First I should mention that I’m lucky to live in an area with two great game stores, Games of Berkeley in Berkeley and Endgame in Oakland. Given how small our hobby is, it’s a luxury to have one local game shop. Having two is a rare treat indeed.
That said, the other day highlighted a huge difference between the two stores. Last Thursday I was in Berkeley, killing time before my Pendragon game, and I thought I would head into Games of Berkeley to check out the new White Wolf game Scion. White Wolf is one of the larger game publishers, and Scion is their hot new game. It was released earlier in the week, and I thought for sure that by Thursday it would be out on the shelves on both stores. When I couldn’t find it at GoB, I asked an employee about when it might be in and secretly hoping they might have some stashed away in the back. The response I got was, “Scion? What’s that?” Yikes. She then asked a manager (owner?) about it, and he said he’d ordered two copies not long ago, and expected them in soon. He then asked me what it was. Double Yikes.
I mean, you don’t have to like a game, but if you work in/run a game store you should know about the major new releases. I had the same problem when I asked an employee about the Exalted Second Edition book a year ago. Exalted is one of the most popular games out there, and he had no idea what is was. That’s like asking an employee in an auto parts store where the oil filters are, and being asking what an oil filter is.
Endgame, on the other hand, sent out a “New Releases” email on Thursday that included a description of Scion and some information about why you might want to check it out. They not only knew what products they were selling, but were actively trying to make sure gamers knew they were now available. That’s a big difference, and why I prefer Endgame over Games of Berkeley for all my gaming needs.