Hayward, Wisconsin is a cute little town of a few thousand people. Main Street is devoted to a large array of touristy shops selling mostly T-shirts and kitschy gift stuff broken up by the odd candy shop or bakery. At the toy store my daughter bought these adorable pink-handled diecast sixguns. Two Gun Lizzie now wanders the resort, accusing everyone of being Dirty Dan in disguise and blasting them. I also spotted a little storefront with a green awning labeled simply "Magazines...BOOKS...Books".
I was very impressed by this little bookshop. In addition to a reasonable collection of comics and graphic novels (mis-shelved in the children's and young adult's sections. Sin City next to the Hardy Boys, I kid you not.), the RPG section was bigger than I've seen in many big chain bookstores. They had a very respectable selection of 3.5 tomes, the new World of Darkness, and second edition Exalted. Any regular bookstore where you can get the D&D core books, some dice, and Book of Nine Swords is okay by me.
Lesser lights represented included three copies of the new Star Wars rpg, some Accordlands books, a couple Iron Kingdoms hardbounds, and the latest comprehensive BattleTech rulebook. I nearly bought that last one, but it was forty bucks and I still haven't used the last comprehensive BattleTech rulebook I bought for the previous edition. I don't play that much BattleTech anymore, and my old copy of the Rules of Warfare still covers pretty much everything I need.
The most surprising item in the RPG section was the Exalted boardgame. I didn't even know there was such a thing, and here were two copies for sale right in the middle of hunting & fishing country. Back in the day over on RPGnet I had gotten the impression that Exalted was set in a pretty gonzo world, with flying cities and magic battlemechs and all kinds of crazy crap. So I was kinda disappointed when I flipped the box over and saw this:
That map and those pieces look like they could come straight from a Lord of the Rings game. Where are the volcanoes that spit molten souls? The little plastic robosaurs? Don't get me wrong. The pieces look pretty cool. The map is bland, but functional. My big issue is that this stuff could be game equipment for any ordinary fantasy game, with elves and shit. Where's the gonzo? The whoop ass? Tiny spearmen are perfectly jake, but where are the tiny plastic demonninjamonkeys or whatever? There aren't even any extraneous sea serpents on the sea areas.