On Saturday my sister and I attended the open house for Gryfalia's Aerie, the new friendly local game store in downtown Bloomington, Illinois. Don't let the artsy-fartsy name fool you, these people have a good solid focus on stocking the material that actually sells: collectible miniatures and cards, German-style and other high-end boardgames, and D&D. The roleplaying selection is strictly limited to Wizards' D&D hardbacks, but they had a good number of them on the shelf. Although I would have personally benefitted from a larger array of RPG products let's not kid ourselves about how hard that can be on the owners. A store that only stocks the stuff the sells will last a lot longer than one that panders to my tastes by carrying all sorts of crazy crap no one else buys.
With Christmas coming up I only bought a couple of things for myself. ("Waitaminute. This book is on my Amazon wishlist. I better put it back.") They had a great selection of Steel Sqwire Flip-Mats, so I bought one of the original blank ones. My BattleMat is really showing its age. Some of my wet erase markers don't completely wipe off of it. Purple and red are especially likely to stay on the mat and after 2 years of use it really starts to show. I should probably namecheck Treasure Tables here, because I'm pretty sure I learned about the Flip-Mat via an old post of Martin's.
I also got a handful of the new d4's, the kind you can read from the top:Remember back when I talked a bit about how dice are a technology? This is the exact sort of die that gets me excited, because it's a better tool than its predecessors. You can keep all the fancy new gemstone, prismatic, speckled, rune-etched dice. Give me polyhedrals that are easy to read.
I also got my nephew a handful of cheap Magic cards. He's too young to actually play the game but he finds the overall concept and the artwork positively hypnotic. He spent the rest of my visit absolutely obsessing over the cards I got him, to the point of aggravating all the adults. Best dollar I've spent in a long time.
So this place is on the 400 block of North Main, if you want to visit it yourself. The shop was clean and neatly arranged, the folks at the gaming tables weren't offactorial disasters, and the owners were polite. The only oddball thing was that they've got those weird "we're doing this part-time" hours some gamestores keep. Tues through Friday the Store doesn't open until 5pm. Saturday they open at 9am. They're closed Sundays and Mondays.
Official store website here.