If you play trading card games or tabletop games, you’re probably familiar with your local game store (LGS).
Your LGS is a magical place where people with a common interest can come together and play some games. But it’s not always as glamorous as it sounds.
Don’t get me wrong, I usually have a blast with my friends at the LGS, but niche interests like trading card games and tabletop games tend to attract some “eccentric” people. Some of these people are simply unaware of the unspoken rules of local game stores. That’s why I put this list together.
These are the 10 things you should never do at your local game store (in no particular order).
1. Don’t be a sore loser
When I go to my local game store, I’m prepared to lose — especially on casual days when there aren’t any tournaments going on.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if you lose friendly matches. Losing is an important part of the deck-building process and it will ultimately make you a better player.
And you’ll have a much better time if your goal is to have fun.
2. Don’t rip-off kids
Trading is one of the most fun aspects of “trading” card games, but some people use this as an opportunity to gain money at the expense of children.
All too often, I’ve seen grown men hand unsuspecting kids their trade binder of worthless cards only to snatch up the kids’ pricey cards. A lot of kids don’t know the value of their cards — the value of their cards might be determined by how “cool” or “pretty” the cards look. These kids might be perfectly happy with wildly uneven trades, but that doesn’t mean other adults in the room won’t give you a dirty look for blatantly ripping off children.
If you insist on ripping off kids, at least inform them of the value of their cards.
3. Don’t talk about politics
People play games to escape the real world, especially in a time where politics is inserted into every form of media. It’s hard to even see a movie without being exposed to politics.
People of different beliefs should be able to come together for just a few hours to forget about the real world and focus on games.
4. Don’t be stinky
You’re probably getting tired of the “gamers don’t wash themselves” cliche by now, and I am too. I’m not going to give you a set of strict hygiene rules — just have some self-awareness and don’t be stinky.
5. Don’t be creepy
Let’s not beat around the bush — your local game store is filled with sweaty men. But among the sea of sweaty men, you will find a few women who enjoy the same hobbies you do. The one thing they absolutely don’t want is to be treated differently. They’re there to play games just like you are. Your pickup lines and dirty jokes aren’t going to win them over.
6. Don’t cheat
The unfortunate reality of any trading card game is that you’ll run into cheaters. People like to win, and nerds with nothing else going for them will cheat to make themselves feel better about their miserable lives.
But in reality, you have nothing to gain by cheating, especially in friendly matches. As I wrote earlier, losing will only make you stronger because you’ll know how to optimize your deck better. And if you win by cheating, you won’t be able to recognize your misplays. Cheating makes you a worse player overall, so just don’t do it.
7. Don’t undercut the store
A lot of local game stores rely on card sales to stay open. If you purchase cards from your friends at the local game store, the shop loses out. In that scenario, a trade would be more acceptable. If you want to buy cards, either buy them from the shop or do it when you’re not at the LGS.
8. Don’t tell others what they should like
Let’s say you’re with your friends at the LGS enjoying a rousing game of Yu-Gi-Oh. All of a sudden, a group of Magic: The Gathering players burst through the door and come sit next to you and your friend. They notice you’re playing Yu-Gi-Oh and the entire group erupts in uproarious laughter at your “inferior” card game.
“Why don’t you play a real card game?” they jest.
“You’re just taking up space for our game,” they say. “You should pack up and go home if you’re not going to play Magic.”
People will like things that you don’t like — learn to share the space with them.
9. Don’t bring your personal problems
We get it, everybody has problems. Maybe you’re going through a rough divorce, or you’re behind on your rent. Whatever it is, you should leave it at the door. Don’t go to your LGS to look for pity.
But maybe your problem is with somebody at the store — you’ve had a dispute with them in the past and you just don’t get along. In that case, either leave the store or learn to ignore their presence. Don’t break out into an argument (or fight) in the middle of the store. And don’t be that guy who tries to “ban” somebody from the store because of an unrelated dispute.
10. Don’t disrupt games
If there is a game in process, let the players focus on the game state. It sucks being the player who has to sit 30 minutes through their opponent’s turn because they’re gossiping with their buddy instead of actually playing the game.