Friday, April 24, 2015

A New Hope

It has been a while since I've had some good news to report, and I am happy to say I have a ton of it as well as a fair amount of bad news. But fear not, this story has a happy ending...

Over the last year a lot has changed. Some of my local game stores have closed, some new ones have opened, and some are growing and expanding. Dozens of new games have been released while some games are dying or losing their followings. I've secured, lost, and gotten new jobs. So much has happened that I'm starting to lose track of it all, but hopefully writing this post will help to jog my memory.

Where to start....ah yes, stores. Last time you heard from me we had lost our recent home store Shieldbreakers. Since then Bonnie Brae announced they were officially closing (it was the oldest gaming store in Colorado), the Denver Gamers Association has dissolved putting Tacticon and Genghiscon at risk of permanently shutting down, and Enchanted Grounds is opening a second location. It's a scary thought to consider that the oldest gaming stores in the Denver/Metro area aren't more than 5-10 years old now and that there could potentially be zero major gaming cons in Colorado.

The next order of business is discussing the new games that are either out or coming out. Fantasy Flight Games just introduced Star Wars Armada, a fleet-scale version of their popular X-Wing game, and it is absolutely awesome. Throwing hordes of TIE squadrons at rebel ships and maneuvering the hulking Victory-class Star Destroyers is a great feeling. It's even better when you get into the minutia of list-building (adding upgrades, taking heroes or named-ships, etc) and when you add in the objective system. This release also had perfect timing, as it was just between the two new Star Wars the Force Awakens trailers. Speaking of which, I'd keep an eye out on the ships you see in Episode VII because FFG got the license to use all new Star Wars IP from these movies in all of their games!

On top of that they've released Imperial Assault, Warhammer 40,000 Conquest, and coming soon is a game called Forbidden Stars that appears to be a mix of Battlefleet Gothic and Risk 2210. Imperial Assault from what I've seen appears to be a clone of Descent with Star Wars slapped on top of it, while Warhammer 40,000 Conquest is a rehash of Sable Games' 40k card game. None of this is bad news however, and I have played several games of Conquest with the first four expansions and it is a ton of fun.

However not everything is new and shiny. Warhammer 40,000 has unfortunately taken a huge dive in interest at least in what I've seen. This may or may not be anecdotal, but in my state there are no "ma and pa" stores in the central or east side of town that have 40k crowds anymore. That's crazy to hear because there used to be about four or five and several of those were institutions (in the last few years we had also lost Attactix and Valhalla's). I would now have to drive hours out of my way to play 40k with people in a non-GW setting. Though on that note, thank christ we still have a GW, again.

In other news the video game world has also been pretty busy lately as we've seen the release of Cities: Skylines, GTAV for PC, Dragon Age Inquisition, Evolve, Far Cry 4, the Master Chief Collection, Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, Dying Light, and soon The Witcher III. We've also seen huge updates to Star Citizen as well and they recently hit the $79 million donation mark.

And finally, on the bright side of things, my game club may have another chance at flourishing at our new home store, Crit Castle. I don't want to count my chickens before they hatch but since Crit Castle is considering moving into a new location that will be about 800-1,000 square feet larger and has said they may consider accommodating our terrain collection, this could be a great new beginning for us. As it stands the store already has everything that we're looking for: space, time, stock, a good location and good customer service. We really are lucky to have Crit Castle as an option given the current climate of hobby retail stores in Colorado.

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