Tonight before gaming, John texted me to let me know that Classified, the James Bond 007 retroclone, was back in stock at the Source. As I walked into the store, Burl greeted me with a friendly, “You must be here to look at Classified!”
I was a little surprised, but also reminded again of how amazing a store the Source is. In fact, as I’ve said elsewhere, I think I could make a pretty strong argument that the Source is the best FLGS in the universe. Follow my logic:
- They have a simply huge stock of stuff. Pretty much anything you could want is already on the shelves. They have a vast selection of D&D books (whichever edition); pretty much any kind of die you could want, from multicolored Fate dice to blank D20s to glow in the dark dice to more common things like Gamescience precision dice or multicolored Chessex dice. They have a whole shelf full of just indie games.
- It’s not perfectly organized, but it’s fairly good. The RPGs, for example, are mostly in alphabetical by system.
- The books are mostly unwrapped, so you can see what you’re getting.
- There is generous gaming space — easily enough for your gaming group to get a table all to themselves, most of the time, even when there’s a major event going on.
- The employees are generally very respectful, even helpful. And there are even women on staff!
- They have RPGs, boardgames, CCGs, comics, manga, miniatures and general fannish paraphernalia, all under one roof. And their selection of any one of those things is quite excellent. They’re not just a comics store that keeps a few boardgames in stock, or a CCG dealer who also dabbles in RPGs; they probably rival any store around for any one of those categories. And put together, they’re a titan of fannish consumerism in one place.
- They understand the concept of a ‘sale’. They’ll occasionally put old, dust-collecting things on special discount. They even usually have a $1 shelf — some of which is just bizarre, but some of which can be buried treasure. I think I found my copy of Arrowflight there.
- They’re very well tapped into the Twin Cities gaming scene. One of the owners is also a co-author for many Tekumel books, for example. They have fairly good bulletin board space, and they have a pretty strong presence at local fannish conventions.
- I keep mentioning their stock, but it’s also worth noting that they have tons of hard-to-find or out-of-print games, right there on the shelves. There’s a recent thread on RPGnet about how apparently the A Song of Ice and Fire game is very hard to find. Well, the Source has apparently spoiled me, because when I read that thread, I found myself thinking “But doesn’t your FLGS keep ASOIAF on the shelves?” I guess not every FLGS does! Earlier, someone was looking for the GM screen for The One Ring. Again, my reaction was “…but the Source has several copies in stock!” And every year, when I hear people getting psyched about seeing games for the first time at GenCon, I wonder to myself, “…but didn’t I already see that game at the Source?” And I could probably name a dozen others books that they similarly stock, in spite of the games’ apparently rarity. The Source has spoiled me for apparently hard-to-find games.
- My personal favorite: they sell Blade & Crown!
Okay, but the universe? That’s kind of hyperbole, but a) the US, being the empire that it is, is probably a center for FLGSs in the world, b) I think that gaming and fandom are a pretty uniquely human thing, and c) humans are probably unique in the universe. QED.
And if you’re wondering, like I was: Burl had talked with John about Classified, and John had told him that he was texting me about the game being in stock. Not too often you get an FLGS employee who has his finger so well on the pulse of the local gaming scene!