Posted in game sources new games party games
Cheers to Independent Game Stores!
Most of Gourmet Game Night is all about the food and recipes, serving ideas and planning tips. The “gourmet” part. I am a professional food writer, after all, and that arena is the core of my expertise. But it wouldn’t be Gourmet Game Night without the games, right?
We’ve all got a deck of cards (or 12) around the house, cribbage and Scrabble, probably an old Monopoly board and maybe some dice. But just as it’s always a treat to try new foods and recipe ideas, so is it also a lot of fun to try out new games along the way. In the course of doing all the hard work (!! holding games night dinner parties is hard work??) of research for this book, I procured myself some new games to add to the mix. We’re now fans of Settlers of Catan and were late-comers to Apples to Apples (LOVE that game!). In search of food-centric games I found out about Wasabi! and Celebrity Chef: The Game.
Many of these I found at the wonderful game-lovers destination in Seattle, Blue Highway Games at the top of Queen Anne Hill. In fact, if you read the introduction to my book (do people actually read those? I hope at least some do….) you’ll see that Blue Highway figured in the early gestation of the idea for the cookbook. Sure, maybe WE have converted our hall linen closet into the “game closet” but that doesn’t mean loads of other folks out there love to play unplugged board games the way we do. Blue Highway helped convince me otherwise!
So while it can be pretty easy to score a range of types of games at spots like Target or Wal-Mart or Barnes & Nobel, I’m pretty devoted to the independent game stores out there. As I describe in my book, and on this page with a listing of some such stores, they not only offer the extra expertise that comes with a niche focus, but they also can offer a number of “extras.” Like open samples of games that you can play in the store to try out before buying. Organized game nights were customers connect around playing tables for free-style or game-specific open play. Special events. And usually hundreds of games to choose from, with passionate game-players on staff to help you find just the right one.
For instance, on one trip to Blue Highway, I was talking with co-owner Scott Cooper about the fact that my husband played some serious Risk back in college, often all night long and nearly to sunrise. That kind of hard-core strategy game isn’t quite my cup of tea, nor are marathon gaming sessions. I’m more the cribbage/word game/party game type. He suggested we try Small World as a game that brings in some elements from both side of that game-loving equation. Honestly, we haven’t cracked it open to try yet, but with friends coming over tomorrow night to play games, I think I just figured out which game we’ll play!
That kind of deep understanding of game play and the range of products available to suit so many different interests is the prime reason I’m so keen on encouraging folks to seek out an independent game store when on the prowl for something new. I included a dozen or so in the book, also here on the blog. Nice thing about the blog, of course, is the opportunity to continually amend the list!
When my husband I made our trip to Santa Barbara earlier this year–part of the prize package he won in the KPLU poker tournament–ends up that the Hotel Santa Barbara where we stayed was just next door to a great little game store, Game Seeker. So I just added that to the list.
Do you have a favorite game store near you that’s a great destination for board games, party games and the like? Please let me know about it! I hope to make this list a reliable resource for game lovers looking for something new to tackle on their next game night.
I’ll report soon on our first run through Small World! And what we ate, of course….
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