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Your Friendly Local Game Shop: The Rusty Scabbard

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
  • Atmosphere
  • Selection
  • Value
  • Online Experience
  • Overall Score

Join me as I venture to these meccas of geekdom.

820 Lane Allen Rd (Garden Springs Shopping Center)
Lexington KY 40504
859-278-6634

Hours: M – Sat 11 am – 9 pm
Sun 1 pm – 6pm
Website
Facebook | Twitter

I have been a customer of The Rusty Scabbard for four years. My first set of dice came from there – a Christmas present from my best friend to get me into the spirit of gaming – and I have had many enjoyable experiences shopping there. I have spent countless occasions looking for the perfect set of dice or the miniature that so closely resembles what I envision a character to look like. It, for many years, has been the preeminent gaming store in Lexington. I ask that you let my review speak for not only my experience, but that of others as well.

Initial Impressions: 2/5

The store’s décor reminds you of a role-player’s basement from the 80s. It’s dark, dingy, musty and not very inviting. We were greeted rather suspiciously by a female employee and the staff member agreed (very relucantly) to let us look around. The Scabbard has been in business since 1982 and have spent the last fifteen years at their current location. The posters and advertisements for games such as Warhammer are faded from exposure to sunlight and quite dated.

Atmosphere: 1/5

The lighting is dim and doesn’t highlight the products very well, creating a dark mood. There were a few people at table in the front of the store and they seemed deep in game. A few more were in a large room to the back. It was nice to actually see people there, many time I have entered what seemed like a ghost town. The staff member I talked to said that the store was founded for gamers, by gamers with a mission “to make them [gamers] happy.” She said that they want people to enjoy themselves, bring their friends and have a good time. I didn’t get a sense of that, however, when I was at the store. Frankly, the mood was fairly depressing.

Customer Service: 1/5

While there are several people I have encountered recently in visting the Scabbard, only one has seemed genuine in asking me if there is anything I need. Others have seemed like assisting you is a chore. Maybe it’s just helping you in person, because when I called and spoke with the same female employee for a price check a day after visiting, she was reasonably friendly. She wasn’t able to immediately discern my needs, but once she understood what product I was looking for, she was nice enough.

However, the biggest issue that I have with their customer service at this point is their special order policy. While the staff member that I spoke with upon my last visit assured me that they place special orders, their biggest problem is actually contacting the customers to let them know that their dice have arrived. Two close friends have placed special orders within the last year, of the two, we are only aware of one set of dice that arrived at the store, and that is because we saw them for sale as general merchandise. I am appalled at the fact that they have completely dropped the ball in the customer service arena.

Selection: 4/5

If there is one thing that can be said about the Rusty Scabbard is that it is a tried and true gaming store. They an extensive selection of RPGS, board games, card games, war games and gaming supplies in stock. They carry titles such as Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder, Warhammer 40,000, Munchkin, Call of Cthulhu, Dominion and Game of Thrones. There is a large supply of miniatures which is quite impressive and  hobby items are for sale as well. There aren’t many opportunities to take a game out of a box and try it, however. The open games that they have actually belong to a weekly board-gaming group and you have to ask for permission. It would be nice if they had more open board-gaming.

Value: 5/5

Their prices are fair. It is a small, independently owned store and their prices are comparable to other stores as well as MSRP.

Online Experience: 3/5

Their website has said “Rusty Scabbard Coming Soon” for as long as I can remember. They do all of their marketing through Facebook and route their feed through Twitter. I would suggest opening up their website or putting more inventory details on their Facebook page.

Overall Score 2.6/5

As I said before, I have been a customer of the Rusty Scabbard for four years. It was a happening place, then, people gamed there all the time and it was the gaming store in Lexington. I am not the only person who has taken issue with the downgrade in the quality of service and lack of vibrancy in the store. The store could feel so much better if they changed the décor or ripped up the dusty, grimy carpets.  One would think that like a fine wine, the store would have gotten better with age, but it is sadly no longer the “Friendly Local Game Shop” it once was.

 As a long time customer, I am disappointed in the lack of professionalism the Rusty Scabbard has been showing lately. I recently placed a special order and never received any follow up or notice that the item was in. This has happened to others I know so when I went in to the store, the item I ordered was available in the general merchandise. Even more than a customer let down is the negative atmosphere; the female employee will not allow you to browse on your own without her watchful eye; and it isn’t a helpful hovering. It’s sad to see the state of the business decline but they are bringing on the negativity through their own service or rather…the lack thereof. ~ Leila M, Lexington

Have you been to The Rusty Scabbard?

Let me know what you think in the comments below!

View my other images of the store on Flickr.

Check out my last installment of Your Friendly Local Game Shop here.

Your Friendly Local Game Shop: Amazing Wonders Gaming and Hobby Center

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
  • Atmosphere
  • Selection
  • Value
  • Online Experience
  • Overall Score

Join me as I venture to these meccas of geekdom.

148 W Tiverton Way STE 150
Lexington, KY 40503
859.272.0750

Hours: M – Th 10 am – 9 pm
Fri – Sat 10 am – 11 pm
Sun 1 pm – 6 pm
Website
Facebook | Twitter

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.

Atmosphere: 5/5 

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.

Selection: 5/5

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.

Value: 5/5

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.

Stuff That Doesn’t Suck (2)

Stuff That Doesn't Suck at Kentucky Geek Girl

Stuff that doesn’t suck is a meme hosted by Pam at Bookalicious where we graciously share with you the things that we come across in a week that don’t suck. This includes a variety of things from books to music to youtube and even more. Feel free to join in on the comments or on your own blog.

Song That Doesn’t Suck


Mumford and Sons – Little Lion Man

It was a tough pick for this week. There are a lot of songs that I’m all about right now, but Little Lion Man is just one of those songs that you hear and instantly want to listen to again. I think it has a lot of heart, but there are some sarcastic elements to it as well. Just listen to the lyrics. I interpret it as a guy talking to himself about the love that he had, but totally f&%$ed up. It’s like you have this love to give and it’s in your heart, but everytime you get close to expressing it, the worst happens. Just my interpretation. Regardless, it’s an amazing song. I can’t wait to check out more from Mumford and Sons.

Cupcakery That Doesn’t Suck

BabyCakes Cupcakes opened its doors in Lexington, KY in April 2009. They only use all-natural, organic ingredients for their cupcake creations and offer gluten free options. Their cupcakes are absolutely divine and have so much flavor. BabyCakes offers over fifty flavors and even have Cocktail cupcakes with a hint of your favorite alcohol. Best of all, BabyCakes is totally committed to the community. They offer donations for local events (such as my museum’s Scary Night at the Museum Halloween event) and do donation days where their day’s sales go toward causes such as flood and earthquake relief. The owners, Trish and Keith are a delight and it was really nice to see Trish today when she came to my work to deliver a cupcake display for a wedding!

BabyCakes Cupcakes
153 Patchen Drive, Suite 57B
Lexington, KY

Photo That Doesn’t Suck

Yes, that’s a funnel cloud…

So, we’ve been having some pretty severe weather here in Central KY for the last week or so. Last night, things really ramped up and when they said that a system that had a history of tornadoes was passing into my city, I got a bit freaked out. I love storms, but it was still pretty nerve-wracking. Thankfully, a friend let me come over and hang out with him while the storm passed. While it didn’t actually touch down here in Lexington, we did get to see a funnel cloud. This picture was taken by a friend. You can follow his weather tweets at @WatcherWolf_KY.

Gaming Shop That Doesn’t Suck

I am working on a series of posts called “Your Friendly Neighborhood Game Shop.” I wanted to give a a shout out to my new favorite store in Lexington. Amazing Wonders Gaming & Hobby Center is a new store in Lex, but has already made a great name for itself. The folks there are friendly, they have a large event center and the store is clean. I was able to find a pretty set of d10s for our Vampire game. They take special orders and have a huge selection of Role-playing games, Card games and other hobby items. Look for my post about them soon! Meanwhile, check out their Facebook!

Awkward Embraces Rolls A Nat 20 in Awesome

Let’s face it, dating isn’t easy. It can be difficult, uncomfortable, but most of all, it can be awkward especially if you’re a geek girl. Not only can asking someone out or being asked out be an absolute chore, but then there’s the date itself! It’s so hard to find someone who truly appreciates all of your interests and who won’t run screaming from a conversation about Star Trek. Come on, nerdy girls need love too! Finally, there is a series which shows the difficulties that your typical lady geek goes through to find her Number One. Awkward Embraces is a web series from Project A Productions which encapsulates perfectly what it’s like to be both awesome and socially awkward at the same time. Show of hands, how many of us can relate to that?

Jessica Mills, creator of Awkward Embraces, stars alongside Candis Phlegm and Lyndsey Doolen as they create the Three Musketeers of Geekdom. Jessica, who Candis describes as a “geek boy’s dreamgirl,” loves Star Trek, video games, and all things geeky. She wears Star Wars t-shirts proudly and loves throwing in obscure pop culture references into everyday lingo. Her friends love her, but don’t always get what she’s talking about. (Such is the plague of a geek girl, unless all of your friends are geeks too!) The show, now in its second season, is honest and cleverly written and if you’ve ever had a bad date, you can totally relate to girls’ dating highs-and-lows.

One such low is recounted by Jessica in Season 1’s Fourth episode titled “The Morning After.” After meeting a guy at a mutual friend’s party, she goes back to his place and “accidentally has sex with him.” Also in season one, Candis is set up on a blind date by her mom. In season 2, Lyndsey reconnects with an old friend who has less than savory intentions for their reunion. The situations that the girls go through in Awkward Embraces aren’t too far-fetched to not be something that might happen to one of us. Candis, Lyndsey, and Jessica seem just like any set of friends. They’re totally there for eachother, but not afraid to tell it like is is. When Jessica asks if she’s a dirty slut, Lyndsey says, “Yes, you are, and it’s awesome, right?”

Awkward Embraces is an independent web series. The show is considerably successful to have such a small financial backing; funds for Season 2 were raised on IndieGogo. And while it looks as if the show was filmed in the girls’ own living rooms, that actually contributes to the personality of the show. Jessica is a sort of “everywoman” who lives out our own trials and tribulations. In fact, a neat feature of the show’s website is viewer submitted dating horror stories. Maybe I should submit the story about the guy I went on a date with who was the self-proclaimed best healer on his realm in World of Warcraft?

The show is currently on hiatus, but that gives you plenty of time to go back and watch all of the episodes from Season 1 and the beginning of season 2. You will literally laugh out loud at some of the awkwardly realistic moments. Meanwhile, check out updates on the show’s website, Facebook and Twitter accounts. You can also follow Jessica, Candis and Lyndsey on twitter! Oh, and Candis is totally awesome! (She didn’t tell me to say that.. I promise!)

Coming Soon: Your Friendly Neighborhood Game Shop

I love visiting game stores. When I went to Louisville last year, my friends and I checked out a shop there and it was really cool. My best friend Leila and I happened to visit two of our local game stores on Friday afternoon and ran into a distinct contrast. While visiting the second, I had an epiphany. My site is Kentucky Geek Girl and yet I haven’t really talked about Kentucky at all. Why don’t I start reviewing game stores here?!  Leila agreed that it was a brilliant idea and thus “Your Friendly Neighborhood Game Shop” was born.

Image courtesy of Google Image Search.

I plan to visit each of the game stores (and comic book stores) of Lexington and talk about their pros and cons, discuss special features, and include pictures. I’m very excited to undertake this project! I’m currently putting together a list of all of the stores in Lexington (and even those in surrounding cities) so I can visit and review them. Any suggestions on what I should discuss in the review?

Basic outline:

Name of Store
Address
Phone Number
Website/Social Media

Brief Description
Pros
Cons

Should I include a rating? Let me know what you think!

So what type of geek are you, anyway?

I’ve written a bit about Dungeons and Dragons as well as video gaming, but there are many more sides to this geek girl. I’m somewhat of a comic book geek, though I must admit that I do not currently collect any. I love X-Men and have fond memories reading Spiderman at the soda fountain counter of a drug store in my hometown. I am a history major and am a total museum geek. I love Renaissance Fairs and historical reenactments. I’m a music and movie geek as well. TV has always been a part of my personal geekdom with Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Star Trek: The Next Generation being among my favorite shows. I’ve just rediscovered my love for Broadway musicals and have been listening to them non-stop. Oh, I love languages and other cultures, too! I could go on and on, but why don’t you just take a look at this diagram and decide what kind of geek you are. Leave a note in the comments section and tell me what you love!

Cake, Men and Sprinkles

Over a year ago, I wrote a post in an old blog with this title. It received a good response, so when I shut down that blog, I decided to save the post in a text document. I feel that this post is timely for me once more. I was seeing someone for a few months, but we decided to just be friends. I’m not terribly ashamed to admit that I have had few boyfriends in my life, none in my adult life, though I’ve dated around. I’m not the type of person who can just jump into a relationship. Even at the lowest points, I just think about what things will be like when I meet that special someone. My best friend, Leila, helps me through those lonely moments. She’s very wise.

As I feel I am maturing as a person, being single doesn’t quite bother me as much now as it did when I was in my late teens and early twenties. I didn’t care about boyfriends and dating when I was in high school, but when I first went to college, I started to feel like a big loser because I was single. Now, as I am older, I know that things happen in their own time. Leila told me once, and I’m paraphrasing here, “Finding the right guy is like waiting on a cake to rise.” There is a lot of truth in this statement. The perfect guy is like the perfect cake: warm, comforting, and great with chocolate frosting.

So, what causes a cake to fall?

  1. Temperature – I once baked a cake in an oven that was to hot. Didn’t turn so well. Baking a cake in an oven with too low a temperature also causes problems. How does this translate to relationships? Well, it can go several ways. If you and your date get too hot too fast, that can really be a disaster. I went out with a guy once that kept trying to turn the temperature up, but yeah, not so much. Needless to say, that cake… flopped.
  2. Ingredients – Putting the wrong types of ingredients together can cause a cake to turn out unexpectedly. Similarly, putting the wrong types of people together can cause romantic troubles.
  3. Mixing – If ingredients are mixed incorrectly, then there is a chance that chemical reactions could occur which would cause a cake to fall. If two people, perfect though they may be for each other, are put into an undesirable situation, then the romance could be lost. Or maybe you have romantic feelings for someone and though they may not reciprocate these feelings, if you keep agitating the situation then it could cause all sorts of problems.

So, what’s the ideal situation for letting your cake rise? I’ve learned that patience is probably the best thing that you can have. Don’t open the door too soon. Don’t think you can turn the heat up and let bake faster. Just let go, let it be even. And wait. Wait for that perfect cake. The one that will absolutely take your breath away.

In the mean time, eat a tub of frosting or lick a few beaters, it’s definitely up to you. (Nat 20 on the innuendo, btw.)