Friday, July 25, 2008

One more gaming store for Chicago

It appears this is the summer of hopeful gaming retail openings, at least here in Chicago.

I’ve learned that a second retail store, Black Sun Games, is moving quickly to open its doors in the Albany Park/North Park/Ravenswood area. The address is 5426 N. Kedzie Ave., but I’m afraid I know even less about this new store than I did about Gamer’s Asylum.

From what I can gather, though, the store is interested in both Warmachine and D&D, two mainstay game properties that that ought to draw in a sizable fan base. Brandon, the owner, is active on a D&D-themed Meetup group, and I’ve heard secondhand that he’s willing to host game groups at the store ASAP (but no sales for now, alas, owing to Chicago’s archaic permitting process).

The best part is that this location is so close I can ride my bike to it, which of course conjures up all sorts of nostalgic images of city kids pedaling down the sidewalk with backpacks brimming with D&D books. Good times, for sure — though I’m not sure I’d have much luck biking down the street with 30 pounds of painted pewter strapped to my back.

Bottom line: As with the Gamer’s Asylum announcement, this is just great news. Tabletop gaming is an inherently social pastime, and it’s critical to have a welcoming, clean and vibrant retail outlet to foster participation. Chicago has long been a bit of a game-store desert.

It’s tough to run an effective brick-and-mortar store in today’s culture of online commerce and 3-day shipping. I recognize the dedication required to make game retailing work, and I’m willing to open my checkbook to support both Black Sun Games and Gamer’s Asylum if they can create a friendly, reliable retail presence near my ‘hood.

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