Featured Official Tournament Store (OTS)
Gnome Games - Green Bay West
2160 S Ridge Road
Halloween has come and gone, and we find ourselves embraced by the wonder of fall colors, hayrides, and hot cider, or do we? With record-breaking snowfall across the country, it is hard to tell. Despite the tumultuous weather, one thing is certain, we have another Official Tournament Store to feature! We're going to the far north and into the home of the fabled "frozen tundra of Lambeau Field" where you can find an Official Packers Establishment, and this month's Featured Official Tournament Store (OTS), Gnome Games-Green Bay West (Gnome Games) of Wisconsin!
Gnome Games started in the early 2000's when Pat Fuge, Owner, and his wife saw a need for a game store in the community that was open to kids and adults. "We started as a role-playing store," said Pat, "and then went into table-top gaming." Now they have a huge community base and three locations to serve them.
One of Gnome Games' priorities is to bring in and engage the younger player, as they are, of course, the future of any game. Not only do they have a Good Grade Program, which Pat encourages all OTS to do, but one of the more successful events that the store runs is a Family Game Night. Families in the local community can come and sit down with each other for a night of games. These Game Nights can, impressively, bring in from 200 to 250 people at a time! Pat explained that, "[the] goal is to get families around the table with the phones off. It's unplugged family time!" He mentioned that while mothers can always be relied on to play with the kids, dads are not always so willing; however, Pat is always happy to spend time with any reluctant parent to show the importance of playing and bonding with their kids.
As for the local Yu-Gi-Oh! TRADING CARD GAME (TCG) community in Green Bay, Pat says "it's a fledgling, strong community. While we've had bigger communities, our community here now is a cohesive, and strong community. Sometimes it's not about the numbers, it's the quality of the players, and the quality of the customer." This community is instrumental in their Young Player Program, where the older, more experienced players assist the younger, less experienced ones to learn about the game and improve their skills. "[The younger players] come in with their favorite cards that don't necessarily work together, and the older kids will help them build something playable. They'll take care of these kids. It cascades over time. You start small and it grows."
""The goal is to get families around the table with the phones off. It's unplugged family time!"
- Pat Fuge, Owner
Outside of the physical store, Gnome Games provides support for local libraries and their games programs. "We do a little bit as they need it. We've developed libraries and supported them. The big thing is that we want to be an enabling force instead of a doing force. We're better served by teaching them how to run their events," said Pat.
When asked about what keeps players coming back, Pat acknowledged that it's all about respect. "[Players] know that they're welcome at our stores all the time…we always take the time to listen and allow them to be the focal point," said Pat, "by doing so, they feel respected and we become important people in their lives, and they always want to return." Plus, all the players become very familiar with the store's Code of Conduct and Expectations. Gnome Games expects all who visit the store conduct themselves in a way that ensures that everyone has as much fun as possible. That type of structure leads to a welcoming space to play.
Pat also mentioned an event that is the highlight of their November – Thanksgaming. You read that correctly, Thanksgaming is an event where families can come to the store for a casual day of board games and pie. "We usually see 400 to 500 people per store per day. It's about having a good social time with each other," Pat said with pride. With a seating capacity of 110 at the Green Bay West location, they usually see a full house throughout the day. So, it is serendipitous that November is also the month where we celebrate the store that is, literally in the shadow of the illustrious Lambeau Field. Congratulations to our Featured OTS for November 2019, Gnome Games of Green Bay, Wisconsin!