Saturday, August 28, 2010

Home... where the heart is.

Currently, I am in my store (Armored Gopher Games) late on a Friday night watching a bunch of the regulars playing multiplayer silliness...

I have spent Wednesday, Thursday, and early this morning in Madison, Wisconsin for a game distributor trade. While I had a good time, between the driving, the fact I don't sleep well in new places (read: hotels), and the alcohol they (the industry folks) plied us with, I'm more than a bit tired. Actually... I'm pretty freakin' exhausted.

I drove home this morning/afternoon, dropped stuff off at the house, played with the dog a bit, then came to the store where my wife was before we opened. Seeing her was, and is always, a good thing. I missed her...

A friend picked up the kids after they got home from school and then brought them to the store, so I got to see my children after not seeing them for two days. That was good. I missed them...

We had a major release today, then we had Friday Night Magic (with 24 attendees). Business came hard and heavy. It was a good day business-wise, but, again, exhausting.

Which brings us back to the beginning...

Currently, I am in my store (Armored Gopher Games) late on a Friday night watching a bunch of the regulars playing multiplayer silliness... ...and I am as happy as a pig in mud. While I enjoy the occassional trip, it's not the same without the wife and kids... and the Gophers.

It is past Midnight on a late Friday night... and it doesn't look like I'm leaving before 2AM on a night when I have run myself ragged, but I am happy.

I'm with family currently...

When it's done, I'm going home to be with the wife, the daughter, and the dog...

I'm going to sleep in my own bed...

I am home.


Thursday, July 08, 2010

I Weep Inside...

Okay... WotC/Hasbro releases a revamped for D&D Fourth edition version of the classic adventure "the Tomb of Horrors" on July 20th. As a WotC Premier store, Armored Gopher Games can release it on Friday, July 9th (tomorrow). As such, it came into the store today and I have had a chance to look through it.

My memories have been badly scarred and my soul weeps as a result of what is between the covers of this book/adventure. Forget the hype... disregard all the smoke and mirrors about updating a classic adventure to 4th Edition standards... the ball has been dropped... HARD.

New suggested names for this abomination...

Crypt of Lies
Sarcophagus of Sacrilege
Mausoleum of Untruth
Cairn of Deception
Catacomb of Motardedness

I could go on a HUGE rant on why this book is a travesty, but I don't have that kind of time to write the rant necessary to vent my rage at this product. Keep in mind, I run a game store and this is a product I sell within it, and I realize it is bad business to bash on such an item. I *WANTED* to like this product based on all the pre-release propaganda that WotC put forth prior to its release. I was excited. I was willing and even looking forward to picking up my D&D4E GM screen one more time and running this for a group of players at my store.

I can't... I. Just. Can't.

If any WotC employee reads this, I do apologize for being so negative, but this is just one more example of D&D4E not being the D&D I grew up with in any way shape or form...


peace... RHManiac

Monday, June 14, 2010

Paraphrasing Christopher Titus...

After some of the headaches I've gone through today, I'm surprised I'm not wandering the countryside killing hookers with a spoon.

The bank I use for the game store got purchased by another bank. The big switchover happened today. That meant I needed to get ahold of all my vendors and update credit card/checking account info so payments would not bounce. As I'm trying to complete step one of the whole process, I hit a snag. The snag necessitates a trip to the bank itself, which is absolutely SWAMPED with less than happy people. The basic conversation to get the first hurdle cleared went something like this...

Bank Employee #1: Welcome to XXXXX, how are you doing today?

Me: Grumpy. This switchover is anything but painless.

BE#1: Welllll... Let's see what we can do about that. XXXXX can in bank services can help you.

Me: Fine. Whatever. Just make things work.

BE#2: What seems to be the problem?

(I toss down the shiny, new business check card they've sent me onto his desk.)

Me: This need to be activated.

BE#2: Well, that is a simple matter. Did you try doing it over the phone?

[A look of  "I'm going to leap over your desk and strangle you" crosses my face.]

Me: Yes. Yes I did. It insists on me inputing a piece of information that I have never possessed in the life of my prior card usage.

BE#2: Well, you should have that information...

[Me interrupting... ...with more than slightly perturbed growl creeping into my voice.]

Me: Not if I've never used the card in the manner where that information is necessary. If it's too much trouble for you to do this, then get me your supervisor and you can explain to him why I'm closing my buisness accounts here.


BE#2: Let's get this working, shall we.

In short, things get working in about a ten minute period after that exchange.

I get back to the store, get things in order, and then a thunderstorm rolls in. Now, I live in Illinois. Thunderstorms roll in all the time during this part of the year. What actually rolls in is an electrical storm of a magnitude that I haven't seen for about a year... ...the last time the cable modem at the store got fried. See where I'm going with this?

Strangely, while our internet was down, our internet-based phone service doesn't miss a beat. Weird.

So, about three hours after I call, the internet company comes and replaces the deep-fried box with a shiny new one.

My guess is that the new cable box will last about a year... sigh...

peace... RHManiac/GopherDave

Sunday, June 13, 2010


As a game store owner, one might think that I am just swimming in gaming enjoyment.

One would be wrong.

I currently run two HERO System 6th Edition games, and I play in a Deadlands: Hell on Earth (classic) game. Every now and then I play some casual Magic: the Gathering or even Friday Night Magic, but in general, I am frequently too busy actually running the store to really game. As a game store owner, it's a good problem to have. =)

All that being said... I still love games. I mean, I own a game store... I had *BETTER* love games. Loving games means that I still think about games and game design. As such, I am rethinking my own fantasy heartbreaker game setting, Tai'eres. Mentally, it's about time for my brain to latch onto something game design related. I'm not saying anything is going to come of this round of ponderings. Just saying the creative stormfront is on the horizon.

...until then...

peace... RHManiac

It's been a while...


It's been 2+ years since I have posted anything. Honestly, things have been busy and I haven't had much to say that I haven't been saying to friends anyway.

So what's happened over the time? A lot... and not all that much.

Back in September 2008, Heather and I bought Squirl out of his half of the store. He stuck around for a bit helping out (a LOT) until the end of May of 2009. Squirl still comes in and games on a regular basis, but he doesn't really help run the store anymore. In a lot of ways I miss him in that capcity because he's an excellent sounding board and frequently shows wisdom beyond his years. I understand why he left though. His life was getting hectic and our being partners was straining our friendship. In the end, his stepping away from the store was the best choice for all involved.

In Januar of 2009, we moved Amored Gopher Games to a new, larger location. Heather and I were worried about how that was going to go, but it seems our worries were unfounded. Our sales held steady with levels that we had prior to the move, then they slowly increased to about double of what we were making to the move. It's only gone up since then. In the elapsed time, we went after and achieved sanctioning for Friday Night Magic. This event alone has turned Fridays from a $300-$350 day to a $550-$1000 day. Things are looking up, and our family of Gophers (regular customers) continues to grow.

Also, close to a year ago, I quit my day job. Financially, it was the worst thing I could have done, but from a physical standpoint, I had to do it. Working both the store and the Pancake Hut was slowly killing me with exhaustion and stress. Overall, I'm glad I left the Pancake Hut, but I am not proud of HOW I left it. I walked out in mid-shift on a Saturday... yeah, I was that stressed with it all.

Throughout all of it, I've come to realize just how blessed that I am that God above connected me with my wife early on in our lives. Heather has made all of the things going on not only bearable, but enjoyable. She is my inspiration and my godsend, and I don't tell/show her that enough. I adore Heather beyond measure and she is easily the best thing that has entered, or will ever enter, my life. I love you, sweetheart. =)

I'm signing off for now... but there is more to say, and I will say it eventually...

peace... the Red-Haired Maniac a.k.a. GopherDave

Sunday, March 02, 2008

David Weber Benefit Sale

Hey Folks... Armored Gopher Games is having a benefit sale for David Weber, son of C-U area gamer, Phil Weber. Basically, 15% of every sale over $20.00 we make during the month of March will go toward a fund for the Weber family. Details are in the flyer image above.

peace... RHM

Friday, February 29, 2008

Say It With Me Now…


Okay, now that that’s out of the way. Jeez, where has the time gone? It’s been almost five months since my last posting. So what have I been up to? Well, lots actually…

First, I got into an argument with my boss at my day job, and found myself cut back to being a part-time worker. That wasn’t going to cut the mustard, so I picked up another part time job at my local game store of choice, Armored Gopher Games. This happened somewhere around mid-November.

About the same time, one of the owners of said game store had life blow up in his face, and had to bow out of running the establishment. This left the store with one owner (Squirl) as he bought his partner out.

Right around Christmastime, Squirl approached me about buying into Armored Gopher Games. I was sort of stunned, and took a bit to talk it over with Heather (my wife). After much debating amongst spouses, we agreed to it in principle. I picked up a couple more days there to help take the load off of Squirl. It was kind of pathetic the way he nodded off at the counter. =P

I suppose I should explain the business model for ‘Gopher. At this point in time, Armored Gopher Games is a game club that aspires to be a full-fledged game store. It is run as a hobby. Both Squirl and I have other jobs, so the store is open some weird hours. Many days, one of us will work our day jobs, then turn around, open up the store, and then run it until close (Midnight, every night). It’s a rough kind of existence, but it’s what we love. Right now, the store pays its own bills, including getting new product once a week. Hopefully, business will grow to the point that at least one of us can be supported by the store. We honestly have a LOT of work to do.

In early February, we took the ‘Gopher to its first gaming convention (Winter War). The store has been around for a year, but many people in town had NO idea that we existed, so this was sort of our coming out party. We did well. Sales were good. We even got invited to another convention (Egyptian Campaign). The big payoff though was the exposure we gained. I can already see a slow increase in our sales as more and more folks walk through our door to see what goodies they can spend their coin on.

And on February 21st of this year, money was exchanged and contracts were signed, and I officially became half-owner of the store. It feels good to finally own something (other than a house or a car).

On the gaming front, I’m still playing a fair amount of Warmachine. I still play in a once-a-month Mutants & Masterminds game, and I’m gearing up to restart my Tai’eres (sorry, no link... yet) game in late March or early April. That is, if life gives me enough time to breathe. =)

peace… RHM

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Gaming Reset...

Take two…

Well, it seems that neither of my proposed articles have been written by magical writing faeries. Nor have they been written by me. This is typical of me. I get ideas and can’t get to them immediately. Then some shiny new idea pops into my brain and I leave older, but still viable, ideas by the wayside. C’est la vie.

On the gaming front, not much is happening, and some of that is by my own design while other chunks are by life’s design. I am currently playing in a monthly RPG, but have not been able to make the last few sessions due to another game commitment that involves my son. My Tai’eres game bit the big one once I did a story reset of sorts. Once it got restarted, life interfered with a number of players and attendance was spotty at best for some. This kind of depressed me and thus I put the game on hiatus for a month. Once a month passed, I tried to contact the players to see if they wanted to continue. Three said yes, one said no, one said sure way later than the “respond” by date I had posted, and two others couldn’t even be bothered to respond at all. Thus, it died an ignoble death.

I would be lying though if I said I haven’t enjoyed not running a regular game. It really is amazing the amount of relaxation and family time I can squeeze in when I do not have to plan for a regular game. It’s been nice.

The only other gaming I have been doing has been twice-a-week games of WarMachine at Armored Gopher Games. One of the days is Tuesdays, where I typically go by myself due to the boy’s basketball obligations. The other day is Saturday which is when every other gaming commitment I have made seems to want to run. Problem is, I am reluctant to go off gaming on my own when it is my son’s only chance during the week to play. Hence, we play WarMachine on Saturdays. The boy and his happiness is important to me, and I will sacrifice much to insure it.

Convention-wise, I have been asked to run something at our local convention (Winter War), as per usual. Lately, my inspiration has been spotty. Last year, I thought my events sucked the high hard one. This year, I’m not sure what is happening on my front. I’m not feeling particularly inspired to run anything RPG-related. I might help the local Press Gangers run some WarMachine events, but they’re not certain if they are doing anything yet. Again, I’m as uninspired as I have ever been in regard to games and gaming with relation to my own creativity.

Perhaps this is due to the shifting of priorities of where I draw my self-worth from. In the past, being a good gamer and GM was really where the bulk of my self-esteem was drawn from. Anymore, I draw more satisfaction from being a good husband and father. I don’t need the games to prop up my admittedly fragile ego anymore. I am now at a place where I could give up games and be pretty content. I never thought I would ever reach that plateau. As such, I now paint my miniatures when the mood strikes me. I think about RPG systems and mechanics like I always have to keep the brain stimulated, but nothing is driving me to create “the next big thing”. I have even spread the mental ruminations to include miniatures games and even the occasional LARP idea.

Games, however, are no longer the end-all, be-all of my existence. Unfortunately for me, the bulk of my friendships have come from gaming, and, as we all grow older, I am finding that gaming is all that I have in common with the people I call friends. This begs the question that if I’m at a place to give up games and gaming then am I also at a place to give up the people who I call my friends? That’s a scary, scary thought, and I’m not certain I like the logical answer to it.

peace… RHM