Yesterday we spent (or set aside) the first $56,798.25 on the build out and rent of our new retail space. During that process we ignored our gaming space, but it is also important to the success of your business. A premium game space draws people in, and keeps them there. The best game spaces, in the best retail spaces, can even be monetized themselves these days by charging for daily passes, or requiring purchases to use them. While that decision is up to you, I feel like it's too important a space to do cheaply and poorly, so we're going to build a nice gaming space.
Ever tried to play a minis game at a pair of Lifetime plastic tables jammed together and covered with a piece of plywood? No? Then you'll have to take my word for it.
For that reason we're going to go out of our way to make minis players feel welcome. We're going to build them custom, 42" high, 4'x8' tables. That tabletop size has some thought put into it, it's not just random.
X-Wing - 3'x'3 (which means two matches per table) Armada - 3'x6' (one match and places for their stuff) Warmachine - 4'x4' (which means two matches per table) Warhammer 40K - 6'x4' (which means one match and a place for their stuff)
Since we'll be planning on carrying these lines it'll be good for them to have space to play. Each of these tables requires the following.
Three four by fours Four two by fours One 4'x8' piece of plywood 32 sq ft of table covering
4x4 = $9.27 each
2x4 = $4.57 each Plywood = $39.98 (3/4", sanded, you can use something different)
You can also choose to cover them however you want. We use indoor/outdoor carpeting. It's durable, it cleans easily (we vacuum the tables), and it's not overly expensive. You could also choose to paint them since we went with sanded plywood, and just make felt available for your players. Many minis players now carry neoprene mats like the Magic players have for decades, so sometimes they don't care what the top looks like. I want them to look nice when there is nothing on them, so cover them in some way. Alternately, with little work, you could turn my design into a sand table with a lip all the way around it. I like that look too.
But, let's look at costs.
$9.27 x 3 = $27.81 $4.57 x 4 = $18.28 $39.98 x 1 = $39.98
We have to add hardware, it's about $20.00 per table for all the brackets, braces and screws, and our total table cost is $106.07 per table we're building.
We need six of them.
$106.07 x 6 = $636.42
We'll elbow grease these together ourselves before open.
Those players need a place to sit, so lets buy stools. These minis tables are acceptable for use for large card gaming events as well, and comfortably seat three matches, for a total of six players. That means our six tables require a total of 36 stools.
Let's look at stools. On the right you have my old stools. They were about $25 each, single ring, welded together. They were not the most durable thing in the world. On the left are the new stools. The tops are screwed on, and can be removed to replace them with a few screws pulled out. They're double ring, meaning more sturdy when people make the decision to lean back in them, and they're screwed together, so we can tighten the screws regularly and not watch me try to have welds fixed ever again. The new stools are $30.00 each, and we're buying 36 of them.
$36.00 x 30 = $1,080.00
The "total" cost of my minis gaming section is?
$1,080.00 + $636.42 = $1,716.42
I put cute little quotes around 'total' because minis players typically need terrain, and your minis gaming section needs to have some terrain available on day one to be useful to players. What you spend on that will depend on how crafty you are, how much time you have, and how much your give a damn works. You can buy good quality terrain out there that is prepainted and ready to play, or you can build all kinds of custom stuff for your players. For the sake of ease we'll assume we can put together a table of terrain around $200.00, and we'll only put enough terrain on the shelves for about three tables.
$600.00 - Terrain
Minis Table Total = $2,316.43
Card Game Tables
We're going to use that term colloquially for the sake of ease, but these are my normal height tables that are good for board gaming, card gaming, and for my role-playing groups. The industry 'standard' is six-foot long, folding, white, tables from Lifetime. These are available just about anywhere for about $50.00 each. I don't love them, but I also don't love any of the other solution. Wooden banquet tables wear poorly, and you start getting problems with the surface of those tables, and how they interact with card sleeves, board games, etc.
So, we need 10 six foot Lifetime tables, so $500.00 in tables.
We also need chairs, and I really do hate the Lifetime chairs. There's no way we're using those. Instead we're going with banquet chairs, like the one pictured here. Black vinyl can be easily wiped down, and matches the top of the stools we bought for our minis tables. Ten tables, four chairs each, I need forty of these at $25.00 each.
$25.00 * 40 = $1,000.00
Add that to the $500.00 we spent on tables and we're done with this section of the store. We've built a gaming area that we don't have to be ashamed of for $1,500.00. If we want it to look just a little nicer we can cover our Lifetime tables with Spandex table caps. The ones that fit our table are $6.00 each. I'd buy twice as many of these as I have tables to I can take them home and wash them.
$6.00 * 20 = $120.00
CCG Gaming Area = $1,720
The total cost of our gaming space is now $1,720 for the card gaming section, and $2,316.43 for the minis table section.
$1,720 + $2,316.43 = $4,063.43
While I wouldn't keep my event computer in the gaming section of the store, it is important to discuss having one. You will need a machine that you or your staff uses ONLY to run events. You don't want Magic players reporting results to your POS computer. I keep my event computer behind the counter, so one person can handle both things at once, but I don't want time being taken from the line of customers to deal with event results on the same machine.
This computer doesn't need to be super-powered, but I'll warn you that lousy computers coupled with lousy software (WER) means that you'll be cranky a lot. You can't do anything about the software, so don't buy a totally bad computer. You can buy a modern all-in-one that does this job well and doesn't take up a ton of space for about $500.00 or so. We're going to add that to our above total and call the total cost of this $4,563.43.
We add that to the total from yesterday, when we built the store and bought our retail fixtures, $56,798.25, and we are now $61,361.68 into the birth of our new game store.
Tomorrow we'll talk about putting stock in your store, because right now we have nothing to sell.