WizKids works with a lot of amazing partners to create great games and successful events. Without the help of our retailers, organized play would not be possible and our remarkable gaming community would not exist. One store that has really stood out as an outstanding retailer is Game On in Prescott, AZ. We had the opportunity to interview Josh Fohrman, owner, and Alec Kozak, HeroClix Tournament Organizer, for today’s Store Showcase.
Store Name: Game On Location: 3250 Gateway Blvd, Prescott, AZ 86303 WIN ID: http://win.wizkids.com/venue.php?VENUE_ID=12286
- Can you provide a little background/history of your store?
Josh: Game On opened in June of 2011 as a small 1300 sq ft store in Prescott Valley, AZ. Originally focusing heavily on collectible card games, we quickly began growing our offerings after an explosive beginning. 2 years later we expanded our operations to a second location in neighboring Prescott, with that store being a much larger 2200 sq ft. This past October, we merged both stores back into one entity at the Prescott Mall in our new 5800 sq ft facility you see pictured in this article. With each expansion and growth, we also increased our selection and what all we carry, adding in board games, miniatures, and comics.
- What do you think attracts players to your store?
Josh: We strive to make sure our employees are not only knowledgeable in the products we sell, but that they also play several of our lines! Some are card players, other board gamers, several are into miniatures and HeroClix, etc. We have a very involved staff that knows how to help new customers find the perfect game they’re looking for and is versed enough to carry on a conversation with the regulars about their favorite games.
Furthermore, we ensure our store is always clean and well lit - including having the bathrooms professionally cleaned every month. It seems like a minor detail, but the biggest thing I noticed touring game stores (and I’ve been to a LOT of them all over) is that the bathrooms are often in a state of disrepair.
- How often do you run Organized Play Events?
Josh: That’s a question best answered by our HeroClix Organizer and Head Judge - Alec Kozak, so I’m gonna turn it over to him.
Alec: We have run every HeroClix Organized Play Event since Infinity Gauntlet, and every year our players are looking forward to the next event. We do run pre-releases when they are available for sets and special events as well; either to celebrate the release of a new set or to do something in conjunction with a movie or holiday.
- How many players do you typically get at events?
Alec: We get a wide spread of attendance at our events. For events like pre-releases and OP events, we average anywhere from 15-20 people. The first month of OP events yields the most with 24+. Some of our more specialized events, such as the custom Battle for Gotham City or Battle for Helm's Deep Scenario get anywhere from 8-16 players. We draw many players in from the Quad-City area, as well as from Cottonwood, Flagstaff, Payson, and Phoenix, which are all more than an hour's drive away from the shop.
- Have you run any cool/different special events?
Alec: As mentioned above, we have a few events that are either team-based or co-operative based. The Battle for Gotham City is a custom free-for-all event where players assume the roles of various Batman allies and enemies, each with their own objective, fighting for control of Gotham City. There are 10-15 maps, all inter-connected, and a single game can support 10-24 players at one time.
Battle for Helm's Deep is a team-based game where 5 players play as various heroes and villains from the Lord of the Rings Trilogy and command legions of troops to either defend or siege a 3D Helm's Deep map.
Our two newest events, Night of the Sentinels and the Marvel Hero Team-Up, are both asymmetrical co-operative events where players fight together against a single player, who is controlling a boss and minions. The Night of the Sentinels is a timed survival game where players play as mutants and fight against waves of Sentinels and Master Mold on a 3D city Map. Marvel Hero Team-Up plays very much like the classic Marvel arcade game. Over a series of 'levels', players fight against minions and bosses, gaining experience and additional powers along the way, to fight the large Marvel boss at the end. We are always doing special rules events to mix up the OP events, pre-releases, and competitive tournaments to bring a balance of fun and critical thinking to the game.
Josh: I’m also really excited about our custom in store format we run, dubbed “Suicide HeroClix.” Two players open one 5-figure booster together. The rarest figure gets set aside and the players then roll off. High roll chooses to pick first or second. First pick gets to pick a figure from the pack, second picks 2 figures, then first takes the remaining figure. Figures with variable points are set so each player is as equal as possible.
The two players then face off with the 2 man teams, winner takes the set aside figure. It’s a great filler between rounds and a fun way to crack open new boosters!
- What recommendations do you have for other stores trying to build a community and run successful events?
Alec: Community is most important thing; the players in our store are friends who encourage each other to have fun, become passionate about their teams and pieces, and enjoy playing the game, win or lose. Always make the game fun for players. Players enjoy the game for many different reasons, and no two players are the same. Encourage playing figures and teams that people love to play; different events and rules help players build teams they may not otherwise use.
With sealed and singles product, the shop is able to help players complete their collections and build their teams. If there is a player, or a group of players, who loves the game and comes every week, they will be invaluable to help your game grow, gain more players, and create and run events for players, new and old, to enjoy.
- We are coming up to the 15th Anniversary of HeroClix, how long has your store supported HeroClix?
Josh: Our original location was across from a movie theater, and with the buzz coming up around the release of the Avengers movie in 2012 we decided to bring in HeroClix, hosting a sealed event the night of the premier. That event fired with 12 people and the community has flourished ever since.
- What WizKids release are you looking most forward to in 2017?
Josh: I’m super excited for the Mind Flayer Trophy that was just announced - it’ll look great on the column opposite the Red Dragon in the store.
I’m also really stoked for the new unpainted miniatures line - the renders look gorgeous and all the thought put into the variety and style of characters is beyond impressive.
- What is your favorite memory at Game On?
Josh: That’s a really tough question...two big ones come to mind. Through Game On we’ve been able to setup a series of “Movie Nights” where the shop rents out an entire theater on opening night of big geeky movies. Our first one was Guardians of the Galaxy, and the excitement of the crowd (our friends and customers) and just getting to hang out with the community we built was a super proud moment.
The only thing that tops that is when my 3 year old exclaims, “Dada owns a game store!” and is always excited to come in and play with the dice and HeroClix in the store.
- Is there anything else you would like to share?
Josh: San Dimas High School Football Rules!