Yesterday I stopped by a new gaming store in the area, Phoenix Fire Games. They are located just two or three blocks from our previous home, which would've been nice to have at the time. I don't know how often I would go there now, as there is a Hobbytown located just down the road from my house here in my new city. The new store seems to have a fairly active event schedule, which is something Hobbytown doesn't offer anymore.
The shop looked clean. It's a bit small, with a few gaming tables in the back. Not a lot of GW product, but I think D&D/Magic/WoW TCG/Board Games are their main focus. They do have a Warhammer Escalation League going now, but they are pretty far along in the cycle at the moment at 1750 points. They also run weekly D&D Encounters events, which would be nice to participate in, as getting a group of friends together for playing RPGs requires one to have at least three or four friends with matching blocks of free time. But store-run events don't require you to have friends at all. I guess we'll see what the shop is running when I get back home. An escalation league could be pretty fun.
One god thing they had was a few of the upcoming Orcs & Goblins releases on a shelf for customers to look at. I got to take a look at the Savage Orcs box and the Arachnarok Spider box, as well as flip through the pages of the new army book. The switch to hardcover is an obvious ploy to add ten dollars to the book price without offering anything new in terms of content. There's nothing in there that couldn't be done in the already ridiculously-priced softcover format, which has gone up by ten dollars in the last five years anyway. But I am a shameless fanboy, so I pre-ordered it. Most of the new units have been previewed elsewhere on the web, with the big spider and some sneaky Goblin assassin-types being the main new entries to the list. The only other new thing that really caught my eye was the Mangler Squigs, described as two really angry Squigs chained together and sent spinning into combat, sort of like Night Goblin Fanatics on crack. Hobbytown used to put new models in one of their display cases for people to look at before release, but I haven't seen anything there for a while.
The shop also carries a few boxes from the Lord of the Rings range, which is pretty cool, but also probably a money sink for them. I have really mixed feelings about the Lord of the Rings games from GW. The miniatures are, in my opinion, some of the best-looking figures out there. I like them a lot. I just have so many game systems going right now that it's hard to justify really going after this one, too. At my current rate, the backlog on my shelves will take me approximately 3,500 years to paint, and each box of figures will add another year to that total. Still, it is cool that they carry portions of the line.