Battleground Games & Hobbies celebrated the Grand Opening of its Plainville location on Saturday, October 16, 2010. The fun started at 10am and CWF GameCast began the party at 9:30am with a quick stop to nearby Dunkin Donuts to fuel up on a Mocha Coolata (skim milk please, hold the whipped cream).
The event got off to a slow start with a handful of pre-teen regulars hanging out before I arrived. As the clock inched towards 10:30 and then 11am more people arrived. Sadly, a handful of events were canceled at the last minute. Privateer Press once again let down gamers when three Press Gangers could not attend to run demos of Warmachine/Hordes. The strong Warmachine/Hordes BG crowd also could not attend to run demos so those went the way of the dodo. A table was arranged with Island of Blood components for Warhammer Fantasy Battle but suffered from a lack of any knowledgeable WFBer to run the demo.
The highlight for demos belongs to Sam Pearson, BG Plainville employee, who ran a succession of highly enjoyable and well-attended 40k demos featuring the Black Reach box (with a few tweaks). I played in the second demo he ran, which was my first 40k game in several years. His greenskins trounced my Smurfs once they got into range. Heavy shooting in the beginning brought down all three of his dethkoptas and it went downhill from there.
Halo Reach tournaments ran throughout the day with the winner of each winning additional raffle tickets. Some of the later tournaments failed to max out participants after heavy play early on. With admission of $2/person it was a great and affordable way to get in a game of Reach when a standard hour of play costs $6.
A bounty of 40k games took over the store by mid-day with every table consumed by miniatures gaming. The card tables were well-attended with board game demos (i.e. Ascension) throughout the day but a dearth of Magic players was attributed to a major M: TG event elsewhere in the state. Players straggled in as they were eliminated from the other Magic event.
Every 15 minutes a drawing was held for “door prizes.” Everyone who entered the store received a blue raffle ticket that gave them a chance of winning a prize of their choice from two piles. The catch was having your number called and being in the store at the time. This caused some hilarity when customers lost their tickets or went next door to Piezoni’s for food. Many a reference to “Bueller…..Bueller…..Bueller….” was made eliciting laughter from the gathered crowd.
Customers also earned three red raffle tickets, for the big prizes, for every demo they ran/participated in or every tournament they won. This was expanded to include every game of anything that customers played. I earned tickets for my 40k demo and for learning Zombie Dice. Customers could deposit their tickets into envelopes for D&D, Magic, Games Workshop, Board Games, and Xbox. Winners were contacted and announced at the end of the night.
In a surprise result one individual won twice snagging both the 1st and 2nd prize in the same category. While I don’t begrudge the person for winning I can’t help but think this is very poor planning on behalf of BG. Once a person won they should not have been allowed to win again (at least in the same category if not in all of them) to allow others a chance to win.
The Grand Opening was great in showing a lot of support from the Plainville community. Unfortunately, there was a lack of familiar faces from Abington by the time I left at 6pm. Chase Laquidara, BG Plainville Manager, estimated a 50/50 split at most times with it adjusting to 40/60 old/new faces. As long as those new faces keep coming back BG Plainville should have a solid foundation.
The event also revealed some negatives with the location. Most of these pertain to BG Plainville itself inasmuch as the event. So, they will be saved for a future article reviewing BG Plainville.
It was an incredibly fun day. I got to meet new people who will hopefully become new friends, catch up with gamers I haven’t seen in a long time, and spend time with new faces from the soft opening. The long and short of it is the event was a big success and proves that BG Owner Derek Lloyd and his staff know how to plan and execute a community gathering as much as they know how to operate a successful game store.
We give the Grand Opening 4/5 stars. Please see the below pictures from the event. You can also see these on our Facebook page.