Get In The Game is a weekly column by Dan Yarrington, managing partner of Myriad Games in Manchester & Salem, New Hampshire, Treasurer of the Professional Game Store Association, and Editor-in-Chief of GameSalute.com. This week, Yarrington goes to the game store of the future.
Welcome back to Get In The Game, a column that focuses on proactive ways we can improve the games industry. This week, we’ll gaze into the crystal ball and gain some insight into what could be in store for friendly local gamers and game stores. Welcome… to the future!
You are Ernest Q. Hemmingsworth the IV, Esquire. While traveling to work, you’re listening to the latest episode of your favorite show about tabletop games. The hosts mention a recent release that sounds interesting: D&D: The Mystical Kingdom of the Mushroom Gods, the twelfth standalone game in the D&D Cooperative Adventure Boardgame series from Wizards of the Coast. It sounds like they did something really neat with the fungi advancement rules. You click a button on your play-list and add it to your wish list. You continue to the listen to the rest of their lively banter.
When you arrive at work, you take a quick look at the news of the day and you see that there are two new releases from your wish list coming out this week. You notice another title--just announced--that sound potentially interesting, so you add those to your “To Play” list. You also receive a courtesy notification from your favorite local game store reminding you about upcoming Warma-Pocalypse event coming up this Saturday. You click a button and pre-register.
During lunch, your usual game-playing buddies have a meeting, so you while away the hour over egg-salad, checking out the digital preview version of one of the titles you saw earlier. It’s a new title called Princes of Alhamaster Hollow,which according to the early notices from critics, has very good re-playability and is an interesting blend of area control, tile management, and unique character advancement. You see that the project is currently in the funding stage to get the game printed and there are special achievements available for supporters. You click a button and pledge your support.
After a rousing afternoon of meetings and phone calls, you wrap up at your work terminal before heading home. You receive a notice from your local store that about an hour ago they received and reserved the latest faction expansion box for Stellar Cowboy (complete with 18 new models for your posse). They also have the special preorder early release copy of the Wild Bastions of Evercraft campaign setting that you’ve been anticipating for months. You reply with a quick message that you’ll be by this evening on your way home.
After fighting your way through the usual commuter traffic and the gathering gloom, you pull into your convenient local shopping center and see the welcoming glow of the sign for Games, Games, and More Games, your favorite local gaming shoppe. As you enter the bright, well-appointed space, the monitors display the latest trailer for the upcoming Twilight Imperium 7: Warp Drive. Your jaw drops, in awe of the amazing quality on the new masterfully painted models and the fact that they’ve streamlined play into 2 hour sessions (to be played weekly over a year for the full game experience). The friendly staff welcomes you and notes that your reserved items are all set aside in your bin. They invite you to browse while you’re here and even give you a complimentary bottle of Jordy’s Caffeine-Free All-Natural Stimulant-Enhancement Beverage to enjoy while you browse.
You peruse the shelves and as you pass by the kids section, a screen there catches your eye with a clip of a family playing Eleminis: The Dice Game. It looks quick and fun and you think the kids might like it. One of the employees passes by, notices your interest, and mentions that they have a special Launch Promo Card with Bonus Rules available this week, since the game just came out. You thank them and let them know you’ll think about it.
As you pass by the area overlooking the game room, you notice that there are a couple of games in progress and the current local leaderboards on the wall have just updated with a new Champion of Dominion. RTooff has just overtaken Red Juggernaut. The screen shifts to a new game and you see your own name there for most plays of The Walking Dead: The Cooperative Living Card Game of Survival Horror. Looks like Rodney D. is sneaking up on you there. You tap a couple of buttons on your phone and add The Walking Dead LCG to your “To Play” list.
The new Mutants & Masterminds 15th Edition is just calling to you as you walk through the RPG section and you add it to your “Wish List” and receive the complimentary preview app with the last two weeks’ updates already pre-installed. You post to your page letting your friends know that you picked it up and reminding 4 of them that your new campaign will be starting in a few weeks, once the new version releases.
After spending entirely more time than you expected browsing, you head to the counter. Your stack of games is ready and waiting for you. The same gent that was helping you previously asks if you wanted to go ahead and pick up Eleminis: The Dice Game to play tonight with the kids. You decide, what the heck, and add it to the pile. Your stack contains your new Stellar Cowboy miniatures, your Wild Bastions of Evercraft bonus preview copy, the dice game, a copy of Dune: The Sands of Life from the game library to try out at home, and The Game Bugle, Issue #175. Once you confirm everything is in order, they pop everything into a handy cardboard game-carrying box emblazoned with the store logo and ring the purchase off your account. You receive a message with your receipt and a note that the digital version of The Game Bugle has been added to your reading queue.
You say your goodbyes, call out a hearty “have a good game” to the folks playing, and hop in the car for home. When you arrive, you settle in to dinner and then play a quick game with the kids before bundling them off to bed. You add your new miniatures to your “To Paint” shelf in the game room and settle in on the couch to browse through the rules for Dune. Fifteen minutes in, you can’t believe how innovative these mechanics are. You pull up your Game Library “At Home” list and click the “buy now” button to add the game to your collection. A minute later, you receive a message with your receipt for that purchase, letting you know the total remaining on your account. You spend the next 15 minutes checking out all the pieces, sorting things, and then packing up the game for next Tuesday night.
Before you get to bed that night, you read some articles from the Bugle and find some other neat events coming up at a regional convention near you. You add those to your watch list as potential events for your calendar. As your head hits the pillow, you close your eyes and let your mind wander. You smile as you think of cardboard adventures and tabletop encounters to be had in the days and weeks ahead, of family game nights and weekend game marathons, of charity tournaments, and launch celebrations. It’s great to be a gamer.
Welcome… to the future! What’s missing? What do you want in the game stores of the future? Talk Back today! What are you waiting for? Get In The Game!
The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of ICv2.com.