PAX Australia 2018 Focus – Good Games

If you caught my piece yesterday you’ll know that I spent an enjoyable time chatting with Kim from Good Games Publishing.  I also caught up with Jaime Lawrence who is the brand manager for Good Games (both here in Australia and abroad) who was excited to bring me up to speed on the things happening with Australia’s largest chain of tabletop gaming stores.

For the first time at PAX Australia, Good Games set up a dedicated booth just for RPG products.  The last few years have seen a huge explosion in demand for RPG products and the separate booth at PAX was a roaring success.  Likewise Good Games have seen a significant ‘bump’ in RPG sales across our fair country with more and more players jumping on board all the time.  This includes not just Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition either; over the weekend the store sold out of ‘The Witcher’ and ‘Vampire: The Masquerade’.

Jaime went on to say that “Role playing is leading the charge right now, it is the fastest growing part of gaming, including CCG’s. It’s amazing.”

Having said that though, Good Games brought with them the biggest board game booth they’ve ever had to PAX this year,  four booths long and simply packed with shoppers the entire weekend.  While Jaime did acknowledge that certain product lines perform stronger in some states or regions over others, board games have continued to grow strongly across the board (ba-dum-tish), with the ACT selling more board games than any other state.

Good Games Chicago.

When I asked Jaime about the American stores he commented that they are doing very well and that the Chicago store in particular is a beautiful store that’s actually built on top of a much older ‘pre-Chicago-fire’ shop. By heading into the basement you can see the old store front and even a smugglers tunnel left over from the speakeasies of the 1920’s.  Sounds like the perfect place to set up a role playing room to me!

Currently the American stores are all ‘company owned’ but Jaime informs me that there are discussions underway for potential franchise stores in the future as well.

Much like last year Good Games hosted a Magic: The Gathering and Yu-Gi-Oh! National Championship event, with winners receiving flights to a Grand Prix of their choice for MtG or a good chunk of cash for YGO.

Yu-Gi-Oh! National Championship.

Good Games learnt a lot from their previous series of Championship events at PAX last year and came a lot more prepared this year with a designated area and setup for casting and streaming, as well as custom art, and just a whole lot more polish overall.  Jaime went on to explain “We really want to show the support for CCG, that’s where the business really came from when it started. We still love it, we still think it’s amazing.  We are really pushing to create a national circuit.”

Not content with just retail and publishing, Good Games are also expanding into media coverage, although Jaime ensures me that it isn’t competition.  They had content creators on the floor across the PAX weekend interviewing tabletop designers and people in the industry. You’ll find most of this content on the Good Games website.

Jaime and the team have been very busy travelling the globe, Jaime himself making two trips to the USA in three weeks.  Other team members were at Essen over the weekend, picking up board games that aren’t available in Australia and bringing them back for retail shelves so that we (as consumers) might be able to enjoy games we otherwise might not have access to.

Lastly, Good Games have been spending quite a bit of time of late getting involved and supporting a number of podcasts. 7 Land Hand, Dragon Friends, and I Speak Giant are all sponsored by Good Games, with the former focusing on Magic: The Gathering and board games, while the latter two on Dungeons & Dragons.

I caught up for a chat with both 7 Land Hand and I Speak Giant.

Aaron (Left) and David (Right) from 7 Land Hand.

7 Land Hand began as a pet project at the Perth based Good Games Cannington store, stemming from a desire to talk about Magic: The Gathering due to the huge player base at that location. Originally a fortnightly podcast with a MTG episode and a board game episode, the team has evolved into a much more diverse media team, covering a variety of topics and also introducing quite a bit of video content.

Tying it all back into the Good Games brand, the podcast will often announce special discounts on a particular game they are discussing and also do regular monthly giveaways, often sending items like Magic: The Gathering boosters across the world.

The team have been at it for five years now and still demonstrate an enormous amount of enthusiasm for the project, maintaining regular podcasts every fortnight.  As well as looking to take their video content into the realm of unboxings and higher production levels, there has also been some discussion on taking things to Twitch to get the audience interaction you can’t get with a podcast.

I Speak Giant. #WhereIsLuke

Next up I had the opportunity to meet the I Speak Giant team, an extremely quirky bunch of Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition players.  Rather than try to explain this amusing party of adventurers to you though, I’ll let them introduce themselves and explain the show.  Edited ever so slightly for brevity.

And with that I left Jaime and the Good Games team to wrap up their PAX Australia 2018 weekend. It’s clear the team is more than just a retail chain of stores and they share a passion for tabletop gaming that extends well into many different fields and formats.

Looking for your nearest store? Head over to the Good Games Website to find your local and the events taking place there.

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