The Friendly Local Gaming Store (FLGS) should be the heart of any role-playing community with expert staff helping gamers discover new games and gaming groups. Until recently though, it seemed to be a dying breed. In my home town, Nottingham, we haven’t had a shop selling a decent range of RPG games for years.
But all that has changed in the last month. Three, yes THREE! independent games stores have open in Nottingham in the last four weeks.
Nottingham is an odd place in the gaming universe. It is one of UK’s smaller cities with a population around 1/4 million but it also the home to giant of the UK’s game industry – Games Workshop. Though GW only moved their head office to Nottingham ten or so years ago, Citadel Miniatures have been manufactured in the area for 30 years. This has led to numerous smaller, miniature companies in the area as ex-GW staff have set-up on their own.
Despite, or perhaps because of, Games Workshop’s presence in Nottingham, we haven’t had a really great, long lasting independent RPG shop in the city. Ironically, when I started gaming in the early 1980s, the Games Workshop shop carried a wide range of RPGs and was the FLGS. My social life was based around the shop for several years.
The last proper gaming shop we had was Travelling Man but when that moved to a better location, it dropped most of its RPG stock and a few months later the Nottingham branch closed. Though this did leave a legacy ….
RPG Shops in Nottingham
First of the new RPG shops in Nottingham to open was Vague Connections located on Derby Road on the way out of the city. It is a games shop in the classic mold. Run by ‘Ginga’, a hardcore gamer, it is small, cheap and friendly with several gaming tables and a good stock of games. The store has regular games nights and is host to the East Midlands Roleplayers
The second of Nottingham new shops was Mondo Comico. Situated in the heart of the city but off the beaten track, it is the spiritual successor of the Travelling Man store as it is run by David, the ex-manager of the Nottingham branch.
As its name suggest, the store stocks a wide range of comics in addition to RPG and board games. It has a spacious area for gaming and hosts the Friendly Association of Nottingham Gamers board games group.
Our third and final gaming shop is in Beeston, not far from Nottingham University, and is the second branch of Chimera. The original shop is in Ripley, near Derby, and this expansion is part of the companies on-going growth. Chimera are big in the collectable card game scene and run many leagues for them. They are also connected to the Ascendancy LRP events.
Having the backing of an existing company, Chimera in Beeston feels the most established and professional of the three new shops. For starters it has staff where as Mondo Comico and Vague Connections are run single-handedly by their owners. The shop has a good collection of comics and, not surprisingly, a wide selection of collectable card games. The RPG selection is small but perfectly formed. However the best thing about the shop is that it is literarily just round the corner from my house. Which is great but it could also prove expensive.
Image Credit – Hobby and Figure Shop by jpellgen – CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0