The Kessel Run: Ottawa’s Newest and Best(?) Game Store
My home town of Ottawa is blessed with a huge selection of gaming and hobby stores. I don’t know what it is about this city but we are able to support a huge number of stores for our size. There are eleven stores which sell miniatures and today I lucked by the soft opening of the city’s twelfth: The Kessel Run Cards Comics and Games.
I dropped my wife off at home and brought my 6 year old daughter to investigate. It turns out that today is a soft opening and based on the number of people who passed through I think they’re off to a good start. Fortunately my daughter was very patient as I spoke with the owner, Jeff St. Pierre, about his plans for the future.
Currently the store stocks a selection of Pathfinder RPG material, Warmachine, X-Wing Miniature Game, Magic: The Gathering sealed and individual cards and a good selection on board games. He’s planning to bring in comics as well but has a few more hoops to jump through before he can make a deal with the distributor.
I spoke with Mr. St. Pierre about other games he might carry in the future. He tried to stock Games Workshop products but says he was denied because of the proximity of other stores also stocking GW. For me, this is no big loss. There are still plenty of places to get the stuff in Ottawa, including a Games Workshop retail store in the west end and they haven’t produced anything that interests me in a while.
The problem, of course, is supply and demand. There are some many different miniature games being played it’s very easy to pick the wrong one and have it sit on the shelves until the heat-death of the universe. Mr. St. Pierre suggested he would be able to bring in product based on demand.
Twelve hobby stores is a lot but The Kessel Rune Cards Comics and Games has a unique offering to put them ahead of any other store in the area. Currently under construction is a massive gaming area able to host all kinds of tournaments and events as well as provide a comfortable, uncrowded area to meet for miniature wargames. Other stores offer this kind of space but do not provide so much. The space is also not in a basement which should take some of the unholy pallor out of the gaming community. There’s also plans for a local Warmachine/Hordes group to build some high quality terrain for the store.
In addition to this large gaming space there was also tables in the front of the store which, based on their proximity to the shelves of board games, seem to be reserved for this purpose. There are also a number of private “party” rooms available. These would be perfect for an RPG group needing a space to play but not fully comfortable with, or perhaps too noisy for, an open store environment.
Mr. St. Pierre is still trying to determine how best to handle the playing area. The current loose plan is to level some kind of usage fee for the back and private areas while leaving the front free for first-come-first served bring-and-play gaming. There is a plan to have TVs mounted in the various areas to give tech-savt customers a multimedia option for their games or simply to provide some entertainment while you wait for your opponent to make their moves.
Personally I’m very excited about the store. All I can say for sure is that it’s the closest store with gaming space to me and staff that are friendly and courteous. Only the future will tell whether Mr. St. Pierre has a winning business.
Any local readers excited about The Kessel Run? Would you pay for gaming space? Leave a comment, hit me up on Google+ or Twitter. Maybe check out The Kessel Run’s Facebook page. Also subscribe as I’m planning up a follow-up on what I would do if I was running the show.