The Importance of Tabletop

Today, I am going to write a rousing article today about the importance of tabletop gaming. I could simply tell you that nothing beats a night of gaming with your friends and family. That’s more than enough of an argument. No elaboration needed. But what kind of fun would that be? Let me take you on a trip down memory lane…

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When I was young, I was admittedly a video game junkie. I spent my days holed up in my room with my controller in hand and snacks nearby. Loud digital noises assailed my ears, bright pixels assaulted my eyes. And life was good. It was a solitary one though.

Jump ahead to high school, where I picked up Magic the Gathering. I found that there was a certain magic (forgive the pun) that came from spending my time in the school foyer playing with other social outcasts. (Magic was very much a niche thing back then.) It  was the gateway to a lifetime of tabletop experiences.

In college a certain little anime known as Dragonball Z was a big deal. This was the Toonami era. Students of all kinds stuffed themselves into lounges to watch the next exciting installment, and we usually hung around to talk about it afterwards. So, you can imagine my excitement when I visited a local game store down the street from campus, and found that they had a Dragonball Z role-playing game! I had never run an RPG before, but I figured that it would be time to learn. We got a group together and had a blast. And that was it. Tabletop gaming was now a passion rather than a hobby.

I still take time to play, as often as I can. Every week, my friends and I get together, head out to fill our bellies with local Kent cuisine, (Have you ever had a slice of Ramella’s pizza?) and we settle in for a night of gaming. We typically cycle through Dungeons and Dragons one week, and Scion the next, with a smattering of board games for good measure. It’s the thing I look forward to the most every week.

Why? Because there’s something just flat out magical about tabletop gaming, something you just can’t get from a video game or anything else. A group of people playing a board game aren’t just playing, they’re in a battle of wits. Resources are bought and sold, territories are conquered, and deals are made. It brings out our ruthless sides, as well as our benevolent sides. We eliminate our rivals, or we work together to defeat a malicious threat.

Togetherness is the point.  It’s all about being there, in the moment with your hearty band of adventurers. It’s about looking around the table and wondering which of your friends is going to go turncoat and knock you out of the game. It’s about an experience you just can’t get with a headset and an Xbox live account.

As long as there are people who want to play together, to have fun together, and maybe throw down some dice (together!), there will always be a place in the world for tabletop games.

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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!

Supply and Demand

I’ve talked before about supporting small businesses. You can go back a bit and read that blog entry if you’re interested. 

 

I’m kind of going to go a little further on that front, and talk about something a little more close to home.  

You might not know this, but we game store owners are not fabulously wealthy. We have families to support, mouths to feed, and the future to save up for, same as you. For those of us who choose to make this our livelihood, we’re equal parts insane and hopeful. Sure there are other game store owners out there who want to be an all encompassing game monopoly, or ones who are concerned with being THE BEST at whatever game they support, but for most of us, all we want is to go day to day. And we really love and care for our stores and our community, because they’re our livelihood, and even more importantly, because gaming NEEDS a community to stay strong and healthy. 

Now let’s talk about bigger stores and BIG BOX retailers. They are more than willing to put down absurd amounts of money on products, because they can usually move them pretty easily. (Be it impulse purchases near the checkout lane, or massive amounts of theft at your local Wal-Mart or Target.) But they’re usually okay with it. They have millions of dollars to work with. They can afford to take a hit if things don’t sell. And yes, game companies eat this up. (Not all, but there are a couple) and go so far as to limit traditional game stores in favor of the big boxes. And this is terrible. 

We rely heavily on pre-orders and interest to gauge how much our communities want a new game. If there isn’t a buzz about it, we won’t invest heavily into it. Because if it doesn’t sell, we’re in trouble if we put a ton of money into it. If a new Magic set comes out, and nobody pre-orders a box or two, we might not stock much of it, because the interest doesn’t seem to be there. 

That’s why we at GG are very supportive of special orders. (We even offer discounts for it.) Because it doesn’t take us that long to get you a game you want, and it helps us make sure that if we order it, somebody will want it. 

Now why talk about the differences in the two kinds of stores again? Because its relevant. People will go to Wal-Mart, buy tons of packs of the latest CCG, then tap themselves out. Then they go to the local game store, and find they have packs there. But they won’t buy them because they tapped out their wallets. And if enough people do this, you have people sitting around playing, which is awesome, but with cards they picked up from bigger stores. Which is awesome for them, but doesn’t help keep the doors open for your local game store. 

And yes, I admit that I don’t always carry alot of CCG boosters. And that is typically your reason. I spend a lot of my days watching people come in and brag about what they bought at a bigger store, or about huge events at other stores. And I say “Well if they’re getting it there, I’m going to focus on other things that sell well here!” It’s a logical reaction. And one that helps keep a roof over my head. And while it’s good for the player who found the cards wherever, it’s bad for their local game stores, where events can be run. 

And people might say “Well I don’t have a lot of money, can I trade cards in?” And the answer to that is usually “sure!” But then if the case is filled with singles that don’t sell, it becomes a losing proposition. Why take in what won’t sell for things that do? It’s bad for everyone, because then I can’t focus on stocking the shelves with things you DO want. 

I had considered how to say this, but I’ll be blunt: If you don’t get your product from a game store, you won’t HAVE a game store. It really is that simple. For many of us, this is a labor of love. We love what we do, and are willing to accept that it’s going to be hard. But we keep it up out of love. Our community means everything to us, but we need a little help from them to keep things going. And that help comes in the form of buying product from us, or spreading the word about us to new people. Gaming is an activity that is meant to be shared by everyone, and big retailers don’t give a crap about it. 

And yes, you might say “well that’s fine, because if you go down, there will be other places to go.” 

And if that’s your mentality, then well…You’re a terrible human being. 

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Malifaux Party: It’s like a party for Malifaux!

It’s no secret I love Malifaux. We’ve gone there. But now it’s time to bring those who love Malifaux together!

THIS Saturday, January 11th, we’re throwing a big Malifaux bash! We’ll have sales, gameplay, painting sessions, snacks, and more! It’s time for us to kickstart a whole new season of Malifaux adventure! We’ll be having our weekly Malifaux days every Thursday and Saturday as well, so we can get tons of gameplay going on!

I really hope to see you here, if you’re able!

Here’s our event page for more info! https://www.facebook.com/events/240739729435503/

THAT GUY

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We all know that guy. The one who takes everything seriously. TOO seriously. Playing with him in a game can be a nerve-wracking experience, as his icy, humorless gaze stares at you from across the table. He knows all the rules of the game, and will catch you in the most minor of mistakes. And he’ll do it all while maintaining his trademark frown.

We’ve played with these kinds of folks before. We can call them all kinds of things, tryhards, rules lawyers, minmaxers, whatever you want to say about them. They’re folks who treat cooperative gaming like it’s a war, and he’s the only one coming out alive.

And that friends, is going to happen. It’s a part of gaming. People all love their games in their own way. But frankly, while you can love your game, you don’t have a free ticket to be an ass.

Part of accepting people in your gaming community is realizing that it takes all kinds. You’ve got to rein in the extremes. But this message isn’t for those who tolerate these kinds of players, it’s for those who ARE those kinds of players.

People ask me why I stopped playing Magic. Truth is, it was THAT guy. I’m a pretty casual player, and I love using unusual cards in my decks. I sit down to play a game, and all I hear is “Ew. You play that card? Who plays LANDS?” or some variant. Well let me tell you something you jerk. I PLAY THOSE CARDS. Your opinion is not appreciated or wanted. Especially not in a condescending tone. Games just stopped being fun because people want to play super hardcore and fill their decks with money so they can crush their opponents.

Of course, this was also my first experience with D&D. I got involved in a group that didn’t really want new players, and they criticized every step of my character creation. “WHAT KIND OF MONK USES UNARMED ATTACKS?” Um….BADASS MONKS?

And it’s not just these games of course. All games have you guys. And you make us all sick. Stop. Here are some tips for helping you in this epic quest:

1.) If you win, don’t be an arrogant jerk.

2.) If you lose, don’t rage out.

3.) Try to refrain from insulting your opponent’s deck, army, character, or play style.

4.) Realize that the game you play the most isn’t the only valid game in existence. Or the only game in existence in general. It’s NOT.

5.) If you have time to criticize a bad play, or a lack of rules knowledge, you have time to TEACH. Use your knowledge for good, not as a way to get an inexperienced opponent in trouble with judges or gamemasters.

6.) Get your head out of your ass. Really.

7.) Overall, just be respectful!

8.) Grow a personality. Nobody wants to play a robot.

That’s all. It’s not hard. You just have to be a person. A fleshy creature with emotions, common sense, and squishy squishy organs.

If gaming is a war, remember you’re not an army of one. You have a group that will probably roll their eyes when you walk in, or just avoid you altogether. And they outnumber you. So you lose out in the end.

Knowing is half the battle.

I freaking love Malifaux part two: Paint Abominations

So I talked about Malifaux a few days ago, and mentioned how much I love it. I have a few painted models I felt like sharing for everyone.

I’m not an expert painter by any means, but hey, I try.

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We’ve got Nightmare Teddy and Avatar Rasputina!

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Ten Thunders Archers: I HAD three of them, but one is missing a head. And I have NO idea how to get another head without buying a whole new box. I’m kind of upset about it really.

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Ten Thunders Brothers. I’ve had these guys for ages, but then when we got Ten Thunders as a faction, they finally saw play!

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Torakage, Ten Thunders Ninja at large. Fun Fact: I’m also a Naruto fan, so at the time, I patterned the one on the right with the colors of Tobi’s mask. (which was orange at the time.)

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Misaki, my crew’s master (middle), Shang, her nine tailed totem, and Yamaziko, an old lady with a spear. Painting Misaki orange is what pretty much started my whole color scheme for the crew.

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Ototo and Yin, the Penanggalan. If you don’t know what a Penanggalan is, it’s essentially a floating head and entrails that separate from their bodies at night and fly around looking for victims. And Ototo there? He’s just a guy. Smashing his tetsubo down on some poor Guardsman.

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Now we jump to Tara, Herald of Oblivion, master of another crew. That’s her pal Karina on the right. I wanted to go with a sort of Arrancar theme for them. And bonus points if you know what that is. Problem is, I can’t paint skin. It always comes out terrible. >_<

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The Nothing Beast. Tara’s best pal, and one huge dude.

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Void Wretches: Cute little monsters from Tara’s crew. I regret not green stuffing that line down the middle of the center one, but I like the color scheme anyway.

So there you have it, a couple of my crews. They’re not the best paint jobs out there, but I kind of like them. I guess. I’m also working on Lilith and Seamus, so those may be up soon too. :p

Thanks for reading, as always!