RPG or comic shops in NYC?
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Post Posted: Sun Oct 15, 2006 12:49 pm 
 

Hi guys,

a friend of mine is visiting the Big Apple soon. Do you know any good RPG  or comic shops that are a must-see?

  


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Post Posted: Sun Oct 15, 2006 12:57 pm 
 

the complete strategist on 33rd. they still have numerous dusty oldies lurking underneath their shelves.

  

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Post Posted: Sun Oct 15, 2006 1:23 pm 
 

stratochamp wrote:the complete strategist on 33rd. they still have numerous dusty oldies lurking underneath their shelves.


Pretty much that's the only place left in the area for old RPGs.  It's a tiny, cramped, packed place that's a lot of fun to search through.  Over ten years ago I found multiple PotVQs and Dwarven Glories there.   :D
Plus it's practically across from the Empire State Building so you'll be in the neighborhood at some point anyway.

  


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Post Posted: Mon Oct 16, 2006 2:00 pm 
 

VermilionFire wrote: Over ten years ago I found multiple PotVQs and Dwarven Glories there.   :D

8O  :)  So that's how you finance your collection!

Sounds like a fun old-school shop. Is it this one here? www.thecompleatstrategist.com

Also how about some comic shops?

  

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Post Posted: Mon Oct 16, 2006 4:52 pm 
 

frankfromgermany wrote:8O  :)  So that's how you finance your collection!


If I remember correctly I picked up 5 PotVQs and 2 Dwarven Glories.  To add insult to injury they were being sold for 50% off cover price so they were like $2.50 each or something like that.  This was back in 1996 or so, and I offered to sell some of their old stuff online (they barely even had a website then) but they said they weren't interested.  A couple years after that they cleaned out a whole section of old stuff from the 1970's by just throwing it in the trash and they seemed oddly proud of that fact when they told me on a later visit.  Who knows what treasure was potentially in there...

Sounds like a fun old-school shop. Is it this one here? www.thecompleatstrategist.com

Also how about some comic shops?


Don't know much about comic shops so I won't venture a guess... but I'm sure there's some really good ones someplace... maybe Forbidden Planet is still around in the Village but that's probably a tourist trap.  
As for CS, that's the right website.  There was a time when they had 3 shops in Manhattan including one in Rockefeller Center but that was obviously untenable from a financial point of view.  
The remaining store on 33rd St. is the original and you can feel the history in it.  The floors creak as you walk on them... they're actually kind of lumpy.  If you search on the floor below the first rack you'll find a ton of Thieves Guild and other old RPG treasures from the 70s and early 80s; you can probably get the entire Thieves Guild set and it'll be 50% off as is everything down there.  A word to the wise  is to bring a pair of gloves otherwise your hands will be black from 20 year-old soot.  
It's a fun place to hunt, and there's not many places like that left, enjoy it!   :D
Plus the Empire State Building is across the street and you won't want to miss that either.  Stay across the street from it and just look up, up, up... it's pretty awesome.

  


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Post Posted: Mon Oct 16, 2006 6:09 pm 
 

in the same spirit as this thread, work is sending me to Atlanta for a couple days this month, anyone have any suggestions for that area?


-dave

  


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Post Posted: Fri Oct 20, 2006 7:02 pm 
 

I can't add alot to what VF says about CS. It is incredibly accurate. He cleaned them out of all the great stuff before I got to it years later. I managed off with a stuff like Starstone and strange prints of other various nonTSR goodies. I tried my best to get the manager to let me have at the storage rooms. But several efforts yielded nothing.

There is something great about finding antique gaming shops. I once hit the BreastPlate in Youngstown before it closed. He still had a few Dragons with his original advertisements circa 1977.


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Post Posted: Fri Oct 20, 2006 7:10 pm 
 

Days of Knights in Delaware is a great one as well. While traveling between DC and NY I would stop in if I had time. They are another one I would pester the hell out of to get into his storage areas. Supposedly, there was a lot more stuff in storage of old material than there was of the newer crap in the store and it was a rather large store. They would tease me with that info yet tell me they couldn't let anyone back there. After saying they had lots of everything from the late 70's/early 80's  :twisted:

I can never understand why these old timers want to hold onto that stuff. They can pull down some great cash if they would just open it up.


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Post Posted: Fri Oct 20, 2006 9:51 pm 
 

scribe wrote:Days of Knights in Delaware is a great one as well. While traveling between DC and NY I would stop in if I had time. They are another one I would pester the hell out of to get into his storage areas. Supposedly, there was a lot more stuff in storage of old material than there was of the newer crap in the store and it was a rather large store. They would tease me with that info yet tell me they couldn't let anyone back there. After saying they had lots of everything from the late 70's/early 80's  :twisted:

I can never understand why these old timers want to hold onto that stuff. They can pull down some great cash if they would just open it up.


I'll never understand the reluctance of some stores to let paying customers into the back "forbidden" (gasp!!!) areas. I suspect a lot of it is posteuring.  There is a great game store in Houston, Nans Games, that has been around forever and I have pulled some great stuff out of random boxes and piles.  Like the examples given, supposedly they had tons of boxes of older goodies in the back, you could glimpse the piled boxes through the back door of the place. I once dropped about five bills there buying old TSR stuff and told the manager that was a taste of what he could see if he would let me back in the storage.  He hemmed and hawed and honestly couldn't think of any good reason except he had never done it for anyone.  I continued to pester him on subsequent visits, but he never gave an answer that made any sense.  Finally, a couple of years ago Houston flooded during some heavy storms and I understand all the back stock was pretty much ruined.  Nan's had to throw out boxes and boxes of waterlogged stuff.  Needless to say, they finally got the back cleared out (last few times I've been there there's nothing in the back anymore, used to be piled high with boxes) and I spent approximately nothing the last few times I've ventured in. Who knows how much money the owners lost by not letting me into the back?  To top it off I've heard the owners had no insurance for flooding so they couldn't even make any money back on the stock they lost.  If you ever wonder why your FLGS goes broke and has to close up, I think most of the time the main reason is stupidity.

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Post Posted: Sat Oct 21, 2006 10:40 am 
 

I have also tried without succeeding to get Compleat Strategist to allow me to look around their storage.  One of the employees who has been there forever said they don't have much old stuff in storage if that's to be believed.  Actually it wouldn't surprise me if they just trashed most of it not knowing what they had.
Another place I tried to get into the basement of was the old Waterloo on Long Island that was the home of Fantasy Games Unlimited; I believe owned by Scott Bizar's parents.  Only when they were closing up shop for good, and I brought Mike from Dragon's Trove with his business credentials did they allow us to run amok, in a good way, downstairs.  Mike and I both filled up our cars with tons of stuff including boxes of Greyhawk Minifigs, JG, shrink TSR modules, FGU rarities and more.  Scott's mom (I believe) thought it was very unprofessional that her husband allowed us into the basement to buy stuff.  I was like really now... would you rather lug all this stuff to Arizona to go into storage or sell it for cash to Mike and I?  Geez...  :roll:

  


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Post Posted: Sat Oct 21, 2006 9:31 pm 
 

It is uncanny how these experiences of others in the antique shops sound hauntingly familiar.  :wink:

I hate to say it as it sounds sort of weird. But I guess I don't fit the m.o. of the normal gamer wondering into the store. I guess I have a predator look or something when plowing towards the bottom of boxes and back of selves etc. Maybe its when they catch me peering into the doorways of the back storage rooms or something.  :lol: I try to be as honest as I can about my intentions to no avail. I guess I just don't have the time and energy to pose as a gamer to get to the good stuff. I was never to good at the undercover/James Bond sort of thing.


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Post Posted: Sun Oct 22, 2006 4:30 am 
 

things like that didnt ever enter my mind!

sheesh i suck at that then!
:D

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Post Posted: Sun Oct 22, 2006 4:58 am 
 

scribe wrote:It is uncanny how these experiences of others in the antique shops sound hauntingly familiar.  :wink:

I hate to say it as it sounds sort of weird. But I guess I don't fit the m.o. of the normal gamer wondering into the store. I guess I have a predator look or something when plowing towards the bottom of boxes and back of selves etc. Maybe its when they catch me peering into the doorways of the back storage rooms or something.  :lol: I try to be as honest as I can about my intentions to no avail. I guess I just don't have the time and energy to pose as a gamer to get to the good stuff. I was never to good at the undercover/James Bond sort of thing.


    I often do much better at the local Half Price Books.  I've cultivated friendships with many of the workers; one eventually worked her way up to manager and then district manager, which was way cool.  Anyway, I can usually cajole people I know to let me have looks at the stuff not on the shelf yet.  I never ask for any favors regarding pricing; just price it as they normally would and I will buy it if it's within my range.  However, some stores have strict policies about unpriced or unshelved items, I never push them.
 I've found it works best to adopt the persona of the inoffensive, curious gamer-type who loves older stuff but doesn't know what it's worth.  I have an entire spiel worked up that I use which puts the bookstore/gamestore owner off guard to where they don't mind me looking through their backrooms/backstock/unpriced items.  For some reason these people are much more apt to let a "fellow old school gamer type" into their inner sanctums than a "predatory seller type".  I made the mistake many years ago of handing a guy at a used bookstore where I had just purchased several hundred dollars worth of stuff my business card and told him to call me if he ever got anymore used gaming stuff in. He looked disgusted, threw the card down, and said they didn't sell to dealers and if I hadn't already purchased the items he would have voided my sale!!!!  Mind you this was several hundred dollars of stuff; he hated dealers/resellers that much, but still seems like an extreme reaction.  I guess all dealers/sellers have the same quirk that selling to a fanboy is ok, but someone who might profit off the items, no way.
     When playing the part ofthe inoffensive gamer/collector I often get invited right back to the good stuff without even asking!  And I can't tell you the amount of times I've had to bite my tongue when the seller launches into a long story about how valuable the D&D with Cthulhu is, or just really far out incorrect stuff (like the guy who wanted something like $15 each for his old Dragon mags  because they had never been reprinted, but parted with all his old Polyhedron and Dungeon mags for $1 each because they HAD been reprinted, huh???).  I just smile and nod and make inoffensive gamer guy comments like "So what is all this 3rd edition stuff all about?" and "I don't play anymore, used to play about 20 years ago, I just like buying all the older stuff to read through it." Most of the time it works.  Sometimes you get people like the afore mentioned that just plain won't deal with you logically. However, I've found that most of those supposed "hordes in the back room" are so much exaggeration and might consist of a few good items and a bunch of crap.  I've seen many supposed treasure troves in my day that turned out to be a bunch of beat up first edition books, some dog eared 1st ed modules, and a case of SW Spelljammer and Al Qadim crap.  
   There is a small city in south Texas (to remain nameless) where there is an old guy who was a game/comic shop on the main drag of the small town.  He's been there forever in a large cavernous place.  There are hundreds of comic longboxes and gaming items in the back that have never made it to the front of the store for sale, he always told me that"Someday I'm going to sell all that stuff on the internet and retire".  There was always much speculation in my mind what goodies could possibly be in the back stock....
   Last time I went by there, he had finally got all his RPG stuff out and priced it.  It was an entire wall full of stuff.  What a joke....everything was dusty, dirty and beat up.  Everything was priced about ten times ebay (T1-4 at $100 with no mapbook, U series at $30 even through they looked like they had been used to clean toilets, common Judge's guild modules at $15 each, the inevitible AD&D first ed hardbacks for $20 each in less than desirable condition, etc).  Boy was I crestfallen at this development.  I scoured the entire stock and came away with the only handful of items in good shape and priced correctly.  He was telling me any day now he was going to start putting his RPG stuff up on Ebay and make enough money to retire....I didn't have the heart to say much of anything.  So, sometimes I think the fantasy is far better than the reality when it comes to these so-called treasure troves...

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Post Posted: Sun Oct 22, 2006 5:14 am 
 

Oh, and a couple of more hints:

1.  Do your treasure trove shopping at the end of the month. A lot of these FLGS guys are terrible businessmen and just barely make their rent every month.  If you go in closer to the time rent is due, often they will let you take 20, 30 or even 50 percent off large purchases because they need the cash.  I was just in one of my good buddie's stores last week (I bought comics from him for about a decade until I ended up moving far away from his store) and joked to him about the games in the RPG section with dust on them that had been sitting there since I last had come in about a year earlier.  He told me go ahead and take what I wanted and he would give me half off, rent was due and he was tired of looking at the stuff on the shelves!!!

2. It never hurts to ask for discounts like 20, 30 and 50 percent off.  They can only say no.  I've been surprised at the places that agreed to discounts, and suprised at some of the hole in the wall, craptastic shitholes that act offended and say absolutely not (then are closed down the next time you drive by!!!!).  I once had a guy in a small Texas town refuse to sell me over $500 of stuff because I asked for a discount at a GOING OUT OF BUSINESS SALE!!! His explanation being he never gave discounts before, he wasn't going to start now (He wasn't going to start now with bankruptcy staring him in the face????).  The funniest part is most of his stuff was bought at liquidation auction by a fellow dealer, who proceded to sell me most of it....at a discount...... 8O

3.  It never hurts to leave your phone number and let them know if they get anything in, you would be interested.  It doesn't pay off 90 percent of the time..but sometimes it does, which is great.  I've got callbacks sometimes years after leaving a number...unlike some folks, most normal people want to make money off their stock if something like bankruptcy is looming, they would rather have your cash than nothing.

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Post Posted: Sun Oct 22, 2006 1:00 pm 
 

Great stories, BMike! I suppose we should have just started these up in their own thread. Would be great to hear more antique shops stories by would be plunderers.  8)


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Post Posted: Sun Oct 22, 2006 10:04 pm 
 

Badmike wrote:Oh, and a couple of more hints:

1.  Do your treasure trove shopping at the end of the month. A lot of these FLGS guys are terrible businessmen and just barely make their rent every month.  
Mike B.


I use this technique routinely, it also helps while during the negotiation to open your wallet filled with 20 - 30 $20.00 bills. thumb through them and then promptly stick it back in your pocket and act like you are not interested.

Badmike wrote:2. It never hurts to ask for discounts like 20, 30 and 50 percent off.


In the fine art of negotiation always either let the seller make the first offer and work your way down from that.  In one recent deal I made the seller had about 700 items and said how about 30% off of cover price; I looked at him quite insulted and said " a used bookstore would probably give you $1.00 each in trade and you want to give me 30% off cover on 700 items!"  We finally settled on $1600.00 for all the books.

If the seller insists you make the first offer then proceed with some hideously low number, after the shock pumps out of his system then his expectations will be diminished.  If he gets all insulted then simply say "you wanted an offer and there it is, what do you want for this stuff now?"

Badmike wrote:3. It never hurts to leave your phone number and let them know if they get anything in, you would be interested. It doesn't pay off 90 percent of the time..but sometimes it does...


Good advice 8)   I have picked up a few collections this way as well.

Over the years I have made many large purchases and have come to some very good techniques in minimizing your payout:

1) Try to buy in bulk, if you have 1000 items worth $10 that comes to $10,000.00!  Now $10,000.00 is a lot of money to anybody and the simple fact that it is a lot of money intimidates people (mass psychology).  It is much simpler for a seller of 1000 items to imagine that it is worth less than the staggering amount of $10,000.00.  Put everything in a pile and focus on a pile of stuff, not the individual items.  Individually this stuff is worth $10,000.00 but that pile of stuff in the corner is worth what $500.00 maybe $600.00.  The way people look at stuff is different as a whole than its parts.  The used auto part industry does this all the time.

2) Always have the money with you at the time of negotiation.. This is very important. After a negotiation has taken place the immediate gratification of the seller will be satisfied with a lump of immediate cash.  It will make the seller feel better and reduce the chance of him backing out when you run to the bank to get payment.  Also as I said earlier it can be used as bait, flash the bills once while talking then the seller will know you came to spend money.  One time during a heated negotiation with a seller we were very close to a price and he just would not budge any lower; I actually took the money I was offering and placed it in his hand.  After that he let the stuff go.

3) Throw the seller some kick back.  What I mean by this is while you are looking through the stuff pull out a few items that have some value (lets say a T1-4).  Tell him the stuff you pulled out has some value (which it does) and you will make the deal with the other gruntier stuff.  I do not mean pull out all the valuable items; just a few.  Make a deal on the common stuff which of course will be very favorable then move to the 3-4 uncommon items you pulled.  For these items you can just say the guy should keep them or if he is willing to sell them to you give him more than you would normally pay (60-70% value for example).  What this technique does is put the seller at ease, he got good money for the rare stuff and also got "rid of" the junk.  Once again he is satisfied and you get the big score.


Some people may think these techniques are underhanded or simply to stupid to work well they are neither.  The seller wants to sell the stuff, he can always go to Ebay himself and he sure does not want to have it just lying around the house or store.

Do these work? Hell yes they do.  There are obvisouly more techniques than just these but this is already my longest post on any board and my fingers are getting tired :lol:

I have bought so many large deals in my life and always had great prices.

Everybody have a great day

Jeff


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Post Posted: Tue Oct 24, 2006 11:46 am 
 

I went through the CS in NY a couple years ago- nuthin'! The guy said I should try ebay, and he looked none too impressed.....


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Post Posted: Tue Oct 24, 2006 5:57 pm 
 

Its funny to me how they can't be bother, right? Me: "Sorry to bother you with all this cash. I will just run along and spend it elsewhere."

I hadn't been by in a while, but they used to have the vendor's oversized yellow basic box set just sitting in the window getting bleached out.


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Post Posted: Tue Oct 24, 2006 6:00 pm 
 

:lol: Oh, and I never even tried to buy that boxset from them. I think they conversation about it would have been too painful. Them: "What are you going to do with that?"


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Post Posted: Wed Oct 25, 2006 11:48 am 
 

scribe wrote:Its funny to me how they can't be bother, right? Me: "Sorry to bother you with all this cash. I will just run along and spend it elsewhere."


Yep, that sounds just like them.  Their rent must be astronomical on Manhattan's 33rd St.; I've wondered how they possibly stay in business.  They must have signed a 40-year lease in 1970...

  
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