it me? Perhaps, but when I went to the D.C. area, there were plenty of great gamers a few great game shops, and a few mediocre ones, but it was easy to connect. I found more gamers in one week in NOVA than I did in three years in Cincinnati.


I don't really think it was you. Up Up and Away is newish (2 years?) and is a comics shop as well, so it's not specifically a game shop...though Kendall the owner will get you whatever you need.

As for YottaQuest...I don't know how old they are, but its a really great store. Matt and co. very knowledgeable, very friendly, and very accommodating.
 
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Sean Dooley
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p0pcult wrote:
Sci-Fi City in Northgate Mall also has a good game selection.

I really dislike Boardwalk; terrible hours and the staff isn't very friendly. Yottaquest is probably the best bet for board games, followed pretty closely by Sci-Fi City, IMHO.

How the hell did I forget Sci-Fi City. God I hope Eric doesn't read this or he'll kick my ass.
 
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Bill J
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I think that YQ has been open for four years now.

EDIT: And you are right, they do know about games. The folks at Ivory Tower games seem to have known about the game business too. I thought it was a pretty nice store. However, I'm guessing that their customer base drew from those individuals in Dayton and Cincinnati who were willing to drive a few extra miles out to a 'midway' point in Lebanon, OH. When gas hit $4/gallon, that drive became much more expensive and far less attractive. Even with gas going down now, the damage was done.
 
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Andrew Faehnle
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I just stopped by Ivory Tower yesterday, and I can see their downfall as a convergence of four factors:

1. (as mentioned) crappy hours.
2. Location: they're on the exurban edge of cincinnati, with nothing but lots of farmland for 60 miles to the north (and the area north of *that* is in the Columbus metro area, which presumably has better game shops). To the south, there are many game shops more accessible to people in the area.
3. Selection: very limited, compared to other game stores in the area.
4. Price: Very expensive. Prices seemed to be about $10 more than other local stores. As an extreme example, the new Risk update was $45; Target retails it for $25.

Frankly, I am not surprised they are closing.
 
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Allen Vailliencourt
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Sad to see a store go but to successfully run a FLGS I think the wheel needs to be reinvented...

Go with a coffee shop (lots of offerings), offer large board game selection (lots of investment), and make it clean, airy, inviting and adult friendly (no ccg's, even though it's a money pit...)

I think a store that can be creative in those ways can survive. At least based on the business plan I wrote

Anyone got a couple hundred grand so I can start it? (then franchise the concept and profit! hehe)
 
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Lance Moody
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Quote:
3. Selection: very limited, compared to other game stores in the area.
4. Price: Very expensive. Prices seemed to be about $10 more than other local stores.

Doesn't really matter I suppose now but I should mention that neither of the above assertions are true.

Yotta Quest is an excellent store and I am friends with Matt (and frequent customer--more frequent now for sure). Ivory Tower had a slightly smaller selection (but still equal or larger than any other local game store). To say that the selection is "very" limited is laughable. Can you name a game you saw elsewhere that Ivory didn't have.

Their prices are IDENTICAL. Bringing up a big box retail price difference is perhaps disingenuous.



 
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Andrew Faehnle
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lancemoody wrote:
Ivory Tower had a slightly smaller selection (but still equal or larger than any other local game store).

?
??
?!?!?
Interrobang?

lancemoody wrote:
Can you name a game you saw elsewhere that Ivory didn't have.

Sure:

Mammoth Hunters
Rum & Pirates
Chinatown (Z-man)
Ingenious
World of Warcraft
Pacific Typhoon
EuroRails

...shall I go on?
 
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