Reader Survey: Your Ideal MtG Store!

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Dear readers,

It seems that so many of us in the Magic community have great local shops to play at, where the owners and management understand and cater to Magic players.  To those so fortunate, congratulations.  There are others out there that have local shops that do not cater well to Magic players.  Many do not stock singles, or if they do, their stock is thin and outdated and poorly cataloged and sorted.  Their tournaments do not match up with the desires of their players, and the loyal customers who come in for tournaments are hustled out as soon as the last match draws to a close.

If you are one of the lucky individuals who have a great game store in town that makes playing Magic fun and welcoming, I'm putting out the call to hear why your store is so great.  Feel free to shout them out by name if you'd like.  What features keep you coming back?  What products, events, etc?

On the flip side of the coin, there are many who play at sub-par stores who take their MTG players for granted, don't cater to them despite the money they spend, and generally disrespect their players.  The staff are usually more concerned with getting out of there early than they are with keeping the players happy.  If you're in this unfortunate category in some regard, or just have minor gripes with your location, please let me know what those are.

The end goal of these questions is to develop a model of an "ideal" game store.  The store would begin life being focused on selling Magic the Gathering sealed product and a robust inventory of single cards, as well as holding events and giving gamers a space to truly call their own.  Your experience as a gamer is invaluable to me in this endeavor.  No matter your geographic location, age, employment status, I want to hear from you.  Leave a comment below with the things that would draw you to a game store, the things that might drive you away, and any other information you'd like to share about your ideal shop.  Please include some information about yourself, like a general age and location, and maybe a bit about what you do (ie, Student, Unemployed Hobo, Professional, etc).  I want to cater to all players regardless of demographic, but each group has its own specific needs.

With infinite thanks,

Kelly B Reid,  Editor

Kelly Reid

Founder & Product Manager

View More By Kelly Reid

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14 thoughts on “Reader Survey: Your Ideal MtG Store!

  1. I'm going to start with my own experiences here.What makes it great?*Singles in stock, at least for Standard. A guy yesterday couldn't find a Viscera Dragger. A COMMON. Seriously, I can locate any card in my current inventory in under 5 minutes.*Chillspace! I want to go hang out at the store where my buddies hang out. Right now there are disparate roving gangs of Magic players who need a home. *"Home" amenities. A nice bathroom, drinks aplently for sale, as well as some basic food beyond snacks. This goes with Chillspace.* Don't rush or bug me. My current store makes the Magic players feel like they're bothering the "real" customers. To hell with that. Magic players spend a lot of money, especially if there are tournaments constantly. Let the earth revolve around them!*Give me my events. Why are there no big-money events on the weekends? Playing for Power, duals, etc generates income, buzz, and fosters a competitive community. I'm sick of playing 4 rounds of Standard for 10 bucks store credit.

  2. I'm a 17 year-old student currently taking a semester off from Utah State University in Logan.Phoenix Games & Comics in Logan is the best Magic store I have ever been to. They always carry booster packs from every set in extended and beyond, and they have a huge inventory of singles from nearly every set ever printed. Cards sorted by set and name, along with a fairly standardized pricing system, make buying a breeze. Standard, Extended, and Booster Draft tournaments every week, with special tournaments once or twice a month, means that there is almost always something going on. Paul, the owner, is very accommodating, on one occasion allowing a few of us to stay long after the store should have closed. Playing Magic until one in the morning is not something that happens at every store. He also uses a somewhat different prize system, ensuring that every player walks aways from the tournament with something extra. Having drinks, snacks, and reasonable prices doesn't hurt either. Now that I'm back in Spanish Fork for a while, the differences between the local shop and Phoenix Games are glaringly obvious. I guess I never realized what I was missing.

  3. I totally agree with the comments you've already made, Kelly. I love Legends, but really only because Randy and Rob are nice guys, and I've been going there for years & like the surrounding area (places to get food). But the store has a terrible stock of singles, and what they do have is generally overpriced. The play area is often cramped when there are more than, say, 12 people there. The bathroom is dirty. The food available is not even up to par with the counter at 7-Eleven.Legends is heaven, though, compared to Walt's Cards in Dundalk. I dunno if you ever made it out there when you lived in the area, but the guy that runs that place (Dan) will stop whatever he's doing and just stare at you when you come in; it's unnerving. The play space is about 25% that of Legends. I avoid it where possible, but the one advantage Walt's has over Legends is a good selection of singles. Still, generally overpriced compared to the web, but the times when I didn't want to wait I could usually go to Walt's and get what I wanted. No snacks available here, but there's a place a few doors down that's alright.The place I've been going to recently is called Amazing Spiral, which isn't perfect, but since it's in a mall there is plenty of space and plenty of places to get food. They've only recently started selling MTG, so at the moment things aren't ideal, but in time perhaps.In essence, it's mostly about the friendliness of the staff, and the amount of space, followed by the availability & prices on Singles, and lastly, food—either at the store itself, or at least close by.As you said, feeling like you're being rushed out just plain sucks. At a recent FNM, Legends staff offered M10 & Zendikar packs as prizes if the top 4 agreed to split; if not, it was Alara block (which people didn't want as much as M10 & ZEN, obviously). Within 1 minute of this announcement, we were told to pack up and leave, because the top 4 agreed to the split. This was around 10pm on a Friday. We ended up going to the local Subway to play.

  4. A few things that my store does that I like:-music in the background from the owners Ihome type deal-boxes of commons and un-commons sorted by set and color for the customer to peruse-the shop is very small, the entire place is play space, its really nice. I big white wall with a few posters near the ceiling, gives a big open feel to the shop. -singles priced right, and the owner has a laptop and will look up the actual market price on the spot from any website-FREE wi-fi, its a MUST (obv. reasons)-A spotless bathroom that is only for customers (AKA the magic players that dispose our income at the shop) – A CLEAN store that is vacuumed almost everyday and is open and not crowed. -"Something" (tournament etc…) happening every day the store is open (drafts, league play has a double points day, FNM, casual sat. Box tourney every sunday-store hours that the players like. open til 8 everyday is what we have, go by what the people want, if people get off work at 5 and come down for an hour everynight stay open!WE dont have a chill space. it would be nice. a place with a couch and coffee table, maybe a TV with an XBox etc…would be cool. -also, an important part of a shop is cultivating your future income IE: young magic players. teach them how to play, MAKE YOUR SHOP A PLACE WHERE A PARENT DOES NOT MIND LEAVING THEIR 8-12 YEAR OLD KID AT. just some things I have found to be really good. overall, cater to the player, survey/poll the player base and find out what they want. make it comfortable, easy, fun, relaxed, and efficient

  5. The 2nd incarnation (I belive it was 2nd) in Lake Geneva, WI was amazing back in the day (like 12-14 yrs ago). It had books and singles and tables on the 1st and basement levels. Singles, model kits and computers for games. You could even play in tables in the shop windows. I also met Margret Weiss there (she gave me pizza on while playing Legend of the 5 Rings). I also met Ernie Gygax, son of the legendary D&D; creator. Mind you I didn't know about either of them being famous :)Game Guild has long since closed and I've long sinced moved multiple times.I currently play at The Vault in Racine, WI. It is a great store. Rares are generally at the higher end of the online value and there are a bunch of commons that could use sorting (there are some in binders). But, Z (store owner) is amazing! There is a big space to play, snacks, and Xbox with couch, comics, minis, dice, etc. They only hold FNM but since the store was going to be closed on Christmas, they had it on WEDNESDAY! Awesome.I wouldn't mind seeing some Extended play though.And as per staying late, on the opening night for Zendikar we were there until a little after 1am due to the number of people.BTW, I am male, 28 and a student.And I like long walks on the beach… πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜›

  6. Im a 23 yr old full time worker in Sydney, Australia.Stores called Good Games, in sydney. Its got a couple of locations, but all are pretty much the same setup.The good -1) Full singles, from alpha cards, all the way through to standard. The stock is kept up continually, and playsets are generally easy to purchase. 2) Arcade. For those times between rounds, or a little bit of a bash, full arcade machines, one set linked up to a big flatscreen so the shop can watch. –> There are also touraments run there, where the players bring in more flatscreens, and video cameras. 3) Space. The most important thing. The shop can sit 100 people. And players can drift in for a game at any time (there are usually players around) and have a game. This does not mean you have to purchase anything from the store.4) atmostphere. For beginners or the more experienced, you can have some fun. The more experienced players help the less so, bounce ideas back and forth, and make a positive environment that makes you want to return. 5) Management. The store owners always help out, and keep the store well cleaned. They are friendly and helpful so much, that half the staff at the stores now are ex or current players, and beyond the stores prize support (which is very good) also chip in their own money to make things interesting. Best was the $50 prize to first place FNM (from the store) and another $50 if the deck that won isn't Jund.

  7. Cloak and Dagger Comics in Daytona Beach, FL is awesome! They carry a pretty good amount of cards. Their stock could honestly be better, but that is the ONLY complaint I have. Every one at the store loves MTG and supports it. Pretty much any day you go there you can find someone to play with.Another store I have to give props too is Bob's Collectors Den in Cookeville, TN. While I never played in a tourney there(they did have them and still do) I always loved their stock. They carry so many cards, and they have the best assortment of rares I have ever seen! No matter what you need they prob got it. Every time I am in TN I stop by.And I am an unemployed hobo. Anyone got a job opening? πŸ˜€

  8. I'm a 29 year old Computer Scientist with a baby on the way, probably not the target market but I really enjoy magic. We have a great game store here in Arizona called Gamer's Inn. They do a lot of things right, but I have one big gripe with them, and that is that the store is not family-friendly. I understand that you can't do much about the players, but the employees are fostering a culture that makes many of my friends uncomfortable going there. I've even had friends come with me that say they couldn't believe I would hang out at a place like that!So my 2 cents is that your store should strive for professionalism in the employees, and make it a safe haven for kids to come play. Everyone should feel welcome and comfortable, not just the anarchists with '**** You' T-shirts on!

  9. 2 Things: 1) Prices cheaper than SCG, otherwise, why should I buy anything from there?2) A relaxed and diverse player base. I don't want to go into a shop where everyone is All PT All the Time, but I don't want to have to teach someone every game, either.

  10. Hello From Venezuela…Informatics, 29yoHere in Caracas we have 3 main sources for MTG..El Planeta de la Coleccion: A very small store attended by their owners, they are excelent people, they sell product at a fair price, but only sealed product, hardly ever run tournaments, and have only 4 tables to play..CSI Mall: I dont remember the name of this one, and won't care to do it either because it's tiny store that sells magic at overwhelming prices, they treath customers as if we where mortal among them gods.. No Tables, No Tournaments, No Singles..MagicSur: This is the official seller for Wizard Products here in Vzla, its a nice store, with products at a fair price (as fair as our economy let it be), no singles are sold, and players are not allowed to sell them in store either. They run tournaments at least twice a week, and you can always set a draft for you and your 7 friends. They offer drinks and a few snacks, fast food places are near by. Singles market is an issue here because it always ends reducing the sellings of sealed products.To close the year they held probably one of the greatest christmas tournaments.. πŸ˜€ Price for everyone, and a christmas dinner..

  11. I think Ive had one of the better Magic Card Shops around.Wizards of the Desert Card Shop, down in Moab, UT. Year #15!Ample seating, open play everyday. Tournaments every Saturday.150,000 single cards in stock, from 4th edition forward.Ive been doing this for 15 years, and am longing to retire, but its still fun!I feel the most important part of a Magic card Shop, is the overall atmosphere and attitude of the players.I have always run the store as one 'big dysfunctional family', rather than a business. With new players, you can guide them towards the right attitude, about winning and losing.The game is, after all, supposed to be 'fun'.And players should be friendly and outgoing towards other players.At so many other stores, there is this arrogant attitude that prevails amongst some of the better players. We dont have that here.Of the Top Ten Eternal Players in the State of Utah, 7 of them reside here in Moab. And they are all great and friendly players, willing to share their ideas and suggestions with up n comers.So, for me, the 'atmosphere' of the store, is most important.For now, I am the only one with a vast collection of single cards, between Salt Lake and Denver.So, for me, what makes a great store, is what the owner molds it into.Friendly but still competative. No bad-ass attitudes allowed. Open play everyday. A vast array of single cards very competatively priced. And a place you can visit, and just… be yourself.Cards are my business, but The Players, are my most important commodity.Sincerely;LX SkyeWizards of the Desert Card ShopMoab, UT.

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