While I frequent my “local” game stores on a fairly regular basis it’s always nice to check out new locations. My wife and I traveled to Saratoga Springs, NY this week for her teachers conference at the Hudson Valley Community College on the Common Core. We treated it as a mini-vacation except I had the day to myself and she had a two-day seminar.
Saratoga Springs didn’t have much in the way of game stores … M:TG shops and comics … so on Monday I drove into Albany. The trip was about 30 minutes or so down Route 87. There are two locations within Albany, Zombie Planet and Flights of Fantasy. Both were cool but for completely different reasons.
|from their website|
I like a place with the word “Miniatures” prime-placed in their sign
First stop … Zombie Planet!
The shop was actually on State Route 5 which is a long, winding main street for a ton of villages and towns along and around the NYS Thruway, including Waterloo, where I live. Not that this means the shop is special or anything, I just like coincidences like that.
I found it fine, unfortunately I passed the entrance and had to double back. There are two kinds of shops around me … M:TG locations that are holes in the wall and not much else and bigger multi-table joints with hordes of games and gaming materials. That still have M:TG taking up a lot of store real estate. Zombie Planet falls in between the hole in the wall shop (it was in it’s own building) and the monster location. They have a TON of stuff.
Paints from P3, Army Painter, Citadel and Vallejo as well as some spray stuff were at the front of the shop. A general use table was being used in the space so I had to climb over cables, etc. The folks at the table were nice enough about it. A $3 mini bin scored first pick with some random pieces that were intriguing … A merc from the box game, Mercs, Vayl from Anima, and a Samurai from Hell Dorado were acquired.
The same section held some accessories from Secret Weapon and some other miniature accessory companies. I climbed out of there and headed farther back. A couple of wargame tables were setup after a small counter filled with trinkets. Behind them was the GW stuff. Two guys were standing there and looked ready to begin a scenario so I moved to the back.
The Table Top section … denoted by the Table Top logo hanging from the ceiling. Lots of games. Checked that section out thoroughly and managed to stop myself from picking anything up. There was a last section that I wanted to see so I crossed to that.
More wargame miniatures including Flames of War, Blitzkrieg and some other Osprey Publishing stuff. Then I found it … Battletech. I just started getting players together for a campaign of Battletech and Mechwarrior RPG. We’re going to start soon so immediately I was stoked to find the section. Then I read the sign:
EXCELLENT! However, a lot of it is the latest stuff from Iron Wind Metals and Catalyst Games. 3075 rules and newer mechs made for the majority of the merch. The campaign I am running is from 3028 and more of the original game’s mechs. But lo, there were Lance Packs. For those not in the know, a lance is a group of four mechs. Ral Partha released them as a quick way to create groups. These boxed sets were themed to types of lances the game refers to … Recon, Fire, Command and Assault. Sadly, there were no Assault Lances available. But I did get a Fire Lance and Command Lance. There was also the Iron Winds Quick Start Set that came with Quick Start Rules printed out and stuffed in the package, so I picked up that.
That netted me, 12 mechs for $55 or roughly $4.50 a mech. Which is awesome considering that they normally run from $7 to $15 a mech.
Here’s the Mech Haul:
Banshee, Catapult, Dervish, and Trebuchet
Awesome, Dragon, Enforcer, and Panther
Enforcer, Cicada, Hunchback and Hermes II
This is different from the current QS Lance.
So after snatching up my 50% off Battlemechs and my $3 random dudes, I made for the check out. There, I decided I needed to buy some paint and picked up my first “paint pot” of P3 Cryx Bane Base. I also added Amarantha Red and Blue Violet from Vallejo.
Second stop … Flights of Fantasy Book Store!
Amusingly, this wasn’t that far from Zombie Planet. A bunch of turns and then sharing a building with some insurance agency, Flights of Fantasy. I got in there and met Maria, the owner, and one of the store cats.
|from their Facebook page|
I set out looking for minis but really hit pay dirt with more Battletech stuff … I snagged a copy of the Battletech Compendium and the Mechwarrior Companion. Two fairly useful books for my upcoming campaign. Both were used and $7 which wasn’t bad. I already own the Compendium but since it’s the base rules we’re using (been using for 20 years) I figured an extra couldn’t hurt.
Flights of Fantasy have a TON of novels. They are all over and fill extra rooms around the main store area. They carry M:TG of course, but they have a fair amount of other stuff available including Table Top games with some marked with As Seen on Table Top tags.
The two supplements for Battletech ate up the last of my cash for this trip and with 3 pieces of 10 cent candy, the only change I had left was also gone.
I packed up and headed to pick up my wife.
Overall, both stores were cool and had some unique things going for them. I love finding clearance items and Zombie Planet got me with two types. Older supplements are harder to find and Flights of Fantasy had quite a few for a variety of games. Who knows, maybe next time it’s a day trip to just shop those two places again … heh. At three hours one way, it’s not likely. However, it was nice to have some new places to visit.