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Subject: Great board game store in Cambridge rss

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Simon Hammar
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I posted this on the BGG down forums, but I wanted to mention them here too once BGG was up and running again.

I was over my sister's in Cambridge for Christmas, and hadn't bought Christmas presents for my nephews yet. I knew what to get my godson and the eldest nephew, but I had problems with the 11-year old.

Also, as my usual habit, I had brought some games to play, but I had made a serious mistake in the selection - I hadn't accounted for the whole family to participate in games, just the three nephews, so I hadn't thought ot bringing Cash'n'Guns, which my sister reprimanded me for. And then the youngest asked "You did bring Ricochet Robots, right? That's the sweetest game ever!". I saw it coming. I had to buy both, one for my nephew and one for the whole family.

A couple of years ago (maybe more than a couple, time flies by so fast these days) there had been two board game stores in central Cambridge; Lingard's Games and one more. I used to browse them when I was over in Cambridge, it was at the time when board game shops were small and when information (for me) was scarce, and I had to shop by gut feeling (fun time, I have to admit). Anyway, none of those shops were left. Lingard's had closed down, the other I couldn't find. cambridgeonline.co.uk gave nothing except Games Workshop. Shit. When walking towards Grafton, I stumbled upon Forbidden Planet that carried some Settlers, Carc and Munchkin and a few more (Game of Thrones, some Warcraft). Damn. I asked the clerk for other stores, she knew no shop carrying board games. I tried Toys'r'Us in the Beehive, hoping that they might have at least Ticket to Ride or Niagara or something, but no. They claimed having "hundreds of board games". They had exactly none. (OK, they had hundreds of quiz games and kid dexterity games, but where the hell was Arbos or Bausack?)

I ended up walking to Games Workshop as a last resort, asking them for advice. They told me WH Smiths might have some, but then they seemed to catch on what I had in mind, and mentioned a shop ten minutes walk from there, called Inner Sanctum. The name seemed promising… and it was.

Their full name was Inner Sanctum Collectibles, and I learned from the clerks there why the shop didn't show up on cambridgeonline or a google search for Cambridge and Boardgames; they had opened just this year.

'Cozy' isn't the word I'd use to describe Inner Sanctum, and I've seen nicer board game shops in my days, and after my diligent search it felt like heaven on Earth for me. It was a simple, big room, with board games along the wall and tables with chairs in the middle. And the selection of games… they had virtually all games that I have in my collection and consider as "really good". Oh yes, they had Ricochet Robots. They had Cash'n'Guns. They had Chicago Express. They had some of my favourite games that I never had seen in other shops. The clerks were nice and you could tell they knew their business. I can only imagine gathering there for games, contrary to many other board game shops, one wall of Inner Sanctum was windows out to the street and the shop was all in white, very clear. I'd kill to have that shop in my town.

Wanted to post my thanks for Inner Sanctum Collectibles. Their pure existance made my Christmas. We had a great Christmas party with Ca$h'b'Gun$. And as I only found them due to the GW shop, I figured perhaps there are other people out there not knowing of their existance, and that would be too bad. All board gamers in the area should know about them.
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Kevin Lloyd
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Well spotted Simon. I visit my parents in Norfolk, and usually end up going to Norwich which has a couple of games shops. However, now I have a reason to revisit Cambridge (it's years since I've been there).
 
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Jim Radford
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Excellent News. I feel a family day trip to Cambridge coming on...

"Oh look Honey, a games shop! Lets pop in seeing as we're here."

I looked up their website as well - you can find it here:
http://www.innersanctumcollectibles.com/
 
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M Garcia
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I have been living in Cambridge since last April, and I couldn't find anything interesting in Games Workshop or Forbidden Planet.

After reading Simon's post, I went to the shop last friday and I spent there half an hour, leaving with "Ricochet Robots". When I told the lady in the shop that I have known it reading on internet, she told me:

"Oh, there is a website called boardgame-something and couple of months ago we had a nice guy from er...Switzerland or Norway or something like that who was very happy with the shop and said he was writing about it in that website"

Thank you for the information.
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Tom Oinn
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I just wanted to add another recommendation for this shop, even if they don't make it easy to find them online! I've lived in and around Cambridge for years and was saddened by the loss of Games and Puzzles, Lingards, Otherworld etc and thought there weren't any game shops left. A friend showed me this place yesterday and I'm looking forward to going back and having a proper shopping session Excellent selection of games, the only thinga I might have expected to find and didn't were Icehouse pieces, but I already have enough of those!
 
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Simon Hammar
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It's good to hear they're still in business. This is a real source of joy for any Cambridge citizen, especially since the open space allows for so much gaming. Can't compare the prices to other shops in Britain, but the mere existance of such a shop is great.
 
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Chris Marling
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Just thought it was worth bumping this store for 2011 :)

If you do visit Cambridge, just be aware it's not in the town centre but is near the station (a good 20+ minutes walk from the historic town centre) - it's worth Googling it's location before you arrive.

There's still a really good selection of board/card games, plus Magic stuff and some miniatures (and the gaming tables).
 
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George J. Wendt
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I thought it was Cambridge, MA and got really excited...
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Martyn Smith
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Just off to Cambridge today - did a Google search for games shops and found your link...

I am looking forward to checking this shop out...
 
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M Garcia
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I think it may be closed tomorrow, on Easter Friday, but it will be opened on saturday from 10 am to 6 pm.
 
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Martyn Smith
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So, I drove down to Cambridge and set the sat-nav to take us straight to the door of the store...

I will report what happens next exactly as it unfolded (at least from my perspective anyway).

We parked the car outside but, unsure of the possible restrictions, I ran over to the shop to ask them what to do.

On entering I saw maybe half a dozen folk around a gaming table and a lady standing separately.

They all looked up and idly gazed at me - ignoring their lack of welcome I proceeded to ask for help - "Is it okay if I park there please?" I said, gesticulating towards my wife in the car...

They all turned back to what they'd been doing and the lady came across to talk to me.

"What do you want?" she asked, "ummm, to know whether it's okay to park there for a moment...?" "Are you shopping here?" "Yes I am", I replied.

"Well, I suppose it's okay for you to park there for a couple of minutes, but you mustn't make a habit of it!"

By this stage I was feeling - well, I've just driven a good distance especially to see this shop and I am feeling as if I wish I hadn't. I fought this feeling to leave and called to my wife to come in...

She joined me and we set about looking at the games - to us, a very wide selection.

The lady then stared at us in what can only be described as a suspicious way. Thinking she was just wanting to greet us or be of assistance I turned to face her, smiling.

She turned away and only turned back to 'observe' us once I was facing back to the games.

We then started to feel pretty guilty for entering their realm and curtailed our browsing to beat a hasty retreat.

Back in the car, without a goodbye from the shop's, ahem, 'host' - we sighed and then giggled about our excursion 'behind enemy lines'...

My wife - not a gamer like myself but someone who is becoming increasingly interested - summed it all up beautifully, "don't get upset by it, they're just geeks without very advanced people skills..."

I suppose this is the reason I don't go to any gaming clubs...

I realise that there are two sides to every story but I have presented yesterday's scenario as honestly as I can.

For every shop like this hopefully there is also another REAL gaming shop like Shire Games in Stoke where we were well looked after, thoroughly helped and from which we left with an armfull of games.

We'll vote with our feet on this one and won't be going back to this particular store, unless of course, we fancy a good giggle and to leave empty-handed...

 
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Simon Hammar
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Very strange and sad to hear. It sounds like exactly the opposite of my experience. I've been there one time more since I wrote the original post, and it was as welcoming as before.
 
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Martyn Smith
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Oh well, I am certainly glad that you didn't have the same experience as we did...

Maybe we just look like a suspicious couple?
 
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Simon Hammar
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Hm… I guess that _I_ look like one of "them".

Amagad.
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That is rather unusual. I'm from Cambridge and visit the store fairly often. I never had any bad experience. Sure they can be less welcoming once in a while, but I'd give them another chance. Most of the folks working there are really helpful and quite knowledgeable. I agree that sometimes it gets pretty geeky and someone not used to it might be a bit off.
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Dmitri Pisarev
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I went there for the first time this week, having heard about the store through this article (have lived in Cambridge for 20 years and only just found out about it!). Went with my kid, who is just 6, so I was a bit worried that we might catch some flames from any resident ubergeeks, not traditionally the most welcoming of young'uns. Especially after reading Martyn's post.

I shouldn't have worried. We were both made very welcome, had a great time checking out the boxes of games I've only read about, and chatted with the store's guardian about "Galaxy Trucker", the boxes of "Dungeon Petz" she was unloading from a new delivery, and other bits and pieces. When I inquired about "Small World" she showed me all the expansions, talked about the game knowledgeably and enthusiastically. The place has an absolutely incredible selection and range of boxed games, as well as miniatures, CTGs, and other bits and bobs, and has a nice atmosphere for a geek store: I was blown away.

Gamers in Cambridge should support this place, it's a real gem.
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The Last Bert
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Just wanted to say thanks for pointing this shop out, I've been living in Cambridge for a few years, but only discovered it through this thread. The shop is quite well hidden away. The staff seem very friendly, and I've been given advice by fellow shoppers as well. A really nice store.

The parking out the front is marked loading only I think, but you could probably get away parking there for a few minutes. With the NCP over the road at Cambridge leisure and plenty of free on-street parking in nearby roads, parking isn't a problem anyway (I work outside the city, and sometimes stop in on the drive home).
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Michael
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Normscoffee wrote:
I thought it was Cambridge, MA and got really excited...
I also thought the OP meant Cambridge, MA, and said to myself, "While there are board game stores in Cambridge, MA, none of them are anywhere near 'great'."
 
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Richard Morgan
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I thought you meant Cambridge, Ontario, where the world's greatest board game store is located - J&J Cards and Collectibles.
 
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CoHo
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I second the awesomeness of this shop!
Very handy, and fills a massive hole in the market around here.
The selection of games is very good.
I also found the staff friendly and helpful with my many questions.
I think the previous comments about the unreceptive manner of the staff is probably just misinterpretted.
 
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Luke Prior
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My collection is named by my friends "the outer sanctum". It would not exist if it were not for inner sanctum, great store run by a lovely family.
 
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Simon Hammar
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Good to hear they're still doing good business. If my experiences are representative for that shop, they sure deserve it.
 
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Luke Prior
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I am a firm believer that the FLGS is potentially something that will only last so much longer with the continuing recession and huge overheads and rent prices. I will only buy from amazon or ebay if I know for a fact that they can't get it for me and no view of being able to get it in the near future. I would rather pay full RRP and give this shop the money I feel they deserve and help them stay in business rather than save myself £5/£6 buy getting it online
 
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Simon Hammar
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Lukewild1982 wrote:
I am a firm believer that the FLGS is potentially something that will only last so much longer with the continuing recession and huge overheads and rent prices. I will only buy from amazon or ebay if I know for a fact that they can't get it for me and no view of being able to get it in the near future. I would rather pay full RRP and give this shop the money I feel they deserve and help them stay in business rather than save myself £5/£6 buy getting it online
I'd go further and say that for all people on BGG, money for the games isn't the problem. Maybe in some very very rare cases, but generally, you're as happy with 3 games as you are with 5. We've just been talked into that we aren't. We're obsessed with thinking that €50 for a game is SO HORRIBLE compared to €35, because if we buy it for €35, then we can buy another game for €15, and then we get TWO for the price of ONE! Wohooo!

It's just that at the end of the day, having that extra game for €15 doesn't make a big difference. Once you have 20+ games, "2 for the price of 1" starts getting pretty ridiculous.

I know for sure that I played games and had as fun with them when I had 10 games than when I have 300.
 
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Dan
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Zimeon wrote:
Lukewild1982 wrote:
I am a firm believer that the FLGS is potentially something that will only last so much longer with the continuing recession and huge overheads and rent prices. I will only buy from amazon or ebay if I know for a fact that they can't get it for me and no view of being able to get it in the near future. I would rather pay full RRP and give this shop the money I feel they deserve and help them stay in business rather than save myself £5/£6 buy getting it online
I'd go further and say that for all people on BGG, money for the games isn't the problem. Maybe in some very very rare cases, but generally, you're as happy with 3 games as you are with 5. We've just been talked into that we aren't. We're obsessed with thinking that €50 for a game is SO HORRIBLE compared to €35, because if we buy it for €35, then we can buy another game for €15, and then we get TWO for the price of ONE! Wohooo!

It's just that at the end of the day, having that extra game for €15 doesn't make a big difference. Once you have 20+ games, "2 for the price of 1" starts getting pretty ridiculous.

I know for sure that I played games and had as fun with them when I had 10 games than when I have 300.
Well said!
 
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