Monday, June 28, 2010

Game Shop Notes #2: Playin' Games

I was planning this post and decided to walk over to Museum Street one lunchtime and check my facts (like any good reporter). What a shock to find the shop stripped bare and locked up. Gone! And no note on the door with a new address. So who knows if Playin' Games has a future or if they are gone forever.

This is a sad loss of a prime showcase for the hobby. It was a handsome blue shopfront with an appealing window display and lots of the more accessible games on the ground floor. Downstairs there was a really good selection of Eurogames and wargames, with a big RPG section as well. The staff were always friendly and helpful to me, but I gather they could be less helpful to women and other people outside the hobby - an unfortunate attribute given their position in the heart of tourist London (opposite the British Museum).

I spent quite a bit of money in there over the years, but I guess they were being squeezed by online discounters like Infinity Games. I fear for our local game shops.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Game Shop Notes #1: The Orc's Nest

This little shop on Earlham Street in Covent Garden has a big street presence, thanks to the distinctive yellow and white hazard striping around the shop front. This pattern always reminds me of Games Workshop Warhammer 40K artwork, so it was perhaps forgivable of me to walk in a few years ago and ask if they had any genestealer figurines in stock. That question got a very chilly reception I can tell you. This shop is most definitely not a Games Workshop stockist, but they do stock a lot of figures and suchlike from GW competitors. In fact the whole of the (tiny) ground floor is devoted to miniatures, magazines and CCG booster packs. But it's upstairs where the real treasures (for someone like me) are to be found. Up the clattery Red Dwarf style stairs to the little mezzanine floor where they keep a surprisingly good selection of wargames and Eurogames. Everything from ASL Action Packs to Runebound expansion decks, taking in all stations from the latest Simmons to Ticket to Ride on the way. Sure, the staff here are famously surly, but that's kind of part of the place's character, and when you do get a wry smile or an audible response, you feel like you've really arrived. Quirky, unique, irreplaceable- and very convenient for the lab. I'd really miss it.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Banks and Braes etc

Where to start?

I'm just back from nearly three weeks in Scotland with Sue, walking the West Highland Way followed by the Great Glen Way. In other words, we walked from Glasgow to Inverness, taking in a couple of Munros along the way.

My legs are tired.

I fell in love with Scotland all over again. What amazing scenery! Glencoe in particular is stunning. Mind you, the country isn't perfect. For example, they have way too relaxed an attitude to pooing in the open up there. Along the banks of Loch Lomond or anywhere along the WHW, every potential lunch stop has its quota of used loo paper lying on the ground, flies buzzing around. For goodness sake folks - clean your act up!

Anyway, back home now, and enjoying the sound of sirens and the shouts of angry commuters. I'm seriously game deprived, and raring for some action baby, you know what I mean? I'd play just about anything right now, maybe even Viktory II. I'm hoping for a Barbarossa to Berlin session with son Phil in the near future, I'll try and persuade Sue to try Ra the Dice Game again, there's the London ASL club in July, there's all sorts of online gaming possibilities (strangely, I'm itching to try In the Shadow of the Emperor again), there's the chance I'll visit Nick in September for Unhappy King Charles, Richard 3 etc, and hopefully a Dune rematch can be fitted in before the autumn.


On second thoughts, I'll skip Viktory II.