Your Friendly Local Gaming Store: The Gathering | Five Questions with Steven “Boogie” Williams of Castle House GamesBanner, Five Questions, News — By Christopher Spencer on October 5, 2011 at 4:09 pm
Need a copy of Settlers of Catan? A place to play Pandemic or 4th edition Dungeons and Dragons? Your Friendly Local Gaming Store, or FLGS, is typically the answer.
For years, Fayetteville’s gaming mecca has been Castle House Games, but when the store closed in July, all was thought lost.
Instead, Chris Curlee, Steven “Boogie” Williams and other volunteers stepped up in August to make an old sandwich shop into a gaming destination. The “new” Castle House is located at 1218 N. Garland Ave. in Fayetteville. The phone number is 479.444.0707
Ozarks Unbound did a story on Castle House Games in July 2009 when the store opened at Evelyn Hills Shopping Center on College Avenue. The store was previously known as Gallery of Champions when it was located at Fiesta Square Shopping Center.
This third iteration of the store regularly packs in customers for Magic the Gathering tournaments.
We got the chance to talk with Steven “Boogie” Williams, the store’s Nerd Liaison, about what it takes to run a gaming store in a digital age.
In short, he said one word: Community
For the longer version, look below.
Tell me the tale of the Castle House, a bastion of gaming once known as Gallery of Champions that has journeyed to many a strip mall in its wanderings.
As you know, the business was started about 20 years ago by John Hopping. Its gone from ‘sports card’ to ‘gaming card’ to ‘roleplaying’ to hobby shop, in that period of time, but we remember our roots.
John and Becky [Hopping] ran a hell of a business when it came to being friendly and getting to know folks who shopped there. We try to do the same thing, keep a very friendly atmosphere and make a place you can come hang out as well as shop.
I think John, who died in 2006, would be proud of us.
What’s going on with it now?
Mostly right now we’re selling Magic the Gathering cards, as well as Warmachine and Warhammer products. Our inventory is light but we have tons of gaming space to hold events for the games we do carry. We find its more about the events than the inventory anyways.
Are you a user and an owner? What’s your game o’ choice?
I’m not really an owner, more of a ‘nerd liason’ as it were. I have some investments in the shop, but mostly I’m there to judge and promote events as well as keep people coming through the door and happy. I’m mostly the promotion guy, though I do my best to try and keep everyone happy while they are there, too.
My game of choice has always been Magic the Gathering. I’ve played almost every game there is to play, and am familiar with everything Castle House Games carries, but I’m a magic guy through and through. I’ve been playing since 1994, and I love it. I dont think a day has gone by that I havent at least read about the game, and on most days I’ve managed to play it for a few minutes.
You’re kind of big deal on YouTube. Who is Francis?
Well… Francis is one of a collection of characters I pretend to be on my youtube channel. I kind of do a ‘variety’ thing on YouTube. Sometimes I’m myself and I try to cover serious options (see my latest diatribe about being Bullied, for example).
Francis though is my ‘nerd’ persona. he came out one day as we were talking about the nerdiest of the nerds that I have met in my gaming career. I guess a little bit of everyone is in that persona, but mostly he’s my darker, nerdier, angrier side. He gets awfully angry and goes on profanity filled rants, and the internet love him. At first they think I’m really him because I look the part. Then they see my other videos and realized they’ve been fooled, and they love him all the more. He’s my favorite character to play on youtube.
[Some adult language, but enjoy.]
Owning a gaming store is a tough business. Is Castle House zombie-apocalypse ready? Or at least ready for a tough economy?
Zombie apocalypse, yes!
We’re running “zombie practice simulations” all the time be it through magic cards, or tabletop games.
But as for a tough economy, we’ve got a strong business model that I think is guaranteed to work. It’s all about low overhead and high traffic with a gaming store and we have managed to earn both.
We have some of the kindest and most loyal gamers in the country coming to our store on a daily basis. I think we’re more of a family than just a loose-knit group of gamers and it really shows. Our Magic players are some of the best and friendliest in the country, our War Machine guys are approachable and kind.
Our roleplayers have roots in the community that go back decades.
I think that as long as we’re willing to run Castle House, people are going to be glad to be there.
- Fayetteville’s Castle House Games finds a new home | Morph Ball Wizard at 9:15 pm on July 20, 2009
- Of Glitches and Geeks | Five Questions with Bobby Scarbrough (aka DJ Infamous) of Glitchcon at 12:50 pm on September 8, 2011
- Bruce Walker, owner of Flying Possum Leather, remembered with song at 10:36 pm on March 7, 2011
- Power Grid board game lights up local game night at 12:14 pm on March 5, 2010
- “We Only Smell Bad on the Outside”: Geek culture explored Wednesday at the Fayetteville Public Library at 1:37 pm on June 15, 2010
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