Thursday, August 21, 2008

Laissez Faire

As the last place in the area with game space, we've acquired a number of play groups, especially the most excellent Friday Night Magic. The flip side of that is some games are difficult to coordinate. Our store model for game space is borrowed from other successful stores: we're open late, with open gaming, no fees unless it's for prize support, and volunteer event coordinators. The other successful store model has limited hours, a tight gaming schedule, usually with staff running the events. You play what they promote, when they allow you to play it. They're both good models, with the controlled model likely to be more efficient, but more work.

While the tighter model offers higher quality events, I think, we offer quantity and the opportunity for an event to take place by consensus. Bring me a group of half a dozen people and a game we sell and you're on the calendar. Can't make the date? Create another event for the same game. What I can't do is create an event and run it with staff because of demand. I also can't wrangle all the people who buy a game, but decline to play in-store. This is especially true with the elusive crowds for AT-43, Warhammer Fantasy and Flames of War. This model can also be a little messy. If your organizer is bad or flaky (or makes fart jokes), or table space is limited, what might have been a successful event is now a disappointment.

Our laissez faire game center model does not work with centralized control. Like the economic concept, in exchange for these freedoms we don't charge a fee or interfere short of serious problems. Libertarian game space. We don't pay employees to run your game, we pay them to keep the game center open while you entertain yourself. It might seem obvious, but lately people have had a hard time putting their heads around it.

A Note on AT-43: Like many other stores, we've marked up the price of AT-43 due to the ridiculously low margin that the French have provided us. Now that it's being distributed by Fantasy Flight, voila! the discount is now the Fantasy Flight Discount and new items will be cheaper and re-stocked existing items will go down to the MSRP (remembering that the "S" is suggested).

A Note on Yelp: Our single-star reviewer was a misguided customer of another store. Yet another problem with the Yelp concept. Everyone's a critic.

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