On my way through Duluth yesterday, I stopped at an FLGS I’d heard of: Dungeons End. (No apostrophe.) Seems like the Duluth area has several FLGSs; I think I decided to check this one out more or less at random.
I’m glad I picked Dungeons End, because it seems like quite a good store. They’re doing a lot of things right:
- They have a small, but good, selection of RPGs. The usual D&D and Pathfinder, but also Fiasco, Fate, GURPS and quite a few others. They have a small but interesting selection of used games, too. I picked up a copy of Advanced Melee. They also have a pretty hefty selection of miniatures and boardgames.
- They have the largest stock of 20+ dice I’ve seen in person since the 1980s! I’ve raved about these dice before, but suffice to say, they’re D20s with 0-9 twice, and a little “+” on half the faces. Dungeons End has opaque 20+ dice in quite a few colors, though I’m afraid they may no longer have any transparent ones — I think I bought out their whole stock.
- They have quite a nice newsletter. It mostly consists of the monthly event calendar, but it also features a “featured game of the month” column, a few pointers to web resources for gaming and (my favorite) an obituary column for beloved but now dead PCs.
- There are tons of events on that calendar. The day I got there, a Monday, there were no fewer than four scheduled events on the calendar, and it looked like there were a couple unlisted RPGs going on as well. It looks like they’re trying to be a center for the gaming community of Duluth, and that is a very good thing.
- They have tons of gaming space: according to the newsletter, “over 2300 sq. ft.” And they have something I haven’t seen before, at least not in person: semi-private rooms, which I presume can be reserved. So if you want space to run your RPG, but you also don’t want the noise of a big common room with cement floors, they’ve got you covered. As I was looking around, several of the rooms were being used, as well as lots of general table seating. It also appeared that they have a kitchen available!
- Another thing I’ve never seen before was storage lockers. They have a bank of storage lockers, presumably for use by gamers who need a place to keep their minis, MtG or precious collection of Gamescience dice. Cool!
- There are tons of parking, including a large lot behind the store.
- The place seemed very friendly to women. I saw several women gaming there, and I didn’t feel gawked at or patronized while I was looking around.
- Related to this, the employees seemed generally friendly. One wanted to explain to me what a 20+ was — kinda unnecessary, but I can’t blame them for wanting to try, since 20+ dice are not common knowledge. It didn’t come across as patronizing, just “here’s something you might not know about these…”
Were there any downsides? Not really. There was someone rather noisily practicing drumming on a drum pad, pretty much the whole time I was in the store, and that was a bit annoying, but it quickly became background noise.
Overall, Dungeons End seems like a pretty great store, one that I would probably make a regular stop if I lived in Duluth.