When you go to your local game store this International Tabletop Day for board game fun and excitement, there’s more that you can do beyond purchasing a game to help the store out on their biggest day of the year.
Game stores depend on the gaming community to stay afloat, and there are a few ways you can support them on International Tabletop Day that don’t just involve your wallet. Consider supporting your local store with these suggestions so that you have a favorite place to return to on Tabletop Day year after year.
Attend Events Year-Round…
Did you know most game stores host weekly or monthly events other than just International Tabletop Day? Take a look at the store’s web site or store calendar to see which events interest you. And, even better, share them on your social media to get the word out and entice your friends to go with you.
Most stores even offer family-friendly days and workshops, from open demo days to teaching kids and new players how to play board games or card games like Pokémon and Magic: The Gathering.
…Or Host One of Your Own
Brandon Zuern, the store manager for Outlaw Moon Games & Toys in Austin, TX, suggests offering to host your own in-store event if you’re truly passionate about a specific game or want to foster the gaming community in your area. “Let a manager know you’d like to coordinate a Ladies Game Night, or a Gay Gamer Group, or Zombie Game Fan Club, or whatever special group you’d like to gather,” Zuern says. “Be an instigating gaming force at your shop.”
And, Zuern adds, if you’ve ever wanted to get a job at your favorite game store, this is a fantastic way to make yourself known to the staff and get that foot in the door.
Bring a Friend
Take a friend along with you on International Tabletop Day. Not only will they get a firsthand look at the excitement of gaming’s biggest day of the year, it could be just the gentle push they need to get into gaming themselves. “Sometimes just getting them in the door is the first step towards making someone a loyal customer,” says Zuern.
And if you’re feeling truly generous, give them a gift card to the store to get them started in the hobby. Not only are you supporting the store, you’re investing in a future member of your gaming group.
Invite Other Customers to Play With You
No bites on that Facebook event share? That’s okay. Roll to the event or International Tabletop Day solo. You (yes, you) can muster up the courage at the game store to invite your fellow customers to sit with you and play. Not only are you setting up a potential customer for the store, you might even make a new friend.
Bring Your Own Favorite Games
Call ahead and ask if the store allows you to bring in your favorite board game on International Tabletop Day, or any day at all. It’s not just potential customers who will benefit—even the staff might discover a new favorite game and start carrying it in the store.
“Being part of a game community has the incredible benefit of giving you the opportunity to play and sample before buying, and that applies to shop owners and managers, too,” Zuern says. “It’s a perfect recommendation network.”
Volunteer for Tabletop Day
If you’re looking for a way to really help your favorite board game store, turn part of your International Tabletop Day into an opportunity to volunteer. But don’t worry that the store will force you to do something outside of your comfort zone: Offer your unique talents and strengths to help out where you’re most comfortable.
“Let a manager know a week or two in advance that you’d like to lend a hand,” says Zuern. “Maybe you have a special skill to make the day even more memorable for all. Tech-savvy folks can offer to livestream the event, public speakers can MC games, cooks can bring (not-too-messy) treats, crafters can make neat awards or trophies… There are so many ways you can lend your amazing talents to make the day even bigger and better.”
What other ways do you support your local game store? Tell us in the comments.
Featured Photo: Outlaw Moon Games & Toys, Austin, TX
Other Photo: Kelly Knox (Mox Boarding House, Bellevue, WA)