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Where to get unplugged

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Right, I've been trawling through various threads trying to find where to get this stuff from without going to obvious retail channels. It's hard going.

So, update the thread with your favourite spots and I'll keep this first page updated. If you want me to add descriptions to what's already here, let me know.

Obviously, most shops have websites and most websites have shops but the 2 are very different beasts.

Great Websites

Games Lore - http://www.gameslore.com

BoardGameGuru - http://www.boardgameguru.co.uk

13th Floor - http://www.the13thfloor.co.uk

IGUK - http://www.iguk.co.uk

Maelstrom Games - http://www.maelstromgames.co.uk

Wayland Games - http://www.waylandgames.co.uk/

Shops (http://www.findyourgamestore.co.uk)

Rather than keep listing them here, why not use your technological prowess to access the interactive zoomable scalable Google map, and bookmark it on your smartphone so that it's ALWAYS HANDY?

Will add all the shops as soon as I can.

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Traveling Man is a small chain of shops which stocks a wide range of board games and RPG even though their primary focus is comics etc. The Travelling Man in Newcastle is lovely as are the staff. They also have shops in York, Leeds and Manchester.

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I usually use:

13th Floor - www.the13thfloor.co.uk

IGUK - www.iguk.co.uk

Excellent service from both (typically next day from 13th Floor), no postage charges and best of all - live stock levels. There's nothing more annoying than ordering something which turns out to not only be out of stock, but hasn't actually been available for two years (Spirit Games, I'm looking at your dreadful website).

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I've used the Gameskeeper in Oxford a few times in the past 18 months. Quite a small shop but they keep a good range of stock and the elderly couple that run it are quite lovely. If they've got something you want and their website (which looks a little past it but does the job) says it's low on stock give them a call and they'll put it behind the counter for when you arrive.

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Apparently the Gameskeeper is due to close pretty soon, which is sad - it's a lovely shop.

Nooooo.

I have copies of White Dwarf from the 80s that they have adverts in. Have dropped in every so often over the years - I guess it's about time the owners retired...

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A short while ago, I tweeted at someone (Moosey, I believe) that I had no FLGS, and that the nearest, in Cardiff, was not worth bothering with due to unfriendly staff. I'd like to make a partial correction.

For boardgames, Cardiff's a bit of a no-go - the local boardgame shop, Cardiff Games, is a pokey little shop with a poor selection of games, and every time I've ever gone in* the staff have been unfriendly and unhelpful.

However, for fans of miniatures, you could do a lot worse than Firestorm Games, which is located just a little way behind Cardiff Central station. They have a nice range of, er, ranges of models to choose from, along with rulebooks, templates and other related tat. They also have a decent hobby selection, with a full range of Citadel, Vallejo and P3 paints to buy, a wide variety of tools and brushes (including, usefully, kolinsky sable brushes), and even have Testors Dullcote for sale. Which is, well, awesome. More importantly the staff were friendly and helpful, and it generally seemed a nice place to go. Bought a little over £20 worth of paints, brushers and varnish, and would have picked up a couple of Infinity miniatures but for the fact I may well be getting some for my birthday in November, and have no idea which will arrive.

They also have an attached warehouse/garage filled with gaming tables to use - they clearly host a variety of events and tournaments, and anybody can rent a table - £3 for an entire day, which seems very reasonable. Obviously, being on my own and only going in for supplies, I didn't try out their gaming boards, nor did I see them, so can't comment on them, but it's worth knowing about if you live in the area and would like to play but lack the space/scenery to do so.

So yeah, Firestorm Games impressed me. They also have an online presence, which I was aware of long before realising there was a shop attached, and that it was in Cardiff :facepalm:

*important caveat: I've not been there for a few years because of my previous experiences

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There's also Rules of Play in Cardiff. I've not been in there but I've spoken to the owners a few times and they're bloody lovely.

Ooh, I've never heard of that one. Looking them up, they appear to be in Castle Arcade. And, looking further, it seems like Cardiff Games closed down last year (I wonder why...) and Rules of Play opened in response to that. Will have to give it a look!

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Bristol has a fair few decent ones, and some not-so-decent ones.

Cut and Thrust has been around for about a year or so. Only miniature gaming, no board games but the guy who runs it is very cool; no hard sell, only points you in the right direction and if you want more information, he'll pitch in and he gave me a tour despite my rather stern warning that I wasn't going to purchase anything.

Three floors of tables, but I can't remember how much they go for, and there's rather copious space at the back of the shop which I believe he was going to open up if people wanted to make buildings or terrain or stuff like that. Power tools, saws, glue guns, stuff he'd properly get shut down for if some punk kid lopped off their arm and decided to sue. I know that was the plan but it's also been about eight months since I was last there.

Area 51 identifies itself as a comic shop but they have a very decent selection of board games and also rent them out. If you decide to buy the game after renting it, they'll take that off the cost. They sell second-hand board games and very often have rarities for somewhat inflated prices but I do regret missing out on a model-less Warhammer Quest for £40.

Not so much hard sell, more intimidatingly enthusiastic and the interior looks very... erm, comic book shop.

Excelsior is another comic shop that stocks board games and is one of the worst places I've ever been to. Their claim to being Bristol's brightest geekery shop rings true but the limited selection, incredibly rude staff (very unhelpful and also tried to chat up my girlfriend while I was stood next to her holding her hand) doesn't lead me to enthuse. Although apparently they have occasional nights of RPGing with "hot goth girls" so if you're twelve, give it a go.

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There's also Rules of Play in Cardiff. I've not been in there but I've spoken to the owners a few times and they're bloody lovely.

I was going to point this out too. No game store in Cardiff? Rules of Play do appear to be excellent from what I've heard.

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In my defence, I was in France when the awful Cardiff Games closed and was replaced by the apparently nice Rules of Play opened up (and presumably in Swansea when Firestorm Games opened), so this is all new to me. Cardiff used to be awful for board games, honest!

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Nah, I think you should leave it as it is, with no games shops in Wales, London or the South West so that I can continue to whinge about never being anywhere near any FLGSs ;)

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Avon Toys in Leamington Spa

More of a toy shop, but if you go upstairs there is one big shelf of board games, large shelf of Games Workshop, one little shelf of little games, a little display of all the lego board games, and a shelf of kids board games

You'll not get many surprises from the choice but it seems to get something new in every week. It's also chatting to people in the local board game club to see what kind of stock they should be getting in. They'll get stuff in for you if you ask, so you might be able to beat shitty P&P costs if you know your stuff.

I just bought Lords of Scotland from there today.

Oh, and it doesn't smell. And is full of kids so smelly nerds don't hang around for fear of being arrested. And it has toys.

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Avon Toys in Leamington Spa

More of a toy shop, but if you go upstairs there is one big shelf of board games, large shelf of Games Workshop, one little shelf of little games, a little display of all the lego board games, and a shelf of kids board games

You'll not get many surprises from the choice but it seems to get something new in every week. It's also chatting to people in the local board game club to see what kind of stock they should be getting in. They'll get stuff in for you if you ask, so you might be able to beat shitty P&P costs if you know your stuff.

I just bought Lords of Scotland from there today.

Oh, and it doesn't smell. And is full of kids so smelly nerds don't hang around for fear of being arrested. And it has toys.

And seemingly fairly new, looking at map view on Google. All up to date now, anyway!

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Black Lion is tiny and quite intimidating from outside, but has a great selection of stock, both board games and rpgs. They stock miniatures as well, but I haven't ever looked at them too much, I broke that addiction years ago. The staff are really helpful but not in your face. Very happy to order stuff in for people and the prices, while slightly more than the 'net, aren't ridiculous. Good selection of second hand rpg stuff too, like ancient Traveller supplements.

I haven't been in Static for a good few years, but a couple of mates in Glasgow use them regularly and would definitely recommend them. Same with The Dragon & George. Xibxang might be able to do a better review, I'm pretty sure he shops in Static anyway.

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Wayland's Forge ...I AM DISAPPOINT!

On the boardgame side of things anyway. For miniatures & war-gaming there was a crap-load of stuff, lots of roleplaying books and a few hidden treasures hidden under tables (there was an old Space Hulk well out of view of anyone not lying on the floor knowing where to look).

But board-game is all I care about. The selection wasn't stellar. There didn't seem to be much in particularly new or sought after. I got the feeling that a lot of the boxes had been there for years. The selection seemed very out of touch with a few staples, a few well-known things and a lot of filler. It just seemed like they don't really put much effort into what they keep stocked.

I know WF is not 100% a boardgame shop, but my local one down the road is a proper toy shop (Avon Toys, Leamington) where it's more dolls and Lego than elves and I think it's vastly better. This doesn't seem right! If I go to a specialist shop that smells a bit funny and has awkward staff I'd at least expect better knowledge and stock.

I came away really disappointed. I thought I was bound to pick up something strange and interesting. I came away empty-handed...oh aye, and the Forbidden Planet in Brum is shit too. Wasted bloody trip.

Update on Avon Toys: I got Rory's Story Cubes from there last week for a friend's daughter. They say they've been selling out pretty much as soon as they come in. The guy seems to be doing his research and taking a punt with stuff. There always seems to be a couple of new things in a week. The shelves are a bit more "monopoly" for Christmas but they have a really good variety of stuff in normally. If they don't have it they say they can get it in a week. Midlands people ...go here (after xmas :P )

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Yeah, I think they're on the map, will update the WF listing as well (I've rather sadly got it bookmarked on my phone).

I've got my lad those story cubes for Christmas, they look great fun.

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Went to the orcs nest in London earl ham road on Saturday. It's a real mess in there (games seemingly thrown about at random) but they had a decent amount of stock and multiple copies of newer games like drizzt game of thrones and world builder (or whatever it's called) lots of rpg and figures as well.

It's very cramped, but something of a treasure trove. I just wish my mind wouldn't go blank whenever I enter a shop like this. I get so excited by all the product that I forget the games I'm actually looking for. Managed to bet elder sign which is always out of stock online, so was quite happy

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Floating around Manchester I went to: -

Fanboy 3 - Great stock. Lots of new stuff. Lots of random stuff. But it's all set up with tables with people playing so a lot of the time you can't actually get to the shelves without pissing off a load of people. Felt really awkward in there trying to browse.

Travelling Man - Travelling Man is good. This is expected. Had slightly less stuff than the Newcastle one, less than Fanboy 3 but it's a good selection.

Forbidden Planet - Had a shelf of games downstairs next to all the role-playing stuff. Not many board games there but it was quite the variety of stuff. Worth a gander for something random.

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