Game like a kid again

Let me regale you with a tale of something very elusive when it comes to wargames: a sale.

Round 1: the Setup

I live in Iowa. The city I grew up in is fairly small by city standards. Depending who you ask, let’s call it around 300,000. My fiancé is from an even smaller town. It’s close to Ames, a college town, and for a while she was going to university there. I had a chance to visit her a few times, and one of those times I decided to check out a local shop. Mayhem Comics and Collectibles. 

Man, am I glad I did. This place is pretty much the whole package: board games, collectible card games, roleplaying games, wargames, comics… Whatever you geek about. And they have plenty of space to play. It’s huge, actually. But the real reason I like it is because it’s literally the only shop I’ve ever seen that puts GW models on clearance. They have a small clearance table with all kinds of games and books on it, and once in a while you can score something nice and not that old. I got the plastic clam pack librarian there for half off once!

Anyway, last weekend we were in my fiancé’s home town for the Thanksgiving holiday. I had planned to maybe swing through Ames when we left town on Sunday, but she didn’t feel like coming with me (I can waste hours there if I’m allowed to) so she suggested I stop by on Friday night after we all ate dinner. Her younger brother is a burgeoning board game and RPG geek, so I asked if he wanted to come with me. He did along with his lady-friend with whom he games.

When we got to the shop, I realized what day it was. Black Friday. The biggest day for sales in the US. When I walked in, I saw they were indeed having a sale. What’s this? A game shop with an actual sale? I was cautiously excited. One of the workers told us what was going on as we started walking around the board games room. He mentioned the Black Friday clearance table downstairs had everything 40% off. I asked if that included Games Workshop stuff and he said it did. I altered course and made a beeline for the stairs. Holy cow.

Round 2: Shopping Spree

Sale sign at Mayhem Comics and CollectiblesThey had so much stuff… All kinds of different game systems, all piled up on a big table. A couple things caught my eye right away: the new Dark Vengeance box set and Space Hulk. The new one. That’s still hard to get in a bunch of places. On clearance. They also had recent campaign books (two Stormclaw ones) and RPG books in hardback. Plus a bunch of boxes of models, of course. I was really hemming and hawing over them for a long time. I was texting pictures to my fiancé and trying to get her buy-in since we didn’t have a lot of money and holiday shopping was coming on. Eventually I settled on just Dark Vengeance because for the small rulebook and templates, and I could almost certainly find something to do with the models.

IMG_1876I also had a browse around the board game room with my fiancé’s brother and his lady-friend. Everything in this room was also 25% off and Sam and I have been getting more into board games lately. I saw Relic on the shelf and I’d been looking for an excuse to get it for a long time. I texted her the pic and also a pic of the contents I found online. She approved. Sold.

Aquila luggage / army case tagLast but not least, I saw this little gem sitting in a weird spot. How cute is that? It’s a tag for your army bag or case that doubles as a bright yellow luggage tag. I’ve been using a yellow Lego luggage tag for a while, but this might replace it. I love crap like this. Call me a fanboy or a little kid, I don’t care. Sold.

So all in all, I ended up getting the new Dark Vengeance starter set 40% off, Relic for 25%, and this tag for 25% as well. Really solid deals, in my opinion. In a hobby where it’s rare to find anything more than maybe 20% if you shop online, this made me very happy.

Bonus Round: Kitchen Table 40K

Dark Vengeance box assembledSo, I wasn’t really planning on this to happen, but of course I was trying to talk my fiancé’s brother into getting into Warhammer. He wasn’t feeling it 100%, but he was being polite and humoring me at least. I told him if I was getting the starter set, we could maybe squeeze in a demo game this weekend. Actually it might have been his idea. After we got home Friday night, I convinced him to help me assemble the DV models and this was the fruit of our labor. Yes, those are nail clippers on the ground and yes, that’s what we used to get them off the sprue. No glue. No knives. This was ghetto 40K with a push fit starter set, and actually it was a blast. Real throwback.

Tabletop wargaming. Like, kitchen tabletop.After our big meal on Saturday, we found ourselves standing around in that awkward lull, and he actually brought up trying to get a game in with what sounded like actual enthusiasm. We moved a bunch of leftovers and took over the kitchen table. No green flock, no terrain (not even books for hills, but that would have been next). Just our models, whippy sticks (I did have him grab a real tape measure for some stuff), the starter guide, and lots of confused glances from the rest of the family. We mucked about with the intro mission stuff to jump him into the rules, but man there’s a lot to explain. Our first demo ran a couple of hours with breaks to say goodbye to departing family, and then we jumped in and played another game. We stayed up until about 1 AM playing and he seemed to really enjoy it.

He even figured out how to use his cultists to bubble-wrap the Chosen in that game. Not bad, kid. Not bad. Overall he seemed to dig it, but he expressed concern over having time and money to really get into it. I understand that. His mother had the same concern when I told her he actually kind of liked it. I suggested he find a rich buddy and try to get him to pick it up so he could ride off his coat-tails. I ended up leaving the chaos figs with him just in case he feels like messing around with them. I certainly don’t have time to do anything with them anytime soon. Some were really cool, though. Vrosh Tattersoul or whatever his name is in particular is really nice. It was really fun to just chitchat over a couple of games and try to explain even a portion of it to a noob. I highly suggest it, because it reminded me of all the fun I’ve had with these games over the years. To be fair, I did tell him at the store and then later again that there are tons of other games similar to this, and some are less expensive. It doesn’t matter much to me whether he gets into 40K or something else, but I love the idea of having a quick game when I visit her side of the family.

End note: Relic

I’ve been looking over Relic and I have to say, I’m pretty pumped to try it out. The board, cards and busts look really cool in a slightly cartoony way. I think it’ll be fun as heck and I hope my lady-friend likes it so I can get a game in once in a while. There’s so much going on! I think it’ll be more fun with 4 players but I feel like it’ll be tough to get someone to play with us.