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Opening a shop.


Hadier
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Ok, As my title says I am in the process of opening a local shop and would like to get some imput from you guys I mean i am opening it as a game store I know what I like but would like imput from some fellow gamers I am looking at opening this location because the only shop I have near me are 2 GW's.

 

Now than on to my question I am looking at carrying Warlord along with several other game systems but I am not going to get into that I was wondering what 2 armies would make a good demo set I am asking this because I have already picked up the rule book locally so all I would need is a basic starting army I was thinking Crusaders and Overlords. They seem like a simple good vs evil that players could relate to.

 

Also as a secondary question what point value is most games played at I am asking this so I can try to determine table size.

 

If this is in the wrong area or should not be up at all please either more or delete it. But if anyone has any experiance in this from previousally owning or currentally owning a shop I would be more than intrested in talking with you to try and pick your brain as I can use all the help I can get.

 

Thank you for your time.

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Crusaders & Necropolis would be best, IMHO. Both top sellers, and both very iconic. Plus, Necropolis has the most models in the LE line for people who don't like to paint.

Average game size is either 1000 or 1500, depending on personal preferences. I would encourage new players to start at 1000 after a few 500 point demo games.

 

One other misc piece of advice would be to advertise that you will happily special order anything you don't have in stock - both with a big sign near the checkout, and verbally whenever it comes up. Then, be sure to actually do that. ::): Even if it's a pain. Even if you don't make much on a particular order. You gotta make those customers feel like they never need to go anywhere else.

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My only suggestion in this regard is to skip the 6ft and 8ft tables and buy standard (or slightly oversized) card tables until you can find the time to build the higher tables that I see at most stores that run miniature wargames. Card tables have minimal overhang for most of the HeroClix maps and will support a 4x4 terrain board well enough to be stable and not risk the whole thing, armies and all, tumbling to the floor if someone gets a little too excited about a good roll.

 

Special orders are going to be your bread and butter if you want to minimize initial inventory costs and I cannot stress this enough... Sign up for Reaper's B2B Program as soon as you possibly can! It's entirely worth it!

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When I built the 6 6x4 tables for my local store we made three of them taller. They have since been cut down to normal table height. In general I would say that most miniature gamers are not overally fond of tall tables unless there is seating that will let them sit at the table and not feel like a small child sitting on phonebooks. One of the local stores has tall tables without adequate seating and they are universally despised by the local gaming community. I don't like to stand to play a miniatures game, I may do it, but I would at least like the choice. Also tall tables make it more difficult to reach towards the center of the board. Since you can't lean in to increase your reach you are limited by how long your arm is. Us shorter folks without the gorilla arms don't like that much either.

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yah my plans were to keep tables at about waist height and was actually thinking about having them on door hinges with sliding bolt locks so I can fold them up aginst the wall I am palnning on selling more than just wargames I am planning on sellng cards, comics, and games I can totally belive that a wargames store has a hard time but my plans are to spread my market out too so along with all those other things I listed I am planning to sell rpg's as well i am looking at D&D and White Wolf products

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Well, not gonna try to tell you where to put your tables, but I guess it all depends on if you prefer to have your sellables on the wall or on floor racks.

 

The biggest thing is they need to be sturdy wherever you put them. People will be leaning on them, against them, etc.. Not sure wall fold downs will cut it.

 

Personally, tall or short, the thing that I have most enjoyed about my store compared to past stores is that they use the space under the tables to store terrain. And they do it in a fairly decent organized way such that the terrain pieces dont get torn up after a use or two.

 

A for lines to carry, one suggestion I would give, no matter which game you buy into, I would suggest getting yourself a small display case. Nothing fancy, but something that can hold a decent selection of minis. And either yourself, your friends, your hired hands, or get one of these online paintshacks to paint up a small army from each line. They dont have to be show quality stuff by any means, just need to be accessible. You want peopl to buy warlord models? Then learn how o play warlord and be ready to either teach or at least let others use your warlord models from the case to play a game. Same with any other game set that you want to sell. You dont need every model. Just enough to reach people's tastebuds.

 

Next, sign up boards. And make them VERY visible. And fill them up with info. Again be as accessible as possible. People get timid in new stores. They tend to not want to ask people the opening linequestions. But, if they see big signs answering their questions before they ask, then they dont have as hard a time asking the follow up questions.

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I opened a shop last year, and lasted nearly a year, but mine was a bit different because I, other than the usual MTG and standard fare, put in xbox 360's and linked them all together. If I had to do it over again, I wouldnt have done the 360's, only because the town I am in is too poor for people to consistently pay for time. I had 10 of them, and the set-up was amazing. Anyway, my advice with Warlord or any other game is this: You're job is not to win at the games you play, but rather to show different ways of winning and combos, and little used components (cards, figures, etc), so people can get excited about more than just the powerhouse stuff. It means you have to play without ego, and take some losses to some chumpy players, but your not in business to be the best player, but to feed yourself and your family. Thats not to say you lose every game, but dont just play the power stuff. For example, in my old favorite game that I dont play anymore, MTG, I would put together some pretty strong decks, but mostly I played a lot of decks with long, convuluted combos, just to show cards from much older sets that newer players might not otherwise see, and that gets them to buy your other stuff. Also, keep the gaming mood light, as that is much more conducive to newer players who usually feel pretty nervous the first time they sit down with a bunch of experienced players. As for a game like Warlord, I would go Crusaders and Necropolis, as they give two completely different looks at armies, and people relate to good vs. undead pretty easily. If I were you, I would set up flavor armies instead of two strong armies, and let the players discover stuff for themselves. Its funner for them, and more profitable for you.

 

In conclusion, I wish you all the luck you need. Its tough, but it can be the funnest time ever.

 

Sorry for the long winded answer, but this is something Ive thought a lot about if someone would ever ask what I would say.

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I would like to chime in on the tables for your new store.

 

I would go with 2'x6' folding tables. That way you have the most flex. 4 of them gets you a 4'x12' for 3- 4'x4' tourney type spaces, turn them the other way and you have a 6'x8' for big games, split them apart and you have room for 8 card players in 2 rows or 2 sets of RPGs on 4'x6' tables. The last ones I bought a Lowes for a Church yard sale were not very expensive either.

 

Good luck with the store. I would also think about opening an online shop as well, you just need an inventory system that lends itself to web-based data base. IMHO a brick-and-morter shop in today's climate cannot survive on its own, you need to be on the web, if only on eBay.

 

Cheers,

Brian

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I have definate plans to open a website I have signed up for some classes at my local CC and my plans are doors open by october of next year but that can ajust and change I am not hard and fast with anything. If any of you guys know a decent client to run a website off of I would be very intrested for when the time comes.

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One of the local stores has tall tables without adequate seating and they are universally despised by the local gaming community.

That's not why I despise that store - I despise them because they say they'll do my special order, then fail to follow through, and keep me waiting for over a month before even admitting they haven't placed it yet!

 

So I echo what has been said about special orders - make the effort to do them for your customers because it will keep them coming back and make relatively loyal to you. Screw up special orders, and you've likely lost the customer for good.

 

Have a decent selection of dice, too. Gamers all love dice, and that's one area you shouldn't skimp on, plus it doesn't take much space.

 

On the subject of tables - in my opinion, the best bet is something modular. The 2x6 folding tables are a good suggestion, followed by some 4x4, 4x6 and/or 4x8 (or even 6x6 and 6x8) game boards that can be placed either directly on the tables or on short pedestals made of 2x4s to raise them up. That gives you a lot of flexibility to accomodate most games and gamers preferences.

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Have to whole-heartedly agree with Jason regarding display cases with painted miniatures. As much as I dislike the Evil Empire (aka GW), I *still* stop by their damn store every time I'm at the mall. Why? Painted figs in the display cases, right where everyone can see them. And because the display cases get me to stop, every so often I even buy something (glue, flock, a storage case, whatever), despite my general feelings about supporting that company.

 

While Gus' recommendation regarding demo armies has some definite merit, I'd say that Crusaders and Necros are stuff that you'd actually want as wall stock, rather than demo. They sell well because Crusaders are little more than warriors, paladins and clerics for RPGs, and practically every game can make use of the undead of the Necros. ; they'll move whether or not Warlord takes off with your local gaming community. However, for actual painted armies for demo purposes, I'd think that showcasing the factions that are a bit more unique for Warlord would be the way to go. Things like the Reptus, Bloodstone Gnomes, Lupines or Razig might pack a little more punch from the visual interest perspective when shown off in a display case. Then when someone wants to play one of those factions, as others have suggested, just be prepared to special order those figs ASAP to meet the demand. Keep some Casket Works around the shop for that very prupose too. ::):

 

~v

Edited by Shakandara
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