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Subject: Local game shops in/near Chicago rss

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Michael Lee
United States
Seattle
Washington
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Hi all! I'm new to BBG (well I have lurked a little in the past before), but have been playing a lot more games recently -- mostly at game sessions hosted by friends. I'm interested in buying some of my own (and do some of my own hosting), and will be doing plenty of that online soon enough.

However, I do enjoy the browsing aspect of shopping (at least I do for books) and also it's nice to be able to pick something up last minute if the need/urge arises. Does anyone know where good game shops are in Chicagoland? In particular downtown (River North would be fantastic) and Lincoln Park are convenient to me, but anywhere there's a good shop would be worth knowing about.

Thanks in advance!

-Michael


P.S. My apologies if this isn't the right forum to ask this -- it seemed the closest match.
 
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Jeff Canar
United States
Des Plaines
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Games Plus in Mount Prospect is *the* Chicagoland gaming store:

http://www.games-plus.com/

I have no idea about River North, but I think the best you'll do is a comic book store/ CCG store that might sell some games. There's a Gamer's Paradise in Water Tower. My brother picked up Bootleggers and Attack! there, but I have no idea how extensive their collection is. There used to be (haven't been there in quite some time) a Gamer's Paradise in the Century Mall, up at Clark & Diversey. I remember them having a decent collection.

hth,
jeff
 
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David Matchen
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Baltimore
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To be brutally honest, I'm a little down on bricks-and-mortar stores, due to pricing/tax issues. Until they start imposing sales tax on internet sales, the web's still really the best way to go, IMO. I mean, it's the difference between $87.00 for Twilight Imperium, Third Edition ($79.95 retail, plus Chicago's semi-exorbitant 8.75% sales tax), and $69.95 ($59.95 price, plus $10 UPS/Fedex Ground shipping (heavy game), which, from most locations in the eastern half of the U.S., is two or three days at most). The only real difference is instant gratification, and, given my normally hectic schedule, there's nothing I can't wait a couple days for.

Heck, I'll even make you some referrals of ones-and-zeroes shops I've bought from recently. Dragon Talon Games (based near St. Louis), I got Heroscape and War of the Ring from, turnaround time 2 days. Although the box was a little suspect, the games arrived in minty condition. Atlanta Game Factory provided me a copy of Arkham Horror I got yesterday (another 2 days by UPS Ground), box securely packed and I even got a personal note from the owner, who apparently digs Lovecraft.

If you've gotta have it pronto (and, hey, sometimes, you'll find gold in them there stores), the suggestions above are virtually the only game (heh) in town. The only competition those shops had in Chicago were the big toy retailers, all of whom have fled town (Toys "R" Us, FAO Schwarz, KayBee Toys), and of course, their selection wasn't really targeted to us anyway (but they'd carry things like Heroquest). Besides the GPs (located all over Chicagoland, about eight locations) and Games Plus (which I haven't been to in about eight years), you might also try Gamekeepers in Woodfield, though it's owned by Wizards and therefore probably shows a bit of a Magic: The Gathering tilt.

Ted, is your group distinct from Bob's group, or am I thinking the same one?
 
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J Knoerzer
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Chicago
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There is a decent store in Oak Park called HobbyTown USA. It is a mainly a Warhammer store but its has good selection of board games. The exact adress is escaping me at the moment.
 
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Ludes
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Honor
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When I was last visiting in Naperville, my friend took me to Fox Valley ((?)) Mall, and we checked out three stores which had games - one was games only. I don't recall the name of the store, only that the clerk had never before heard of Princes of Florence, and the euro section I'd judge fair-to-middlin'.

 
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Mike Roth
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Chicago
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Ted's group includes me, jimok, Ted, Jeff Stahl, and Nate S. I'm not sure who Bob's group is.

Ted, I guess we should plan our July meeting. The June one had a few glitches, but I'd love to play something soon.

The Hobbytown USA in Oak Park is on Lake street. Their signage is bad, but it is in there, and they have a decent selection, although its all full retail prices. I recommend Games Plus as well.

Mike
 
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Jon Dieringer
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Schenectady
New York
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David Matchen,

You have to remember that Games-Plus lets me use their table space to play games with a bunch of people, for free. If that means that I spend a little bit more, then so be it. I would pay a little more for a game and actually be able ot play it than not get to play at all. I do order online, but I am sure to put a little money into Games-Plus every once in a while.
 
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Dennis FitzPatrick
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Yuma
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Sigh, I have such fond memories of Games Plus from my time living in Chicago.

Always could find a gem that I'd never find anywhere else.

And the gaming auctions...drool!

 
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Erik Swedlund
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Lakeville
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mlee,

If your collection isn't already extensive (and you said you're just starting out), then the Gamer's Paradise in Water Tower Place will offer some decent browsing for you. Their selection isn't huge, but it's better than anywhere else you'll find in River North. Order off the internet if you will, but if you just want to look at some stuff first, your options are 1) head all the way out of the city to some of the other stores people have mentioned, or 2) there is no option 2.

Ignore the pile of poker paraphernalia on your right as you enter, and the wall of Monopoly clones on the left--head straight to the back wall.

For browsing, you'll find a variety of Euros from Settlers and Carcassonne to some of the newer games that pop up on the Hot Games here at BGG as they're released. I've seen Twilight Imperium, Niagara, Pirate's Cove, and HeroScape recently. Not exhaustive, but enough to poke through for a little bit.
 
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David Matchen
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Quote:
You have to remember that Games-Plus lets me use their table space to play games with a bunch of people, for free. If that means that I spend a little bit more, then so be it. I would pay a little more for a game and actually be able ot play it than not get to play at all. I do order online, but I am sure to put a little money into Games-Plus every once in a while.
Hey, I used to go out to their Magic nights on Wednesdays in the mid-90's. Nothing like a 20-player free-for-all to take your mind off things. The reason I don't go to Games Plus any more isn't philosophical (heck, I can't even remember what they charged for stuff), but logistical. Mt. Prospect's a ways out of the way now, and I just don't have the time any more. And when you're talking (other) stores with no "fringe benefits" like a gaming room, then I think price and convenience become the paramount considerations. It's a balancing act, and, in a close race pricewise, I do go for bricks and mortar. No slight intended.

In that vein, I will also note that Graham Cracker Comics (on the 50 block of East Madison downtown) maintains a stock of board games, in among the RPG's, but I can't recall how extensive it is. There's another B&M possibility.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have been buying Heroscape stuff from Gamer's Paradise in the Century lately. The staff is extremely friendly and knowledgeable, and, in fact, if they hadn't been out of Arkham Horror on Sunday, I'd have bought it there. Just from the last week's observations, I'd say the Century's got a somewhat more extensive "geek" board game selection than Water Tower, but they're both well-set for miniatures and RPG's.

Ted: If you're taking new people, I'd welcome a chance to try some of my new acquisitions out.

 
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Jon Dieringer
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Schenectady
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David Matchen,

Agreed, FLGS are only worth the extra price in the following circumstances in my opinion:

1) They let you play there
2) They are nice and good at suggesting probable games to buy
3) They maintain a very good inventory so you can browse.
4) You need it NOW!!!!!

I actually have a small beef with Gamer's Paradise. About 6 months ago, they were selling knock off Lance Armstrong LiveStrong bracelets. They didn't say LiveStrong, just corny things that were close like "Long Life". They were yellow and similar material. I won;t spend another cent there because of this. I hate it when a company piggy backs something like this, only to make a dime, all at the same time it is taking money away from Cancer research.
 
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Michael Pennisi
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Carpentersville
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Don't forget about Pastimes at the corner of Golf and Milwaukee in Niles. They have a pretty decent selection, better than Gamer's Paradise but not quite as good Games Plus.
 
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Mike Roth
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Chicago
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I went by Pastimes last weekend and there were signs on the door that it was closed until further notice due to unexpected circumstances. Anyone know if they've reopened, or what happened?
 
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Jon Dieringer
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Golf and Milwaukee? I live about a half mile from there and never knew about Pastimes. *sigh*
 
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Kevin Li
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There's a Gamer's Paradise in Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, too.
 
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Michael Pennisi
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mjrothjr wrote:
I went by Pastimes last weekend and there were signs on the door that it was closed until further notice due to unexpected circumstances. Anyone know if they've reopened, or what happened?

I saw Alan walking around at Origins, maybe there was no one to run the store last weekend. The website says they will be closed until Saturday.
 
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M King
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Wilder
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I was in Chicago for three weeks this summer, and checked out Games Plus after reading about it here on the Geek. I was very impressed by its wide selection--I saw games there I'd never seen in the flesh...or cardboard. They also have a big gaming room that was humming with activity on Saturdays. Friendly and knowledgeable service, too.

I'm afraid I disagree with those who feel bricks and mortar shops are passe. I find that many of the online price savings that look so appealing often evaporate once shipping is factored in. I'll gladly pay a few bucks to be able to see what I'm buying before I buy it. I'm also willing to pay a little extra in order to support a store where I've been buying games for twenty years from people who are friendly, knowledgeable, and always willing to give informed advice. And I like having a place where I can make connections with others in my area who share this hobby. And I think new members of the hobby are more likely to come from people passing a window than by people zipping through cyberspace. How do you stumble upon a cyberstore without knowing it's there. Plus, many FLGS have gaming rooms--mine doesn't, but many do and that's a valuable thing.

In short, there's more to consider than price. If price was all that mattered, we should all just go to Wal-Mart and call it a day.

BTW--If you're in Cincinnati, check out Boardwalk Hobby in Mt. Lookout.
 
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