Indiana Daily Student

Are you game?

Bloomington game gurus gather to battle with painted pewter pieces 6 days a week

Right here in Bloomington, people are waging war almost every day. They fight in Medieval Europe, in 2025 and in intergalactic space. They decimate each other with cannons, lasers or plasma weapons. And they do all this while huddling over a table packed with Styrofoam scenery and painted pewter playing pieces, located in the back of the Game Preserve, 117 Fountain Square.\nThe Game Preserve, which opened in the summer of 1994, is one of four Game Preserve stores in Indiana. The chain originated in 1980 at the Fashion Mall in Indianapolis. Since then, Game Preserves have been established in Southern Indianapolis and Lafayette, as well as here in Bloomington.\nThe store serves many different types of people, but all its customers share one commonality: they're looking for a good time.\nIndeed, the Game Preserve provides many opportunities for avocation, ranging from board games to card games to puzzles.\nOne factor that contributes significantly to its popularity, however, is that it not only provides players with the raw materials to play games, it also provides them with a place to play.\nEvery day of the week except Sunday, the eight-by-four-foot table in the back of the store is reserved for patrons to play a different game. On weekdays, these games generally begin around 5 p.m. and run until close at 9 p.m.\nOn Saturdays, Warhammer is played all day long, beginning when the store opens at 10 a.m., and generally dying down around 4 p.m., although players sometimes stick around until closing at 9 p.m.\nThe Game Preserve offers many accessories for these multi-player strategy games, which often involve miniature pewter or plastic figurines.\nAlong with the figurines themselves, the store also sells the paint -- in shades ranging from "Scab Red" to "Scorpion Green" -- and multi-colored, multi-sided dice in almost every imaginable style and color, including a large 100-sided die resembling a golf ball.\nTrading plays a big role in the popularity of the Game Preserve. Gamers meet during game nights not only to play, but also to trade their special commodity: the figurines that make up the players' armies.\nBloomington resident Walter Downey, 22, comes to the Game Preserve because "it is a good place to socialize with people like-minded and work deals." \n"The gamer" is not the only type of customer found at the Game Preserve -- the store also caters to those looking for some family fun.\n"We sell bundles of Dungeons and Dragons stuff, family card games and classics like Scrabble and Monopoly," Assistant Manager Andrew Reyes said. "You could shake a stick at all the chess sets we have, but it would take you a good long time to finish."\nThe Game Preserve also has a large assortment of classic board games, including Clue, Diplomacy, Stratego, Risk, Axis and Allies, Trivial Pursuit, Scrabble, a version of Scrabble en espaƱol and nineteen versions of Monopoly.\nAs Reyes recently answered a customer's inventory query, "I've got backgammon and more backgammon."\nOver 25 types of playing cards, including a Braille deck, can be found here, along with card shufflers, poker chips and score pads.\nMagic tricks and strategy games like Risk and Stratego are lined up on shelves from floor to ceiling. In the very rear are puzzles of varying difficulty and type. The selection includes photomosaic puzzles, 3-D puzzles, and two 12,000 piece puzzles at $129.95 each.\nThe Game Preserve honors customer loyalty with a free Frequent Buyer Program, in which patrons earn loyalty points for purchasing hobby-related items, such as miniatures or customizable card games.\nCustomers accumulate these points at the rate of one point per dollar spent until they reach 100 points, then they may begin using their points to receive a 10-cent-per-point discount on any merchandise in the store. \nThe promotion leaves some customers wary of spending too much money. \nBloomington resident Josh Scites, a fan of the 7th Sea card game, said he has been going to the Game Preserve for about four years.\nHow much he has spent there?\n"I'm guessing a few grand," he said. "One summer I had a huge bunch of money and I spent, like, $800 here"

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