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Sunday, February 10, 2013

Store Report: Area 51

Area 51
201 N. Barton Street
Grapevine, Texas

   My sons and I went to Dallas over the weekend to celebrate my good friend's 40th brithday. We arrived on Friday night, but the party wasn't until Saturday night, so we spent some time on Saturday afternoon doing something I always love doing when I am out of town: checking out the game stores!
   Now, I grew up in Dallas, and have been to many game stores there over the years. Most are no longer with us, sadly (Game Chest, RIP). But, now days I rarely get the opportunity to go exploring because I usually travel with the memsahib, who has less than zero interest in being dragged to another game store. Sort of like me and any place that sells shoes, cosmetics, perfumes, or handbags. But I digress. We got to the hotel on Friday, and I popped onto the internet to find a new game store. I found Area 51, in Grapevine, Texas.
   Grapevine is not immediately adjacent to the neighborhood in which we were staying, but we had pretty much all day, so over we went.
   I was happy we drove the thirty minutes. The store is a bit difficult to find - they have no sign, and are easy to miss from the road. However, a quick phone call got us back on track. Once you see it, you can't believe that you missed it.
   We arrived in the midst of a Warmachine tourney. Probably a dozen or more games being played. Additionally, there were people painting, playing card games, some Warhammer games, and one game of Dystopian Legions - interesting look, and something I will have to mention later.

   Gaming Area. Probably 90% of the store. At least 80%. Good, sturdy tables, some beautiful terrain, just really a good place to push some lead about the table. Or plastic, resin, whatever. This is a big plus for me. I just don't see how you can really have a good game store without any place to play the games...
   Retail Space: The retail end was a little disappointing. They had a great paint selection. Some GW, of course, and a decent selection of FOW and Warmachine/Hordes. Also displayed were the new Dystopian Legion figures, and Dropzone Commander miniatures. There is a small comic selection as well.
   Staff: The owner (whose name I have suddenly forgotten - sorry!) was present, and very friendly and helpful. There were one or two other employees as well. They seemed friendly and knowledgable, but I spent less time talking to them.
   Location: As I mentioned, a bit difficult to find, but not too bad. Several food places nearby (one player was scarfing down some Sonic). Store is clean and well lit.
   Purchase: Minimal. I got the boy a Munchkin expansion (Expansion 7: Cheat with Both Hands), some Army Painter 4mm tufts, and a can of Desert Armour spray.
   Patrons: Largely friendly, though one kid (well, at 22, not really a kid, but he was to me) was pretty annoying. He claimed to have written the rules for Star Wars Miniatures seven years ago and sent them to Hasbro, who stole them and didn't give him credit. And the same thing happened with an FOW army list he created and shared with Battlefront. Uh-huh. I made a few useful contacts, though (hey, Terrence!), and ran into an old acquaintance, Jeff Hunt of Portsmouth Miniatures. He has a new game coming out that looks interesting as heck, a murder mystery kind of thing, set in 1900s London.


Chuckaroobob said...

I do the same thing when I'm on vacation. You know its bad luck to go to a wargame store and not buy anything. It's a good thing you were prepared!

J Womack, Esq. said...

I had not heard of that particular karmic rule, Chuck, but thanks for passing it along. Now I can drag it out whenever the memsahib gets incensed with me for doing just that.