So now that the place has been thoroughly vetted by Dave and Pat I finally managed to scope out Valhalla Comics & Games for myself. It's still a little rough, as they're working on arranging the store and remodeling the space and whatnot. But so far I'm impressed. The miniatures lines are diverse: 40K, WarMachine, the Hasbro/Wizards stuff, some WWII goodies, clickies, etc. The boardgames selection is limited but nifty. The roleplaying stuff covers D&D and White Wolf of course, but also things like most of the new Paranoia line. And they just got in the new Cyberpunk. (BTW, my notions of gaming art were not offended by the action figure based graphics. I thought the effect was neat-o and went well with the layout and choice of green highlights.) The Valhalla staff was friendly. Heck, they gave me a tour of the facility, making sure to point me to the gaming areas. Notice the plural. Gaming areas. There's an RPG room, a board/card room, and a minis room.
Let's talk about store loyalty for a moment. Nowadays I don't feel that I owe any obligation to anyone one store. I buy from online outfits, eBay, LeisureTime Pet & Hobby just as much as from my so-called Friendly Local Game Store, the Dragon's Table. Each one is a different tool in the box as far as I'm concerned. I think you ought to use the right tool for the right jorb. For obscure out-of-print stuff I end up online. For mainstream stuff that everybody carries I can just take my daughter to see the fishies at LeisureTime or incorporate a visit to Waldenbooks the next time the family hits the mall. For lunchtime browsing nobody's going to beat Dragon's Table as long as I work two blocks from the place. How does Valhalla fit into this scheme? My guess is that the secret will be the playing venue. I absolutely loathe the Dragon's Table back room, because it's too damn noisy for roleplaying and because it's overloaded with table space. The tables sardined-in such as they are may be great for Magic or clicky tournies, but for less competive, more leisurely gaming it's suffocating. The way that Valhalla is laid out seem much more conducive to some good gaming. For games where I want a neutral ground outside my gameroom, Valhalla may be the answer.