I believe there is a strong community of folks in the gaming and comic book world that needs to be cultivated. Your Friendly Local Game Shop (or Your Friendly Local Comic Shop) will provide a way for me to highlight such places and give an in-depth review of the store based on the following criteria:
- Initial Impressions
- Customer Service
- Online Experience
- Overall Score
Join me as I venture to these meccas of geekdom.
148 W Tiverton Way STE 150
Lexington, KY 40503
A few weeks ago I was told about a new game shop by a friend. Shortly thereafter, a Facebook friend “liked” their page and I decided to check the store out and it was inside this store where the idea for this blog feature was born. Lexington has few stores which solely cater to the needs of gamers. Amazing Wonders sells board games, card games, game accessories such as dice, and hobby/science kits. A selection of beverages and candies also aid a gamer in his or her quest for ultimate awesomeness. Because this is a new feature, I took some pictures on my iPhone, so forgive the poor quality. I’d like to take some better pictures in the future and make that a definite part of the blog.
Initial Impressions: 5/5
Amazing Wonders is located on Tiverton Way among a hodge-podge of restaurants, offices, and specialty stores. The location is plagued by short lived businesses, so I’m very happy to see such a unique business go in there. Not only does AW sell games, they also specialize in hobby and science projects as well. One thought I had upon visiting the evening of 4/29 was how busy the store was. It was great to see so many people out for their nightly events. It was also nice to see that the store was so clean and neatly organized.
Customer Service: 5/5
Staff members greet you at the door and ask if you need help with anything. If you need to ask a price, everyone answers and obliges with courtesy and professionalism. They make it their point to help you and make sure that your experience is the best ever. They fulfill special orders and will place items on hold for you. The staff is also very pleasant on the telephone when calling for inquiries. I can’t say enough great things about the staff at Amazing Wonders.
Amazing Wonders is much more than a game store; with the event center in the back, a true sense of community is fostered there. Jason Ratliff, owner of AW explained that while many of the games that are played in the store are competitive, he wants to encourage people to socialize and have fun with other gamers. “Gamers have games in common,” he said, but many of the people that you would interact with [in the game store] aren’t people you would meet in your day to day life. Customer turned employee Ben Parks said that AW is a place where you can go and everyone will call you by name, that it has a friendly, but competitive atmosphere.
The store is aesthetically pleasing. The store is spacious and games are neatly arranged, with many popular titles facing outward for ease of shopping. There is an interesting contrast in the lighting in the store and in the event center, with the store lighting creating a subtle, homey feel. The store walls are painted orange and the event center walls are a vibrant green, which create excitement. Jason explained that he didn’t want the store to feel like a dungeon.
The store has a wide selection of both popular titles and more obscure games. They sell many different types of board games, card games, as well as role playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons. Jason said that Magic the Gathering, Arkham Horror, Flux, Dominion and Dungeons and Dragons are among the most popular titles that are played and people meet up to play them on a weekly basis. If you can’t find something you’re looking for, the staff will place a special order for you. Island shelving units highlight popular games such as the Game of Thrones board and card games as well as the RPG. There is also a large display of Cthulhu and Lovecraftian horror games. In addition to the games themselves, they offer a wide array of game accessories like Chessex dice and dice bags. I’m a fan of pretty dice and was pleasantly surprised at their dice selection, which includes full sets, D10 sets, and individuals.
For a new, independently owned store, I found their prices to be extremely fair. Their merchandise was priced comparably to other stores and close if not the same as MSRP. For the selection, prices are great.
Online Experience: 4/5
Amazing Wonders has a website, but it’s not quite full of goodies yet. There are some pictures, and pertinent information like hours and location, but it would be cool if they listed inventory or specials on their site. I think it would also be neat to be able to place orders or submit hold requests via the internet. A lot of their focus has been on their Facebook page. Their Facebook feed posts to Twitter and I think it would be cool if they incorporated Twitter a bit more in their marketing.
Overall Score: 4.8/5
Amazing Wonders has pretty much anything you could possibly want from a gaming store. I was hesitant to give them 5 of 5 in so many areas because this is my first review, but Jason and the folks down at the store really deserve it for all of their hard work. It’s a great place to shop if you’re a gaming nerd or newb alike. If you’re a newgamer, come out to the weekly events and sit at the beginners table.
Amazing Wonders is a place for gamers by gamers. Jason said that he’s been gaming for a very long time and wanted to create a family-friendly (but also adult-friendly) atmosphere for kids and adults alike to open up the box and delve into a game. The store is adult-friendly in that many of the players for the Magic the Gathering event were dressed in their 9 to 5 clothes. While the female population wasn’t huge, it was a lot more than I’d seen in other stores. You can grab some food from a nearby restaurant and make yourself at home in the gaming center.
Have you been to Amazing Wonders?
Let me know what you thought of the store in the comments below!
View my other images of the store on Flickr.