FLGS? What, did you forget the A? Why are you talking about flags on a gaming blog?
Silly patron, FLGS means “friendly local game store.” These are magical places where you are not a lone hobbyist trying to convince others that board games are awesome. These are places stocked with wooden bits, just waiting for you to plunk down your hard-earned (and sometimes hardly earned) cash. So do you have a FLGS? Do you shop there? Do you think others should? Answer in the comments!
I don’t really have a FLGS that’s super close, but I count Fair Game as my store. Since it’s not all that close, I don’t go in often, but I appreciate the friendly and knowledgeable staff. I also like that the store is laid out well, and while it’s obviously a haven for nerds, you don’t feel like you are bombarded with nerd vibes when you walk in. Basically, it’s a place I can take my wife without her feeling she needs a shower afterward. (Though it’s right next door to a yarn shop, and when we make a trip together, we usually split up.) This store also has open gaming on Saturday nights (though I’ve only played once; I’ve gone twice…).
The idea of supporting a FLGS is appealing to me, but I don’t do it as often as I’d like, mostly because no store really feels “local.” My store certainly is friendly, though.
I wish I had a more local FLGS, but even though my location is fairly close to @FarmerLenny’s, I prefer the oh-so-epic Games Plus. The place doesn’t look like much from the outside (each friend i’ve brought there has been quite underwhelmed at the front door) but upon entering it is much like walking through the wardrobe into Narnia. There are shelves and shelves of all the glorious things us gamers love. There’s the Warhammer 40k section, multiple large shelves of board games, and stacks upon stacks of RPG source books. The walls are lined with minis, there’s a section for landscape modeling, shelves of extra gaming bits like cubies and card sleeves, and boatloads of dice. Okay, so it is definitely geek city, and your non-gamer wife/girlfriend/friend may feel overwhelmed and uncomfortable there. But I don’t go there for them, I go there for me.
Unfortunately it’s really too far away to visit regularly, which is too bad because I wouldn’t mind participating in their gaming events. But I do take a special trip out there now and again, mostly to buy useful supplies like card boxes, bits, and RPG supplies. (Incidentally, this is a clear reason why mine and @Farmerlenny’s preference differs; Fair Game is a great store, but it’s exclusively board games, while I have a gaming group that plays RPGs as well).
If you’re in the chicagoland area, definitely give it a check-out.
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Not to be too contrary, Futurewolfie (okay, our site is predicated on contrarianism), but Fair Game has a fair amount of RPG stuff, too. You were probably too busy thinking about your next Twilight Imperium day to notice.
Sadly, no. Well, yeah, there are three of them, but they only really focus on Warhammer, D&D, and Magic. The board game sections are very weak. One of them is like crawling into a cave. The other, while clean and well-lit, is small. The third is sort of in-between on quality, but does at least have an active game group that meets weekly (though I’ve not yet had time to check it out).
My nirvana experience with game stores is with Gnome Games in Green Bay, WI, when I visit my brother-in-law and his family. That store (2 of them in the area) is inviting, well-stocked in all genres, with a friendly and knowledgable staff. They are also well-connected to gaming groups and the community at large. They even have a program that takes games to local schools for activities and such.