This is a shout out to the Orcish Outpost!
I was in Mainz, Germany over Easter and found the time to stop by at the store. I didn’t have so much fun shopping for rpgs in a long time.
I didn’t even buy that much and there was nothing really fancy among the things I did pick up (some out of print Games Workshop stuff, an old Mighty Empires (in perfect condition, though!) and a small bundle of old English White Dwarfs).
So, why all this enthusiasm?
Because this visit to the store had everything that is lacking from common online shopping or the routine visit to a store in my home town. Things, which are commonly portrayed as negative.
First, there was my twofold lack of awareness. Neither did I know what they had in store (pardon the pun), nor did I know anything about the products themselves (well, okay, I do own the old Mighty Empires already, but that is something different) – that I now was the proud owner of campaign rules for Dark Future (a game I do not even own) only became apparent later, when reading through my looted goods.
This was combined with the uncomfortable pressure of having to decide (buy) immediately, without being able to come back (or navigate back) at any time I pleased. It was now or never (I admit that I went back for a second visit to pick up the Mighty Empires set).
Truth be told, nostalgia certainly played a big role here.
The situation was just so reminiscent of going to stores when I was younger – when everything was new and unknown and mysterious, and I didn’t know when I would be able to go the next time and so what little money I had just begged to be spent all the more.
The rational search for identified target products (even though they might be truly rare) using specialized (online) channels just cannot compare to that.
I mean, I refuse to read most reviews and tend to avoid previews on purpose, just to keep alive a shred of just that sense of wonder and discovery – but those precautions of mine guarantee nothing but a pale shadow of what this short visit to the Orcish Outpost gave me.
The usually cited reasons as to why brick and mortar game stores should continue to exist – their importance as places to meet up and play games for example – didn’t play into my feelings of joy (and intermixed melancholia). Perhaps the nostalgic feeling of thumbing through books instead of scrolling down web pages is the one point to appear on both lists – mine this Easter and the general one pro stores.
In any event, I know where I will be heading next time I am in Mainz.
Until then, though, we need to deal with publishing another three articles this week:
On Monday, Nogger returns to the grim dark future of Warhammer 40.000. The Foris Cluster is meant as an alternate setting for Deathwatch campaigns, specially designed for highly autonomous killteams – and thus a possibility to make good use of his sandboxing house rules.
On Friday, Tadeusz and blut_und_glas collectively dive into another Blue Planet article on the topic of equipment for special forces on Poseidon.
On Wednesday the Foris Cluster will be published in a German version.