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Tag: Greenfire Games

Greenfire Games Revisited!

I had a chance to swing by my FLGS on Saturday, Greenfire Games. They’ve reorganized a bit since their grand opening. The store offers even more gaming room while maintaining wide aisles to browse product. I kept most of my money safe in my pocket on this trip, but a nice conversation with Mike Bradshaw gave me some information I had to share.

Greenfire Games YouTube Channel

The folks at the shop have started reviewing games and posting play-throughs. They tackle the Doom board game on their first outing.

Check out their channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYSlyJsloO3SpB0u0kcqxDg 

Game Rentals

Greenfire Games now allows you to rent certain games. Leaving a credit card number will let you walk out with hits like Start Wars: Rebellion and play them for a week. The store collects $10 for the service, applicable to a purchase of a shiny new copy game if you decide to buy it. If you don’t want to keep it, the shop will give you $5 back when you return it in good condition. Almost everything on the demo wall is available for rent, including Rebellion, Clank, Android Mainframe, Splendor, Mysterium, Escape from the Aliens In the Dark.

Massive Miniatures Event February 25

Greenfire Games brings in another round of game companies to show off their wares. This event will feature company drive demos of Frostgrave, Dystopian Wars, Wreck-age, 28mm Mechattack, Aetherium, and Hexplore: Valley of the Ancient Kings. Participants will be entered in a raffle for a copy of the recently re-released copy of Blood Bowl. The more demos you play, the more chances you get to win.

Greenfire Games continues to build a sense of community in the south suburbs. I can’t say I’ve met a more fervent group of people dedicated to building on the success of the hobby. If I had more money to spend on games, I would spend it there.

Greenfire Games Lights Up the South Suburbs

The taco truck parked out front told me this place was a little different. Food vans and gamers. Such a simple, genius, idea.

Greenfire Games, my new local game shop, opened its doors on October 1st. My interest piqued by a post on Facebook, I hustled my way over to check it out. A few long-established stores exist nearby. Friendly enough staff and players gathered around dimly lit folding tables; dusty product stacked on shelves. Greenfire Games appears to offer something more.

Greenfire game rents time on two 3D printers for customers to make custom tokens and figures.

Greenfire Games rents time on two 3D printers for customers to make custom tokens and figures.

Upon walking in, I noticed bright lights illuminating custom built gaming table toppers. Knowledgeable and personable staff guided customers through new games. Shelf talkers offered free promos with purchases. A mixed crowd of children, adults, and old timers like myself mingled and shared their favorite stories. Two 3D printers churned out custom coins, figures, tokens, and scenery. Intrigued, I wanted to learn more from the brains behind this effort.

Fate brought Michael Bradshaw and Brian Stuchell together a little over a year ago. Brian worked in sales without any history of gaming. Unhappy with his job, Brian wanted a big change and landed a position at a game shop, of all places. Mike, a lifetime collector of games, managed the shop. Working together, Brian developed a solid base of retail management skills, and Mike’s personal collection and desire to own his own store intensified.

“…with tabletop games you have an inherent sense of community,” Mike explained. “That is what interests me the most. I see Greenfire Games as a place where people can sit down with their peers on a weekly basis and have a good time. In the short time we have been around I am very proud of the range of people we have brought together and I can’t wait to see how it grows.”

“We made sure if there was anyone who made people uncomfortable or was inappropriate in any way we would take them to the side and talk to them”

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Greenfire Games offers free promos with some games.

Building that community and entrusting it to support a store took time and effort. Mike told me, “We have been running weekly game events for the past year at different venues. We made sure if there was anyone who made people uncomfortable or was inappropriate in any way we would take them to the side and talk to them, if it continued they would not be invited back. We took the time to make a safe environment and built friendships with the members of our group.”

The two would run events for any occasion. When one of their regulars decided to get hitched, Mike and Brian organized games for the reception. The bride and groom had a chance to do what they loved with friends and the two future shop owners entertained the rest of the guests with extra-large versions of crowd pleasers.

Greenfire Games offers something every day of the week.

Greenfire Games offers something every day of the week.

“The store came together in a series of conversations over the last year” Mike continued. “As game collectors, our regulars knew, they could order everything online, but they said they would rather pay slightly more if it meant they were supporting us and what we were trying to do.”

Eventually, Brian wondered how much money they would need to actually open their own shop. “I have a buddy in commercial real estate and I gave him a call.”

Working with their partner Marcus Felgenhauer, the three started in earnest last May. They opened a web site for game reviews, unboxing videos, rule explanations, and general industry news. They started expanding their reputation online before going looking for investors.

Their lack of experience with video didn’t lead to success with the crowdsourcing marketplace.

The three considered raising funds through Patreon and GoFundMe. Unfortunately, their lack of experience with video didn’t lead to success with the crowdsourcing marketplace. However, a few individuals, notably Phillip Flores, believed they could create something exceptional and helped. Philip became their fourth partner.

The team logically scouted for locations in the southwest suburbs where they had already established a client base. They needed to stay local.

Greenfire Games uses custom tabletops in their game space.

Greenfire Games uses custom tabletops in their game space.

“Big play area was our number one factor,” Brian told me. “That is such a big part of what we are trying to do. For example, tonight we have 12 people playing X-wing, 6 playing Magic, another 2 playing a tabletop game. With so many seats we can support this nightly.”

The two never doubted their efforts. When I asked about difficulties, Brian replied, “Truthfully we always knew it was going to happen. We did hit a point while searching for funding that we had to take a hard look at the timeframe.” They hoped the store would open in time to take advantage of Christmas shoppers, but not get lost in the retail chaos of November and December.

Greenfire Games found the sweet spot. “We have had a great first week, not only did we have a huge turnout for the grand opening itself,” said Mike, “but we have had a huge number of new customers over the last week. We’ve seen a steady increase in new returning customers, almost doubling the people we considered regulars. Some people have been in four-five days in over the last week.”

“I won’t feel satisfied until we have a packed house every night and even then there’s always room to grow.”

A successful first week doesn’t mean the two aren’t looking towards the future. Brian told me, “Next is continuing to build up our presence in the community. We started doing the Blue Island Park District game nights on Friday, twice a month. We have to keep bringing new people in and introducing them to these games. I won’t feel satisfied until we have a packed house every night and even then there’s always room to grow. We really do strive to be a cornerstone of this area bringing families away from the TV and computer and back to the table. All puns intended.”

“We are a welcoming environment for gamers of all ages and love teaching and getting new people in the hobby.”

Greenfire Games partners, left to right: Brian Stuchell, Philip Flores, Mike Bradshaw and Marcus Felgenhauer

Greenfire Games partners, left to right: Brian Stuchell, Philip Flores, Mike Bradshaw and Marcus Felgenhauer

Greenfire Games: 4811 95th St, Oak Lawn, IL 60453; (708) 576-8442

Geek Weekend Guide for Sept. 30, and Oct. 1 & 2

I will desperately try to squeeze in some Geek for this weekend, but I’m focusing mostly on getting my new place set up.  Hopefully, I will be able to pop out and check out a new FLGS (Friendly Local Game Store). Greenfire Games is celebrating their grand opening on Saturday. If you’re near Oak Lawn, pop by the shop. Could it be a successor to Pat’s Hobbies?

And now, here are a couple of the cool things I won’t be able to attend this weekend.

ValorCon

Now in its second year, ValorCon will take place at Macy’s Event Center, Friday to Sunday.  It features scores of computer and video, live-action, tabletop games, and a host of interesting panels. A few we noticed include: Geek Femspective (to discuss  What’s Missing in the Geek Community), Friendship, Romance & Sexuality in valorcon-2-pngVideo Games, and Building a Successful Kickstarter.

In addition, participants are given an opportunity to join one of four larger teams, and points can be earned at all offered activities toward earning fame, fortune, and prizes! We website describes the event reads:

Being the biggest city in the US within reach of both coasts and everything in-between makes us the perfect gaming nexus. You’ll get to try new games, compete in tournaments, take group lessons, see veteran players go head-to-head, engage with publishers as they demo upcoming titles, and attend panels with industry leaders and gameplay experts.

Macy’s Event Center, 111 N. State Street, Chicago, IL; September 30 – October 2; For tickets visit: www.valorcon.com

Otherworld Theatre Company Presents Paragon

On Saturday and Sunday, Otherworld Theatre Company presents paragonParagon, 40 short science-fiction and fantasy plays performed by 110 actors over the course of  two days. This is the second year of this short-play festival, dedicated to Otherworld’s missing of growing the genre of Science and Fantasy.  Plays are divided into roughly one-hour blocks over the course of two days. Performances will take place at the Public House Theatre.

The Public House Theatre, 3914 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60613
11 a.m.-6:45 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Sunday
For tickets visit: http://www.otherworldtheatre.org/paragon

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