With International Tabletop Day around the corner, we’re counting down the days to the big celebration by highlighting friendly local gaming stores, their owners, and their awesome stories. Be sure to find an ITTD event near you so you can enjoy the festivities in your community.
Mindi Rogers Green’s story is perhaps a familiar one to those of us with go-to local shops. She turned a part-time job into owning Jupiter Games, a specialty gaming store and event center in Johnson City, NY.
“I first started working at Jupiter Games in 2010, as a part-time sales clerk. My background was in technology and sales, so it felt natural for me to put those skills to work. I started by designing systems to better track Magic singles inventory and pricing, and later leveraged that work to build a custom online sales platform. Over the years I took on responsibility for technology, marketing, and store management. In 2012, after a significant restructuring of the company, I was offered a partnership. The business has grown a lot in these last five years and as General Manager I now oversee all business operations, two managers, and nine total staff.”
She believes the resurgence of tabletop gaming popularity is helped by the evolution of the games themselves, which keeps people interested and coming back for more. “What I like the most about the board game market right now is the variety. No matter the niche, there are so many games to choose from. You aren’t stuck playing the same game over and over again. You have so many options!”
While she has played before, Mindi admits it took awhile to get fully invested. “Board games never ‘clicked’ with me until 2005-2006. That’s when I discovered Runebound, Descent, World of Warcraft, and Twilight Imperium. I was hooked. My favorite game is probably Ingenious, but there are so many great games on the market right now! While it’s also a bit dated, my husband and I are really enjoying the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game. It’s been a date night staple for the last couple of years.”
Getting into gaming can be daunting for a lot of people, especially those with trouble socializing for various reasons. But Mindi can speak to how it can have positive effects on players. “I’m an introvert and I get very uncomfortable in social situations. For me, board games provide social interaction, but with a reassuring structure. This allows me to relax and have a genuine social experience. I guess it’s not quite a skill that’s learned from a particular board game experience, rather an opportunity to practice that skill.”
If you are trying to get more friends to play, particularly those with little to no previous experience, Mindi has some tips for you. “Acknowledge that even the simplest game can be overwhelming for someone new to the hobby. Start with something light and go slow, then build on that as they gain confidence. Don’t let your excitement take away from their experience. That first demo or play-through needs to be fun and engaging. Remember that it’s not about you, or about making a sale. It’s about igniting that spark.”
Speaking of new players, if she were to recommend a board game for aliens to play, what would she recommend? “I would have to go with Ingenious. There’s a reason it’s my favorite game. It’s a simple game on the surface but it has depth. It is somewhat self-explanatory, so the aliens don’t need to read our earth-based languages to figure out how to play. And it would tell the aliens that we are creatures who value logic and reason.”
Does your friendly local gaming store have a staff member that makes your visit that much more special? Tell us about them in the comments!
Images: Jupiter Games