The plan was to bundle into a car, with various games, drive through and spend most of the afternoon there. And I must admit, this time I really did love it when a plan came together.
We'd met the owner, Steve, before at Carronade (the wargames show in Falkirk put on by the FDWC), when he was handing out flyers. And what a nice fellow. Arriving near opening time, we said hello, and Steve quickly said he'd give us the grand tour of the place.
Upon entering, you're presented with two options. You can turn right, into the retailer section, or straight ahead into the gaming section.
The retail section has a good stock of various games, including Dystopian Wars, Dropzone Commander, Malifaux, Warhammer, 40K, Warmachine/Hordes, Empire of the Dead, Infinity, and some slightly more obscure ones like Anima Tactics, and MERCS. He's also said that he's looking at stocking Bushido and Godslayer (Yay!!!!)
Along with miniatures, there's a small section of RPGs, including the FFG ones based on the GW universes, some D&D, Pathfinder and a couple of others. There's also a whole load of board games, from the usuals like Settlers of Catan, and the various FFG games, to the more usual family games.
A good selection of the popular card games are behind the counter, while facing the counter is an area with scenery from the ever popular Battlefield in a box range by GF9, to a whole load of scenic bits also produced by GF9, a good selection of paints from Vallejo and Army Painter, and tools and brushes, while another shelf stocks a good selection of the current wargaming magazines.
That's not all in the retail section though, as he also has a fully functioning cafe, serving baguettes, toasties, various cakes, cans of soft drinks, and tea and coffee, along with a dedicated staff member for said cafe. While not featured on the menu, they allow a bit of customization, so I ended up with something dubbed "The double pig", comprising of a ham, bacon, and cheese toastie. And it was mighty tasty. There's also a nice little seating area in the cafe part, for relaxing away as well, perusing your purchases, while having a tea.
I can tell your impressed. Now the gaming area is no less impressive. He's got if I counted correctly 20 6x4 tables set up, all with scenery, and a whole host of smaller tables for things like card gaming, roleplaying, or as we used them for, playing Dreadball and Bushido, as I'd brought a 2x2 board.
|A photo of one of the lengths of table, with some of my cohorts having a game of X-Wing in the corner. I'm informed Darth Vader died like a bitch.
|A wonderful sea board, great for things like Dystopian Wars, lovingly hand painted by Steve's wife.
|Another board, with some Malifaux terraclips, and some Dropzone commander card scenery.
|One of the space boards, again lovingly handed painted by Steve's wife. Also note, cupholders are a feature on all the boards, so no more spillages.
|Another row of boards. You can also see off to the boards to the left and right, space is provided for all your bags etc.
|Some wonderful scenery made using the hirst arts moulds, which was kindly donated to Steve by a benefactor. Perfect for Godslayer I think.
If you just intend on using the smaller tables, it's only £2.00 for the whole day. Again perfect if you play a lot of RPG, or a Dreadball league. Given the opening times are 2-9 Tuesday and Wednesday, 2-11 on Thursday and Friday, 2-8 on Sunday, and a mammoth 11-11 on Saturday, I'm sure you'll agree that's a good deal.
Also, as if it couldn't get better, there's also some lamps provided on one table, so you can do a bit of painting or modelling.
And yet there's more. If you decide you don't want to play games all day, and actually fancy a break to go do some of that outside stuff, but don't want to lug all your gaming possessions around, they also have lockers to rent out, so that you can store your stuff and come back for it later.
So to sum it up, I'm a bit in awe. Steve appears to have thought of everything and has crafted what could be the perfect store. You can go in, make your purchases, have a bit to eat, and play games in what is a nice, bright and airy gaming room. You can then put your stuff in a locker, go out for a bit, and then come back for more games.
I keep thinking to myself the only problems is that it's in Stirling, and I'm in Glasgow. Yet when we drove there, when we got on the motorway at 10, we were there and parked by about 10.40 at the latest. So really not very far at all.
I know we are already talking about going back, possibly making it into a monthly visit, but even then, with the long opening hours, and actual relative closeness, you don't even need to plan it that much, if you just fancy going up for some games, it's a great place.
So if you're anywhere near this place, I can only recommend it. Go there, play games, buy stuff, cause otherwise who knows if it'll survive. And given how great this store is, that would be a terrible, terrible shame.
As always, thanks for looking.