Archive for March 29th, 2011

Call of Duty. Assassin’s Creed. World of Warcraft. Halo. These are the names usually associated with gaming. There are numerous corporate entities, cottage industries and blogs which manage these marvels day in and day out. Just look at what we can accomplish now, simply in terms of graphics and presentation.

There is another type of gaming which exists outside of consoles and PCs, however. Tabletop gaming. And nowhere in Morgantown is there a more hospitable environment for tabletop gaming than at Four Horsemen Comics and Gaming.

The first part of the store’s name is pretty self explanatory. There are many shelves of comics, as one would expect from a comic store. Graphic novels such as The Walking Dead, the requisite serialized super hero comics and graphic interpretations of existing works such as Marvel’s take on Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series sit side by side.

That said, the store’s comic selection is primarily western; those seeking a robust library of manga should look elsewhere. But the store isn’t really geared toward manga anyway. Nearly every surface of the establishment is emblazoned or adorned with some form of superhero or Star Wars character.

It always comes back to Star Wars. (photo courtesy of Four Horsemen's Facebook page)

I found the store’s selection of comics more than satisfactory, particularly when one considers that Four Horsemen has been open for about six months. And even if the store does not offer the comic you are looking for, it will be acquired with extreme prejudice. In fact, the store is counting on that very impulse to broaden its horizons.

“If there’s a comic you read, we’ll order it. And if there’s a game you play, bring it in,” says Four Horsemen co-owner Ron Davis. He adds that when the store first opened, its primary activities were tabletop stables such as Magic and Dungeons & Dragons. Over time the community began to introduce new ideas.

“We strive for a sense of community,” Ron adds. And from what I witnessed, the community has responded. I dropped in on Monday around 6 p.m. and the place was hopping. It was the kind of scene I wanted to see at Save Point, really.

“A lot of the guys, this is like their social media,” Tom says. “It’s social networking in person.”

Ron agrees. “The regulars are the reason that we’re here.”

Indeed, Four Horsemen’s motto echoes their sentiments. As the website puts it, “It’s your store, we’re just here to turn the lights on in the morning.” Ron and Tom are quick to emphasize that the store’s growth is totally driven by its patrons. Its inventory size has quadrupled since its doors opened in October 2010, and Ron is quick to credit this fact to its community’s ever-expanding interests.

The store is well-stocked for games requiring miniatures. A large shelf holds painting supplies for customizing your minis

There are also two big shelves full of Warhammer merchandise, which is a household name to any gamer worth his dice

HeroClix, a game which uses Marvel hero and villain miniatures to do battle on a grid, is now a recurring game at Four Horsemen. At a special HeroClix midnight release, the store’s featured stock was sold out in ten minutes.

The store has a dedicated community of tabletop gamers whose interests are as diverse as possible within the format. I mean, there’s diversity within the diversity! I cannot just say they play trading card games; they play everything from Pokemon to the World of Warcraft TCG to Yu-Gi-Oh! to Magic. When I visited, there was a Legend of the Five Rings TCG game going on. And these are just the ones I know they play.

There are more traditional pen and paper games such as D&D and Pathfinder.

Some folks play the miniature-based games like HeroClix and Warhammer (40k and original).

On top of the variety, the store has some official chops. It is the only location in the state which offers officially sanctioned WoW TCG play, and playing there allows you to earn honor within the WoW TCG system, which I did not even know existed. Four Horsemen also hosts an official Pokemon League every other weekend or so (check here for exact times and dates, as well as other event info).

On another note, it’s sort of odd to think that a store completely grounded in physical media would be so adept in the realm of social media, but I must remark that Four Horsemen is masterful in its use of social media. Both its Twitter and Facebook are frequently, helpfully updated with news, promotions and other information pertinent to the realms of its expertise.

I discovered that Ron was responsible for the frequent and timely updates that are such a refreshing departure from the staccato inconsistencies which all too regularly plague the social media efforts of local businesses. Gold star, Ron!

If you want to find Four Horsemen Comics and Gaming, be wary of Google Maps, for its deceitful siren’s call has sent many an enterprising young writer down long forgotten paths into treacherous warrens of death and despair (not me, of course). The store is located in the Morgantown Mall, right next to Gap, across from Bath and Bodyworks. Not in the middle of a lake, and not in the jaws of Hades.

Lastly, I would like to give a shout out to Nick Ely, the fellow from last week’s post, for directing me to this charming new establishment. Head over to his blog and say hi if you’d like. One good turn deserves another

Four Horsemen Comics and Gaming Facebook Page

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