Sunday, June 7, 2015

(Retro Review) Griffon Games - Wind Gap, PA

Always in search of a new game store, I discovered a new store in the gaming metropolis of Wind Gap, Pennsylvania:  Griffon Games.

Location:  If you are going to put a game store in between the Lehigh Valley and the Stroudsburg/Poconos area, Wind Gap is one of the better locations, just a hop skip and jump off of PA 33.  The bad news is it's off a side street (1st St) and in a strange strip mall designed in some architect's drunken bender during the seventies.    The parking lot being half paved and half asphalt is disconcerting, but the good news is that the mall has full occupancy with a pool supply place, a trophy shop, a notary, a workout studio, and a hobby shop bringing in some traffic.

The Store Itself is up a flight of stairs and should actually be used as office space, but if the workout studio is across the hall on the second floor, then we'll live and let live.

Cleanliness:  Floors looked vacuumed, nothing was messy outside a disheveled area behind the counter, and the bathroom looked like someone cleaned it recently.

Amenities:  The product is around the walls of the store with the center dominated by five gaming tables of varying size.  One rather large table (10') looks to be the focal point of RPGs or miniatures.   The sales counter is a combination of a heavy office desk with a register and  industrial sized curio shelves to hold the variety of CCGs and a huge selection of dice.  The bathroom had plenty of toilet paper.   They do offer sodas, snack cakes, and chips.

RPG:  Good selection of current D&D product, despite the current issues with product.  There were two used copies of the PHB to offset it's current out of stock status at Wizards.  An interesting selection of Call of Cthulhu product, and a plethora of other RPGs and magazines, old and new.

Miniatures:  The dominant feature you see as you open in the door is the wall of miniatures on the far wall.  Most of this wall is a solid selection of Reaper Miniatures (in stock # order no less), but also Battletech, Ral Partha Fantasy, and a peculiar rack of Shadowrun minis.   They do stock a small selection of Games Workshop, mostly Necromunda, Mordheim, and a few core 40k units.

CCGs:  Magic, Pokemon, Doomtown, 7th Sea are of the nick-knack shelf, balancing off a surprising amount of stand alone card games, dice sets and loose dice.   Some Magic singles are available behind the counter.  Per the Manager, getting 100% out of Magic and Pokemon required more than 150% of effort, so it's better to focus on other games and the CCGs turn into a quiet supplemental.

Events:  It looks like there's a steady stream of different events each day.   There was a Necromunda League going on with ten players, and another Mordheim one getting ready after Munda' wrapped up. Battletech could be seen being played off in the corner.    A ongoing D&D campaign was offered on Saturday night, with Living City  every Sunday afternoon.
They were also running a promotion on the new D&D edition coming out.  Pre-ordering all three books netted a 15% discount, paying up front gave a 30% discount.  

Outside of the new D&D books, I was impressed by their new product selection and their pre-order special order policy.    New releases had their own rack by the sales counter, where the staff  could go into details.  Special orders and pre-orders were a straight 10% discount.

Staff:  The employees that were there immediately greeted me, got up from the game they were playing and did not handle me as a nuisance.  In fact they didn't go back to their game until their manager showed up.  They answered questions as well as expected, but directed some of my more obscure inquiries to the store manager who walked in about ten minutes later.    He seemed quite knowledgeable about the product in the store and special orders, and was willing to whip out a catalog and monthly solicitations to find something he wasn't familiar with.

I picked up Reaper Minis, a few old Challenge magazines I hadn't seen before, and a set of Pizza Dice to replace the ones I recently lost.  I will be back for more.

On the Gaming with the Gnomies Five-Gnome Rating System, I give Griffon Games  Three and a half gnomes.

I'm assuming with the upcoming relaunch for D&D that stock and activities would expand and the store can easily upgrade to four or four and half gnomes.   

Disclaimer:  Some of you might have been a bit confused by certain references made in this review.  If you missed the "Retro" in the title, let me tell you that this is a hypothetical review of Griffon Games that I would have written (a) in June 1999, (b) if I had a blog, and (c) if I wasn't the Store Manager to begin with.  

After years of working in a few FLGS, I finally got my opportunity to run a store the way I wanted to, and from the feedback I got then and years later, I was going in the right direction.     If you lived even twenty minutes away, you could snag all the big  name games, packs, and singles at much bigger store.  Griffon Games could fulfill all your basic needs and focused on the areas other stores neglected (like individual minis, Reapers at $2-3 a pop paid my rent.)  

I haven't gotten a chance, but I believe Bushkill Cards and Games set up shop on the first floor of that same strip mall.  Haven't gotten down there to check them out, but I hope they're awesome.!

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