The Mommy Gamers

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Tabletop Games

    And DLC for all…

    In my small town, we have a local game shop. It is filled with new and used video games, board games, movies, comics and collectible toys. It is a hub for all things that most nerds hold near and dear to our hearts. Most afternoons, they have some type of tabletop or video game activity like tourneys and free play events. It really is one of the last “mom and pop” stores where people can gather, hang out and be with like minded people.

    As an example of how wonderful these stores can be, during my wife’s pregnancy they would offer her a seat if she looked tired, and just in case, had the employee bathroom key on hand if she needed it. When our son was born, one of the employees sent balloons to my wife’s hospital room. Before we took our son home from the hospital, we brought him to the store. A kind of baptism of all things nerdy and cool. Today, we take our son there at least weekly to see what is new in the store and with our friends that work there.

    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Sure, there is a franchised store close by where you can get video games. But the mentality is different. The only time there is any social interaction with fellow gamers at this store is when there is a midnight launch. The rest of the experiences I’ve had at these types of stores are as follows: You go through the door, the sales person immediately asks if your looking for a particular game and if not, they ignore you. Only after you’re in line with a game to purchase do they seem interested in talking to you. Then they want to talk about the upcoming games that “you can pre-order right now” or, attempt to coax you into a membership where you acquire points for “free” stuff.

    The point I’m trying to make is this. Local, non-franchised game stores tend to enhance and cultivate what makes our gaming community closer. These places promote video games more by word of mouth and with tourneys than any other store has ever done. They pour their hearts and souls into great customer service with a family feel, and yet they get no love from the video game publishers and distributors. Sometimes a new title will not be available to our local store until the day of, or up to a week after a launch. It is if these stores don’t matter at all.

    I would love if these companies gave launch day exclusives to all brick and mortar stores. They don’t have to get all fancy with handouts, just DLC  all other Big Box stores get. Exclusive DLC should be for anyone buying their game on launch day, not because they are buying from a franchised outlet. I feel that if given a choice of stores, people would rather spend their money to local store owners if this option was available.

    Page 3 Thanks to a increased interest in tabletop board games, our local store has seen a small increase in traffic and their selection of said games has exploded. But because of slow distribution, and lack of launch day exclusive DLC, new game sales are low. I wonder what the impact would be if game store patronage was based on the quality of service and not because of what DLC customers could get at different stores. How hard could it really be to make this happen?

    I’m not saying that I think people should stop supporting franchised stores, we need, as consumers, competition on the best prices and service. I’m just saying to the distributors and companies they should stop playing favorites. Let these “Mom and Pop” stores in on the DLC action.

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    Fun Toys: Skallops

    I stumbled upon Skallops while I was at PAX Prime 2012 this month and ended up taking a set home. Skallops are laser cut, top-quality, hand-finished birch plywood that are used with playing cards to create any type of structure your mind can imagine.  As long as you have enough Skallops and something to connect them to be it cards, postcards, business cards, or whatever you create, you can make absolutely anything.

    As soon as I shook off my jet lag from PAX Prime I whipped out my Junior Set of Skallops, which has 52 wooden Skallops and one deck of cards. My children, ages ten and thirteen quickly started creating…things. I had to employ some creative mothering when my son brought me his creation and asked if I liked it. If you’re a Mom, you know exactly what I was going through as I gazed up on this oddly formed jumble of playing cards and Skallops. As he watched me analyze his art work I thought quickly and said the best thing I could think of, “It looks awesome!”. Thankfully that was enough for him and he replied with, “I know, totally looks like fireworks in the sky right?”.

    It didn’t take long for the kitchen countertops to completely disappear under a sea of confusing creations. Our Junior  Set was quickly depleted so we may be upgrading in the future to the Starter Set with 104 Skallops and two decks of cards, or just go completely crazy and get the Builder Set with 208 Skallops and four decks of cards. My only hesitation would be the fact that while the kids really love building with Skallops, they always seem to disappear when it’s time for them to be broken down and put away.

    Skallops are very light-weight, but incredibly sturdy. Getting the cards in the slots can be a little difficult at times, but they are made to grip ordinary playing cards firmly, so that your creations hold up really well. I think these would be great for anyone who has kids to just leave out on a rainy day and let the kids imaginations go crazy. Skallops are recommended for children ages three and up, but based on the zero interest level my toddler showed in them I’d say this is probably better for more of the elementary age and older range. Of course grown-ups who like to build can have fun with this as well.

    If you want to grab a set just hop on over to www.skallops.com and make sure to check out all the neat pictures of creations that others have come up with including pictures made from PAX attendees.

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