Monday, 9 December 2013

Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?

If you've been following my blog, then hopefully I've piqued your interest in this wonderful hobby, and maybe you're now thinking to yourself  "Ok Neil, these sound great and everything, but I've looked in the stores and none of them stock this stuff".

Well, welcome to one of the bugbears of mine - 'big box' stores don't tend to sell hobby games, as they don't sell enough - yep, it's something that Joseph Heller would come up with.

thankfully though, your friendly (sometimes) blogger is here to point the way - this post will give you some overall pointers on where to purchase these games from, and then leave you with some examples that I have personally used before.

So, on with the shopping guide!


No, don't worry, a cat hasn't just walked across my keyboard. Let's look at these acronyms:
FLGS - Friendly Local Gaming Store
OLGS - On-Line Gaming Store.

In other words, one is a physcial shop, and the other is an on-line retailer (or e-tailer if you insist), and of course there are pros and cons of each.


A FLGS (note you can get LGS which aren't nearly as friendly and should be avoided) is a wonderful place, full of shelves to browse to your hearts content. They will have staff who are quick to help, with recommendations of games to suit your needs. They are great places to meet fellow gamers, and most FLGS have tables where you can actually sit and play the games - usually they even have a store library so you can try games before buying them.

Here are some of the stores I have personally used:

Orcs Nest, London:

If you are in central London, then there is only one real choice. Orcs Nest is situated just off Charing Cross Road near Leicester Square underground station. It's quite a small store, but has lots of cool stuff packed in. Prices are MSRP, but I can forgive that due to their location.

Leisure Games, London:
This is my local store, located in Finchley, North London. It's got a great layout, is well lit and is usually easy to navigate. Parking is easy and free on the local streets, and the staff are excellent - approachable without being overly pushy. It's another store that usually sell at MSRP, but if you're near North London, it's definitely worth a visit.
Facebook link

Spirit Games, Derbyshire:
I discovered this store whilst working in Derby, although the store itself is in Burton. they have recently moved location, and although it's not quite as easy to find free parking in the new location, the move has given the store a much more open and inviting look. I think the old store, whilst great, tended to be a bit 'man-cavey', but thankfully this is now resolved in the new store. Like Leisure Games, Spirit have fantastic staff, willing to help answer questions. Their prices are fantastic too - not only do they sell below MSRP, but they also have bulk order discounts in place.

Shire Games, Stoke:
If you're in Stoke, Shire Games is the place to visit. You have to pay for parking (unless there's a trick I'm not aware of), but it's a lovely store, open plan and very well lit. Prices are slightly below MSRP also with bulk order discounts in place. It's worth noting that they have free shipping if the order is over £50 too.


It's worth noting that all the above stores have websites where you can order on-line, but for this section I will have a look at some of the pure on-line stores.
In general, OLGS are the cheaper option, but they lack the immediacy of the product, and also it's harder to get advice from the staff.
Obviously Amazon sell board games, although a lot of games there are sold by third parties, so beware expensive shipping costs. Besides, isn't it nice to support the smaller stores? 
With that in mind, here are my go to on-line stores.

Paul Lister runs Boardame Guru, and is one of the best retailers I've dealt with. He's incredibly responsive to email requests, and is very active on Facebook too. His packaging is superb, and I cannot find any negatives to his service. If you're in the market for an on-line store, there's no reason not to check out BoardGame Guru. Facebook Link

Games Lore is another on-line retailer with good prices and bulk buy discounts. Reputable and great service.

Free shipping, plus bulk buy discounts - what's not to like?

So, there you have it - if you're looking for a game, hopefully this list gives you some ideas of where to begin shopping. Feel free to add comments below if I've missed your favourite store.

P.S. Bonus points if you can name the film the title is taken from


  1. I think it's worth noting that while you can usually get better discounts online, if you visit an FLGS there is usually someone friendly and knowledgeable there to talk to who can help you find a game you like, there is a good chance they'll let you see inside the box before you buy (some shops have a games library so you may even, in some cases, be able to try the game out before deciding), and you get to walk out of the shop with the game right away and play it when you get home.

    On the occasions I get to visit an FLGS it is usually either the Games Keeper in Oxford (it's actually well out of the city centre, on Cowley Road) or Eclectic Games in Reading. Both are very friendly and carry an excellent range of stock.

    1. ...though you did cover most of my points there in your post! :)

  2. Your title is based off of Batman of course!... I think the Michael Keaton one... although perhaps my memory is failing me :)

  3. Correct - it was indeed Batman :-)