Today I wanted to take a step back and give a little love. As you all know, tabletop gaming requires a couple things: armies, table space, and someone to play against. Most of us know of a place we can go to play, most have someone to play against, and almost all of us have our own armies. That's all good, but what about challenges, leagues, playing against new players, tournaments, and campaigns? For these, we are going to have to find a hobby store that caters to this need or at the very least can give us a place and platform to go off of.
With that in mind, I would like to highlight the two stores that really got me into the hobby and some of the neat things about them: Gamer's Haven of Greenville and Blue Ox Games.
Now I chose these two stores because they are the ones that got me into Warhammer 40k. I had known about the game for several years because of Evan, but I never really took the time to try and get into it. One night, while waiting in line for the release of Space Marine on the XBox 360, Matt, the owner of Gamer's Haven, walked by handing out business cards and a Magic Deck. I took it and really didn't think too much about it after that.
I started playing Space Marine and realized that it was a cool game, but I needed a little bit more background because I was trying to figure out what faction to create my character under. I found the Space Wolves and slowly started to research them. I started with everything I could find on Games Workshop's website, Lexicanum, and any other site out there. I finally remembered the card, walked into Matt's store, and slowly began to look at the models. I didn't know what I was looking for, or what I should buy, but I was just learning. I found the Space Wolf Models and Boom, I was hooked. I started to use the hobby to release stress (mainly through painting) and slowly started to build an army.
So that's how I found out about the store, but what does it offer? Matt's store is amazing. It has plenty of tables (last time I was there it was at least 5 4'x6'), terrain to help make the field unique, and Matt is always willing to lend a hand. He has also room and tables set up for painting. Not only that, but the guys that pop in to play weekly games, play in the tournaments, and play Apoc Games are always looking to have fun, have a challenge, and have a good game.
Gamer's Haven offers nightly events from RPG campaigns in Pathfinder, D&D, and Iron Kingdoms, to Warhammer, Warhammer 40k, Warmachine, and Magic. Generally, if you want to play, someone will be there to take the challenge. Matt also does monthly tournaments for almost all game systems, so check out the website, Twitter, and Facebook to see if he has something going on that you might be interested in. I personally have never had a bad experience there and recommend it highly.
My other home store was that of Blue Ox Games. Blue Ox Games is right down the road from Gamer's Haven and you will see a lot of the same guys floating between the stores for different tournaments, events, and other games.
When I first walked into Blue Ox, I was looking to see what they had in the way of Games. I walked in, saw that they were playing 40k and asked some questions. After talking to Harry (the owner) and a couple of other guys, I quickly realized that it was an awesome place to chill and play. They have a great setup there as well. Open Space, lots of tables for every type of game, board games, Heroclix, Magic, X-Wing, Fantasy, and 40k to name a few.
They also hosted the first league I participated in. It was an "Escalation" league where each month the point total went up. Starting with 200 points just troops, 400 pts. Troops and HQ, 1000 pts Force Org, and finally ending at 1850. It was an awesome way to learn the game better (this was at the tail end of 5th) and it was a cool setup. Check the website, Twitter, Facebook, and info page for everything up coming from those guys.
(All pictures provided by Blue Ox Games' Website, Facebook, and Instagram or Gamer's Haven of Greenville's Website, Facebook, and Twitter. Thanks for your support guys.)