Like a Phoenix Burning Bright

We’ve been a bit quiet in the last few months, but we’re back on the blog-wagon!

We’ve been through quite a few things in the last few months. Restructuring, repair, restock, re-imagining. And every step we take forward has been a mix of excitement and nerve wracking.

For those who DON’T know us hi! My name is Vera Campbell, and my wife and I are the owners  of Gaming Grounds, a friendly local game store in Kent, Ohio. We’ve been here since September 2011, and it’s been quite a ride to say the least.

We started off as a game store that sold a little bit of everything, because as gamers we are about as multifaceted as the people we see every day. We wanted to help match the perfect game to someone who would fall in love with it, and we still do.

Over the years, we’ve had our stumbles. Lots of new businesses do. We watched where the demand went, and as more people requested certain games, such as Magic the Gathering, we followed suit. We never set out to carry singles, or be primarily Magic, and yet that was the path we went down, much to the detriment of other things.

Magic is just one game, and while there are plenty of other stores that specialize in it, it’s still just ONE game out of thousands. That’s not what we set out to do, we didn’t set out to focus on only one game. We’re want to focus on the other thousands of games. Catan, Dicemasters, Tsuro, Malifaux, Warhammer, Pathfinder, My Little Pony,  and so many more.

stock 1Gamers are a diverse bunch. We come in all shapes and sizes and that group grows and changes every day. New people find their way to all kinds of games, and we firmly believe that there’s a game for everyone.

It’s no secret that the majority of gamers out there are male, and indeed a lot of game stores tend to follow the unfortunate stereotype of being places seemingly unfriendly to those outside that demographic. Sure, you’ll definitely see exceptions, but not as often as you SHOULD.

Here at Gaming Grounds, we pride ourselves on our friendliness and community more than anything else. We are devoted to being a safe place for people of all stripes, and have never compromised that. Many of our customers here are transgender men and women, or otherwise genderqueer or agender, people of various races, positions, and sexuality, and anything else you can find on the spectrum. I am personally a transgender woman married to a wonderful woman, and simply having a community that’s so open and friendly has made my own transition so much easier for which I’m super grateful. It only reinforces my belief that there should be more places out there that are safe zones against any kind of discrimination, and I’m proud that we can say we are.

You may look at the title of today’s blog post and think “Oh, Gaming Grounds has some kind of rebirth scheme to talk about, with a bunch of new promises to make.”

Well we don’t. We’re not doing anything new that we haven’t done before. Yes, you’re going to see new events. Yes, our game library is growing in the aftermath of the Magic fallout. Yes, you may see new layouts and looks in the store. But all of that is meaningless without a great community to enjoy them, and in that regard, we’re going to continue doing exactly what we’ve done all along.

We’re going to continue to be a safe place for anyone and everyone here. I hate the term “tolerance,” and much rather prefer the term “acceptance.” We get each other here. We know how tough life can be out there. But in here? We’re all a sort of family. And if we can help just one person on their path through life, be it through a friendly ear or a hearty evening of gaming, then we’ve done what we set out to do. And we’ll keep doing so.

Thank you for being here everybody, and thank you to everyone who will be here in the future!

On New Beginnings

Hello all, been awhile hasn’t it?

Well, first and foremost, we would like to apologize for any confusion you might have had in the last couple of months about GG and it’s potential future. This is actually why I’m here today.

Yes, we’re still here. And we’re not dead. We’re more building up our resources, making changes, and working to bring Gaming Grounds back to the awesome place it has and will be again. It took us awhile to realize what we should focus on, and WHO we should focus on, but we’ve had a lot of soul searching, and we feel we’re finally there.

We’ve been revamping our stock, and looking to place an emphasis on not only traditional gamer swag, but also things created by local artists and crafters. Unique things you won’t find in any other retail outlet. And we’re very excited about this. As of this last weekend, we’ve put up displays of handcrafted papercuts, wallets, postcards, and more, and will be expanding into many other products as well.

One half of a good store is usually inventory, something we’ve admittedly been a little lax with in the last few months. But the other half isn’t about being a store, but about being the community we’ve always wanted to be, and we’d like to think we’re getting on the right path.

All I can say is keep your eyes open for the future!

A Charity Kind of Weekend

This weekend is all about helping others! Join us on Saturday, October 11 for an All Day Roleplay-a-Thon (http://ow.ly/Cdg0e) and on Sunday, October 12 for a Charity Auction (http://ow.ly/Cddxl). Proceeds from both events will go towards helping a local mom and baby out of a homeless shelter and into an apartment. If you’d like to help out by lending your time to run an RPG or by donating some gaming or geek related goods to the auction, please let Caitlin or Vera know A.S.A.P.! We hope to see lots of faces next weekend, both new and old. We know what a great community we have here and have already seen such a great outpouring of support. Thank you so much for helping us help others, and make a difference in this world!

The Joy of Painting

As many of you may or may not know, I fancy myself as something of a miniatures painter. I’ve got a lot of learning to do, but who doesn’t?

For many who frequent our store, painted minis are a nonentity, thanks to a little bit of CCG tunnel vision, but painted minis are pretty big, especially if you’re a minis gamer. But it bleeds over into Roleplaying too, as it’s pretty hard to say no to a fully painted miniature of your character!

Not too long ago, I opened up a Facebook page that is there to highlight my attempts at painting, and offer my services to people in need of minis painted. It’s called Studio V, and I offer up things I’ve painted for sale, and take commissions on stuff YOU may want painted. It’s an effort to extend my range a bit and get as much painting in as possible.

That being said, I also offer painting demos for folks new to the hobby, so if you’re ever interested, watch our schedule! I do them quite often!

If you’ve never painted a miniature before, don’t be afraid to give it a try! It’s not as hard as it looks! Nobody’s going to come out looking like an award winning painter, we’ve all gotta start somewhere, right?

I’ll give you an update when I schedule our next demo, but in the meantime, start practicing! There are so many cheap ways to get into the hobby! You can always pick up a Reaper Bones miniature (Which typically run around $2-$3 each), a paintbrush, and some paints, and you’re good to go! If you want to get into miniatures GAMING, but are afraid of costs, there’s always Malifaux! You can get started only by buying a crew box and a mini-rulebook! (usually somewhere around $60 total.)

You can check out my budding Facebook page/studio if you want to see some of my works, and don’t ever be afraid to ask for a demo or stop in to chat about the hobby!

https://www.facebook.com/StudioVminis

Next weekend is all about helping others

Next weekend is all about helping others! Join us on Saturday, October 11 for an All Day Roleplay-a-Thon (http://ow.ly/Cdg0e) and on Sunday, October 12 for a Charity Auction (http://ow.ly/Cddxl). Proceeds from both events will go towards helping a local mom and baby out of a homeless shelter and into an apartment. If you’d like to help out by lending your time to run an RPG or by donating some gaming or geek related goods to the auction, please let Caitlin or Vera know A.S.A.P.! We hope to see lots of faces next weekend, both new and old. We know what a great community we have here and have already seen such a great outpouring of support. Thank you so much for helping us help others, and make a difference in this world!

The Gaming Grounds Charity Roleplay-a-thon!

A little while ago, a very good friend of ours had a serious misfortune, and she and her baby wound up being homeless. And we’re not about to let this continue! As such, we’re organizing a roleplaying marathon on Saturday, October 11th, at 11am until close!
There will be a small donation/buy-in of $10, and there will be refreshments for everyone who attends.  as well as what games we’ll be playing, in a day or two.

Please consider coming, and helping out with the cause! If you’re a GM, and want to run/host a game for the event, also definitely let us know! More GMs means more games for everyone!

If you’ve got a particular game you want to see, such as Pathfinder, D&D, Exalted, Call of Cthulhu, etc, let us know!

You can RSVP here, or in store. We’re asking for donations of $10 each, 100% of which is going towards construction and restoration of an apartment that will be provided rent-free to Mom and Baby!

MagicMagicMagic

I know there are a multitude of “Magic Stores” around, and it’s easy to find one with more product, singles, and accessories than us. And you can certainly seek them out. We’ve never been, and never will be a dedicated “Magic Store.” It’s just not how we roll.

That being said, we got caught up in the other stuff we carry, and Magic fell to the wayside. And for THAT I want to offer my most heartfelt apology. While we may not be a “Magic Store,” lots of people who love us also love Magic, and we’re not going to ignore that.

So that being said, expect more Magic product back on the shelves soon, more card accessories, and more drafts/leagues, plus a revamped $2 Tuesday, as well as Modern tournaments for those who want them. And whether or not you want it, you’re going to start seeing a whole lot more Vera out there slinging cards with the rest of you guys! I’m a bit of a legacy player myself, but I can keep pace.

Why? because I love this place, and many others do. And we want to continue to be your game store. You mean the world to us, and it’s time we showed you how much!

We talked about alot of changes coming to GG, and this is one of so many. So please stick with us! We’re never going to have huge hundred man tournaments, or ludicrous prizes, because frankly, we’re a mom and pop business, so to speak, but we will bend over backwards to do what we can though!

Thank You!