What it means to be a Community Gaming Store

It is no secret that we want to be the best game store in the region. A lofty goal, we know, but how do we get there?

There are many answers to that question… and the truth is we don’t really know.

That seems an awfully lot like a cop out… but it’s true. Some folks exude confidence and they seem to know just the right thing to do in any given situation… That’s not us…. We have been grinding out every week, every month since we have opened.  Owning a game store is definitely not easy. But you know what… it is incredibly rewarding.

We come into the store every day and get to see people playing games. We are privileged to help people have fun and it brings us joy to see a store full of people enjoying their hobbies.

So where do we start with creating an amazing game store? Simple answer? Customers. The community evolves, it ebbs and flows, it is flexible. A game store is always a reflection of its community. We need to be able to adapt to the changing demands of the community and that requires listening and flexibility. This is why we are open and responsive on social media and email, to ensure all customers have a voice. We have created a store board game library for customers to try out new games in store for free and we allow customers access to painting and modeling supplies while building in the store. And we are ready and willing to do more, just ask us!

Another aspect to creating a great game store is cleanliness.  We all know that games stores can quickly become a hoarders paradise… piles of games and stacks of boxes in a corner… But as a former Marine, Jack likes everything to have a place and we want there to be a general sense of cleanliness. It is important to clean the bathrooms and to vacuum the floors regularly and remove the garbage when it fills.  Our goal is to ensure the store maintains a sense of cleanliness at all times.

Communication is another key component. We have all known a person who would get so anxious about bad news that they would avoid saying anything until weeks had gone by… We want to avoid that. So if there is an error or a mistake that we have made, or an order that didn’t come in, we will tell you. Good news or bad… because bad news doesn’t get better a week later.

There is another side though… the side customers don’t see. There are occasionally times when we need to make hard decision about things that occur in the store. We have to make decisions about ensuring we are maintaining a space that is safe and clean and respectable. We make those decisions and don’t publish them, but with make those decisions so that our store can be a safe, fun, and respectful place for everyone.

Nobody needs extra stress about their fun. Fun should stay fun and it is my job to facilitate getting you your hobby and gaming supplies with as little fuss as possible. We want you to come in and let us stress about the not fun stuff, so you are able to have as much fun as possible.

Thanks again!

March 19th Store Newletter

Below is this week’s email newsletter. We send this out once a week with information about the happenings at The Bolter Hole. If you are interested in getting this weekly update (and qualifying for a random 30$ store credit monthly drawing) sign up for the newsletter here!

Here goes!

We have been extra busy this past week with some great stuff. Paul and Olivia went to GAMA in Reno and are going to be back this week with tons of information and some neat goodies! Also, we had the carpets cleaned in the store on Sunday night. We are looking forward to another big week at the store.

We are always looking for new ideas and items to bring into the shop, so if you are looking for a specific game or product line, let us know and we will see if is something we have access to!

Here comes the weekly schedule!

The Bolter Hole Weekly Schedule:

*Free open gaming is available any time the shop is open. Our space is community space.

Wednesday March 20:

Board Game Demo: Sitting Ducks Gallery – As ducks float down the gallery, you attempt to keep your ducks alive, while trying to knockout everyone else’s ducks. This is a fun, quick game for 2-6 players. You can stop in anytime between 5-8pm

Hobby Night – We provide access to paints and hobby supplies so you can build or paint models for your own collection. We have a great crowd with a ton of experience so you can ask any questions – come down anytime between 4-8pm 

Open Gaming –  Our tables are open for any gaming you are interested in. You can set up a game in one of our Facebook groups or bring in a friend to play. We don’t have table fees and you are welcome to come down anytime. 12-8pm

Let us know if you are interested in a specific board game and we will get a demo copy and give it a try!

Thursday March 14:

D&D night 5-8pm – Our regular Dungeon Masters will be ready to go with the continuing adventures! Both of the current campaign groups are currently full, but we are planning to expand to a 3rd group, so come by, hang out, see the groups, and ask about 5th Edition D&D.

Friday March 15:

Magic the Gathering Commander 8:00pm – Come down and prove your mettle and your card slinging skills! All Friday participants enter in the Friday night rankings to see who will be the monthly champion! 10$ entry!

Warhammer Age of Sigmar Narrative Campaign: The Isles of Argentinium – Week 4 of our AoS Campaign – bring any amount of points for your fantasy army and fight in the Realm of Metal. Match ups begin promptly at 7pm!

Saturday March 16:

Magic the Gathering: Ravnica Allegiance Showdown -10$ entry, 2 pm start!  

Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team – We are continuing our bi-weekly Kill Team for March and April – Bring down any 100 points of Kill Team and have some fun. At the end of the April we have some great prizes to give out, as well as special game cards just for coming in. We will be matching folks up based on the number of people who arrive each Saturday and multiple games are encouraged. 

Sunday March 17:

Magic the Gathering Modern: 1pm start. 10$ buy in! The more the merrier! We are loving the participation in our Modern events on Sunday and the prize pool grows with every new face, so come down and join in for some fun and exciting games of Modern!

Keyforge Open Play Sunday: 1pm start. 

Warhammer 40,000 Speed Freaks! – Come down and join us as we race around in our Ork buggies and bikes, while trying to survive in this wacky race style game. We have 4 buggies and tons of bikes for you to use as you learn how to play this great game! 1-4pm

Other March events-

I wanted to highlight some of our longer term events! On Saturdays  though March and April we are holding our biweekly Urban Conquest Campaign and Kill Team events! Come down and roll some dice!

Sundays are full of events as well, we will be playing Speed Freaks this Sunday and as a giant finale for the month of March, we are hosting a gigantic Necromunda Survival Horror event on March 31st.

Additionally, we are supporting the Blackstone Library for an April Magic event on Thursday April 11th. This is a get started event with some “learn to play” from 4-5pm and a short tournament after, with some prize support from The Bolter Hole. Check it out if you can!

GW Pre-Orders:

This Saturday will see the pre-orders for the Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Space Marines, the Vigilus Ablaze campaign book, and several Warhammer horror books. This is the first of a couple weeks of Chaos releases. These releases fit in amazingly with the Shadowspear box set that was just released, but it is likely the Shadowspear box will sell out, so let us know if you want a box to plan for this amazing release for Chaos. The Vigilus Ablaze book will bring the Vigilus campaign forward and expand the rules for Khorne Daemons in Warhammer 40,000 and will include the Datasheets needed for you Chaos forces if you already have the first Chaos Space Marine Codex.

Warhammer 40,000
Abbadon – 60$
Chaos Space Marines – 60$
Vigilus Ablaze – 50$
Codex Chaos Space Marines – 40
Noctolith Crown Terrain – 50$
Data cards – 15$
Chaos dice – 20$

Novels
Scourge of Fate Hard Back – 27$
Maledictions – Horror Anthology Paperback- 16
Wicked and the Damned Paperback- 16$
Iron Warriors Omnibus Paperback – 18$
Perdition’s Flame – Audio Book – 17.5

Other items of note – 

If you are interested in learning to play a game (Warhammer, Magic, or other games), let us know and we can set up a time to do a small demo for you (no charge or fees)!

Ravnica Allegiance is the newest Magic set – but we are starting to take numbers for pre-release for War of Spark which will be coming in May. We also have a ton of 1$ super mystery packs for people who want to do some casual drafts! Remember, we buy and sell Magic singles, so come down and take a look at our extensive Magic singles collection!

If you know someone who is thinking about starting an after school club for Magic or Warhammer, please let us know. We are currently looking to reach out to support local school groups!

We look forward to seeing you at the shop!

Games Workshop and the Worlds of Warhammer

I have been playing Games Workshop games for over 25 years and I have realized a few things, most importantly that there are a lot of Games Workshop games and information out there. So I thought this might be a good time to delve into various ways to enjoy Games Workshop and the Worlds of Warhammer.

So What is Games Workshop?

Games Workshop is the parent company that creates Warhammer games. Theses games are many and varied and the company encapsulates books, hobby supplies, rules, games, plastic miniatures, and much more. The company started many years ago with a few people and a desire to make some cool miniatures and grew into one of the best companies in the UK last year. Suffice to say, they are doing some awesome stuff these days.

What games are you talking about?

I am glad you asked…. There are 2 primary games and a ton of games the exist inside the basic two games. Warhammer 40,000 and Warhammer Age of Sigmar are the two primary games. These two games are miniature games, where players come to a table with two armies and battle on the table for various objectives. Warhammer 40,000 takes place in the far future where the universe is in a constant state of warfare with various races (humans, space marines, Orks, Eldar, chaos, Tau, Tyranids, Necrons), while Warhammer Age of Sigmar fits into the realm of standard fantasy. Age of Sigmar takes the standard fantasy races, elves, orcs, barbarians, goblins, ogres, knights, and turns it up a notch creating really interesting battlefield dynamics.

Inside the two universes, Warhammer 40,000 and Warhammer Age of Sigmar,  there are multiple other games that allow people to access the overall worlds and hobby with varying degrees of buy in.

Inside the Warhammer 40,000 universe there are several smaller games that allow you to play without having to buy and entire army. Warhammer Kill Team is a game where small, elite teams of warriors battle for objectives. Kill Team only requires a handful of models to play, it is likely once you start a Kill Team you will eventually move into a full army for Warhammer 40,000. Additionally, there are other specialist games like Adeptus Titanicus and Necromunda which exist in the same universe but do not intersect directly with Warhammer 40,000, as Kill Team does. These other games allow people to play small games with giant robots or with gangs that grow and have much more “character development” and have more of an RPG feel.

The world of Warhammer Age of Sigmar follows a similar trend. They have a small scale game Warhammer Underworlds, that focuses on small warbands of models fighting for glory in a lost city. Warhammer Underworlds warbands can be used directly in Age of Sigmar. Additionally, they have released several set of skirmish rules that allow you to battle with just a handful of models instead of a large army. To get that narrative/RPG feel, you could play Bloodbowl which is a fantasy take on American Football. In Bloodbowl teams try to outscore each other (or just bash each other’s faces in) and gain skills and become star players.

There are even more games, like Horus Heresy and Middle Earth Strategy that allow players to explore other areas as well. If you are a fan of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, Middle Earth would be a place to explore. The Horus Heresy explore the darkest part of the history of the Warhammer 40,000 universe.

That is intense! Now what?

Another great question reader! There are literally no wrong ways to get involved in the games.

Some people really love the painting and modeling aspect of the games. They don’t play as often as others, but they love painting and crafting amazing models.

Some people love to play super competitive games where every move has significance!

Other people love the story and focus their hobbying and gaming on creating unique characters with colorful backstories.

Other people create forces from novels and stories and continue their exploits on the table top.

Some people just enjoy quickly painting their army and playing games with their forces as soon as possible.

Some folks enjoy just chatting about the games and collecting their favorite models.

You have me intrigued… where do I start?

These games are all community based. So come down to the store and talk to people. Ask questions and explore your options. The models are amazing, but can also get pricey, so you want to start with a force that you really enjoy the look and feel of, otherwise you might find yourself getting bogged down and frustrated.

 

Overall, the Games Workshop brand is a meant to be a hobby that people find enjoying. So come down and figure our what ways you can join the hobby!

Why should I come to The Bolter Hole?

Another great question! We are a community based store and we try to cater to a variety of different needs. First, we know how expensive it is to get started. With that in mind we offer 20% off all Games Workshop trade items, and 10% off any direct order items. This allows you to get the best deals to get started. Additionally, we have hobby materials (paints, brushes, and tools) available for customer use so new customers can start without having to purchase a lot of paint initially.

Plus we have loads of events for multiple games for Games Workshop. We have casual games, competitive tournaments, narrative campaigns, and regular events exploring lots of different games.

Stay tuned to the blog or the Facebook page for more information and posts that delve into the worlds of Games Workshop!

Thanks!
Jack

Chris Bradley Nurgle and Death Guard Army Showcase

Chris brought his Nurgle/Death Guard Army to the store on Wednesday and we took some photos of his creepy army. Chris has a ton of conversions mixed into his force, so let’s dive down into the puss filled world of Nurlge.

Whole Army

1. What is your history with this army?
I’ve been playing Chaos in some form or another since the start of 4th edition, going back and forth between Undivided, Khorne and Nurgle. I’ve done pretty well with it; I qualified for ‘Ard Boyz finals twice back in the day and I’ve got a good record at local tourneys and leagues. I haven’t been to many large events though.

Typhus through the ages…

2. How long have you been working on this army?

Like I said, I’ve been going back and forth between Undivided, Khorne, and Nurgle. Before recently there weren’t many pure Nurgle models to get for Chaos Marines, so most of what I had for “Death Guard” in previous editions are Undivided units painted green. Bikers, Havocs, Obliterators, and Maulerfiends in particular don’t get much use now that Death Guard are a separate codex. Most of the Death Guard here were made for 8th. I’m still working on new Plague Marines now that they can’t take Bolt Pistols.

3. Why did you pick this color scheme?

Green, Flesh, and Metal is a pretty basic scheme for Death Guard; I’m more interested in building and converting than painting, so I usually stick to Base Paints and Inks. I can’t bring myself to not paint all the details though, and the new Nurgle models certainly have a lot of those!

Likewise, the bases are just Agrellan Earth with brown paint and an ink. My (bad) basing habits kind of date the models in my army. I started off with just green paint on the base, then sawdust, then modelling sand, and the Agrellan Earth most recently.


4. What are your favorite units/models in this army?

My favorite conversions are still probably the scratchbuilt Obliterators. I built the first of them back in 4th edition and finished the full nine sometime in 5th. They’re plastic parts only, no green stuff or metal except for repairs.

Converted Havocs

I’ve been buying Rhinos second-hand and rebuilding/repainting them for a while now. The one here is what a buddy of mine wound up with when he tried to strip the tank’s paint with Acetone. He sold it to me cheap, I threw some paint on it, and I’ve been running it ever since.

Rhino….

Daemon Princes are a blast to make. The grumpy-looking Daemonfly Prince is a recent project, but it turned out really well. I can just imagine the never-ending stream of complaints as running commentary over the Prince clawing up a squad.

Big Grumpy Daemon Prince

5. Do you have a style of play with this army that you favor?

Get in your face and take over. Death Guard Daemon Engines can take a surprising amount of damage, and the entire army is most dangerous up-close. That does give me some trouble against armies that can beat me in a fight or shoot the Daemon Engines apart.

I win a lot of games with 90% of my army dead.

Daemonic Vehicles

Bloat Drones


6. What are your future plans for this army?

I’ve got a laundry list of units to build and paint. My next big project is going to be painting my metal Nurgle Daemons- I’ve had them for years and barely touched them! I’m taking the opportunity to rebase a 30-man unit of Plaguebearers too, which has me scraping for slotted 32mm bases.

Besides that, I’ve been working on getting the Gellerpox done, there’s a new Great Unclean One on my painting table, and I wound up with three Knights somehow. I’ve got plenty to keep me busy.

Converted Armigers


7. Anything else you would like to share about your army?

Sure, I’ll share some notes on conversions. When I’m converting, I find myself sticking to a pattern: I’ll build one model normally or with a minor change, another with a moderate conversion using official models, and a third as something a scratchbuild or total conversion. The Blight Haulers and Foul Blightspawns follow that pattern, and I’ve done it with Maulerfiends, Daemon Princes, all sorts of units.

Another useful tip for infantry and other humanoid models: if a model has a pose that’s giving you trouble or the limbs you want to use seem like they’re being held awkwardly, try recreating the pose yourself. Hold up your arms and swing them around on like the bit you’re using, and then ask yourself why you’d take that pose. Physically holding the pose can help you figure out why someone would stand like that.

Three takes on the same Death Guard model

The easy-build Plague Marine holding a Bolter is a good example. It’s a real pain to convert, but there are some options for poses if you think about why someone would hold their arm that low.

Plague Bearers

Death Guard Characters

Plague Bearer Characters

Terminators

Zombies!

Pox Walkers

Thanks for bringing in your army and sharing it with us Chris! Time to go wash our hands and get inspired by these terrific conversions!

 

Connecting to The Bolter Hole on (and off) social media and beyond!

As you know, social media is a huge part of any business today. But we also know that some people just don’t frequent Facebook or Instagram. With that in mind, I wanted to reach out and share the different ways that people could connect with us.

This website and blog is a great way to connect, but it relies on frequent updates (which can sometimes get shelved if other areas get busy) – so if you frequent the website to check the schedule – Great! We keep that updated regularly! But it might also be important to join our email newsletter to get weekly event and product updates.

Additionally, we have weekly updates on Twitch and YouTube with videos and game reports.

Instagram  and email are also great ways to connect with us – thebolterhole@gmail.com (especially if you have any product questions or want us to order a product for you).

If you do enjoy Facebook and spend time there looking for gaming and hobby events, we have a list of Facebook groups and websites that will allow you directly connect with a specific gaming community (board games, miniatures, Magic, D&D, etc). Some of these groups are closed, but if you request to join, we will approve you!

Main Facebook Page – This is our main Facebook page where we share most information.

The Bolter Hole website – We have a blog and will eventually get our online store going here!

The Bolter Hole Miniature Gaming Group – Use this group for table top miniature gaming discussions!

The Bolter Hole Magic the Gathering Group – Use this group for MtG discussion and events!

The Bolter Hole Dungeons and Dragons Group – This is the place to check in for D&D info and ongoing campaign information (as well as new products and minis)!

The Bolter Hole KeyForge Group –  KeyForge is a fun and exciting card game – check in here for events and information!

The Bolter Hole Board Game Group – We have regular board game nights and are getting lots of new board games every week. Come here to post about board games!

The Bolter Hole Events – This connects you to our scheduled events on Facebook. Do you want an event that you don’t see? Contact us and we will see what we can do! It is also important to remember we have Open Gaming any time we are open (Fridays and Sunday evenings are pretty packed, but if you contact us with something, we are happy to schedule it)!

Hope to see you soon!
-Olivia, Paul, & Jack

Ork Bad Moon Army Showcase

I love looking at armies. When you play against a fully army, it helps create a terrific feeling of immersion. I rarely get the feeling of “being in the battle” but I think playing against painted armies helps people create that sense of narrative in their head. When you are creating a story for your army or your battle, grey plastic gets in the way.

This is my Bad Moon Ork army for Warhammer 40,000. I asked myself the following questions to guide my thinking:
1. What is your history with this army?
2. How long have you been working on this army?
3. Why did you pick this color scheme?
4. What are your favorite units/models in this army?
5. Do you have a style of play with this army that you favor?
6. What are you future plans for this army?
7. Anything else you would like to share about your army?

1. What is your history with this army?
I have loved Orks ever since I was a fresh faced teen back in the 1990s. I played an army based on the models from the Space Ork Raiders box with a bunch of other models added in for fun. I can’t remember ever winning but the fun of the stormboys flying all over hooked me. I lost interest through college, but stumbled back into the game when stationed in the Carolinas. I found a game store off base and GW had just released the giant Speed Freeks box with the Armageddon Campaign. I was hooked again and have spent the last 15ish years playing and building and painting. I always find myself drawn back to Orks.

2. How long have you been working on this army?
I started this Bad Moon army way back in 2007/2008. I wanted to do something different that the standard horde army. I decided to embrace the horde shooting mob backed up by a core of hard hitting Mega Nobs. So I began gathering orks and trading for the floppy smurf orc hat from the fantasy line. I just gathered materials for a long time and then started the building process. I build a fair share of the army before I started painting it. The parts that took the longest were the battlewagons and the Warboss, because I spent a lot of time converting those models.

3. Why did I pick the color scheme?
I went with a standard Bad Moon scheme, lots of yellows and gold. But I also included a lot of blues that were a regular color in the early Bad Moon art and images. I also decided to add a bunch of Freeboota themed colors with a some ork shoota pirates. So I was able to add some cool depth to the various units and differentiate the infinite amount of yellow orks… Essentially, these were just painted how one expects Bad Moons to be painted, though there has been a ton of variation of the yellows.

4. What are your favorite units/models in this army?
I have some clear favorites for different reasons. I love my MegaArmored Warboss because he was such an intricate conversion. He was based on a Ghaz model and beefed up considerably. I added some flair and some dakka, because he was a BadMoon Warboss after all. Now he is regulated to the index, so I will need to find a new army leader because I don’t like using multiple books for army lists. My Weirdboy based on the Fantasy Savage Orc BigBoss is my second favorite because I decided I would take some time painting him in a slightly different way, with extra layering on the muscles and skin and I really liked the way it turned out. Lastly, My battlewagons, as a group. I love the standard battlewagon, but the conversion I did to create my own personal update of the old Spleenrippa might be my favorite vehicle conversion to date. I used a ton of plasticard and mixed it with the battlewagon kit and the resin Forge World superkannon, plus loads of bits… It was a tremendously ambitious project for me (at the time).

5. Do you have a style of play with this army that you favor?
I love the idea of the horde shooting, so I typically try to move within 15 inches and blast away with hordes and then use the Battlewagons to move heavy hitters into range. I also love using the Morkanaut with Kustom Force Field to protect part of my force while forcing my opponent to make decisions about target priority. I used to love the Ork Kannons with grot crew (now indexed) to provide solid fire power, but now that role will be shifted to the various buggies. For the longest time the only way to deal with heavy armor, reliably, was a power klaw, so I always had 4-6 meganobs who would do their best to charge and destroy tanks. Since the new codex just came out, I haven’t quite figured out any new tactics… but I imagine that I will be shifting over to my Speed Freeks for a bit (another Ork army, but red).

6. What are you future plans for this army?
I plan to add several buggies to this army. I am hoping that the new Mek Guns come out in a combined box (new start collecting maybe?) and I want to add a few of those. But my priority will be finishing buggies and adding 3 more Mega Nobs. Overall, this army is pretty complete and I think it may not need much else. Though, I do have a bunch of killa kans unfinished somewhere…

7. Anything else you would like to share about your army?
Yellow can be tough if you let it be, but it doesn’t need to be so hard. I spent a lot of time early on in this project doing 4-5 thin yellow coats over black. Then GW released Averland Sunset and it changed everything. I think the key is writing everything down and staying consistent. I changed up my yellow several times and you can see that througout the army, especially when I used a different shade on the Mega Dread… I really need to go back to that model and try to get it to match the rest of my army more effectively. Yellow can be a great color, you just need to plan effectively.

Thanks for checking out my army! If you would like to be featured in the next Army Showcase, contact us at thebolterhole@gmail.com or send us a message on Face Book (https://www.facebook.com/thebolterhole/) or Instagram (@thebolterhole).

Thanks a bunch!

Guest Post by friend of the store Alyssa!

I went to the Bolter Hole’s grand opening on December 1, with the intention of participating in the Magic: the Gathering Commander Tournament, where the winner took home a “box topper,” which we later discovered was Kozilek, the Butcher of Truth. Participating in the commander tournament placed me a bit out of my comfort zone, since I am mostly a modern format player; however, I wanted to support the store’s opening and in hindsight, I’ll never turn down competitive Magic.

When I walked in to the Bolter Hole, I expected to see some familiar faces, and of course, people playing games; however, what I saw and experienced ended up being so much more. There were a lot of people at the Bolter Hole for its grand opening and I was immediately welcomed by different types of cookies, snacks, and shortly after was asked to put my name on a raffle ticket, just for showing up!

Shortly after, we were put into pods of 3 and 4 to start the first round of the tournament. In my first pod, I battled against the commanders Krenko, Mob Boss and Goreclaw, Terror of Qal Sisma. The Goreclaw deck was being piloted by my boyfriend, which was difficult because one of us would ultimately be eliminated. My commander was Yuriko, the Tiger’s Shadow. To my surprise, I won the pod, which was also bittersweet because I was under the assumption my boyfriend was no longer in the running for the Kozilek box topper.

Luckily, because of the odd number of competitors, there were two subsequent games set to determine who would get a “second chance” to fight in the championship pod.

My boyfriend won the “second chance” pod, and we both went on to compete in another round to determine who would ultimately compete in the championship pod. Ironically, we both won, which ended up putting us both into the championship pod and pitting us against each other.

Tensions were high during the championship pod, not only because I was facing my boyfriend, but because our third competitor had a triple-sleeved deck, complete with many masterpieces, dual lands, and Alpha and Beta cards ($$$$!). To top it all off, people wanted to watch us play, and we accumulated an audience. I was once again facing my boyfriend’s Goreclaw commander. The third competitor had two commanders– both with partner, Silas Renn, Seeker Adept and Thrasios, Triton Hero. I quickly found myself asking for rulings on the mechanic “partner.”

The match was intense and probably lasted close to an hour; however, I emerged victorious! The Kozilek box topper was mine.

I was very proud of myself, considering I did not expect much of myself as I entered the tournament. I was also proud to represent the female community of magic players and to make a public spectacle of my victory.

What I am digging in the Warhammer Universes

I am a really casual player… as beer and pretzels as they come. I would probably consider myself an assembler/converter first and a gamer a much distant third or fourth. I am happy with my approach to the hobby. I try not to get stressed out with all of the hobby stuff, it is supposed to be fun after all.

Games Workshop has created some amazing worlds between the realms in Age of Sigmar and the Universe in 40K. These two universes have me geeking out quite a bit recently. Let’s take a step back in time to set the mood.

About five years ago everything was stale and flavorless. Warhammer 40,000 was still on the precipice… as always… Space Marines continued to be the greatest of all things. Nothing was changing, the Emperor sat on his throne and the hive fleets never quite pushed into the galaxy and the Orks were always just beaten back and the Eldar were a dying race with the best tank, and the best models were produced by Forge World. In fantasy, no one was playing. The Old World was going on as normal and all the races fought and nothing much came of it. People had enormous armies and stopped buying new models. Games Workshop seemed stuck in a rut… they produced cool looking models at ridiculous prices and their CEO talked about GW as a luxury product with a luxury price. People were fleeing the hobby in droves.

Then something interesting happened. Games Workshop shook their heads out of their asses and blew up the Old World. They let the bad guys win and destroyed a setting they spent decades creating. It reminded me of when Steven King killing a bunch of characters in his epic The Stand. Kind would say he had written himself into a corner and needed to kill his characters in order to allow the story to progress. I believe GW did the same. They needed to create a new world for their fantasy setting and shake of the limits of the Old World in order to create a world in which they could really engage their customers with.

Then they brought the Primarchs back to 40k and brought the space marine chapters to the brink of extinction.

It has been glorious.

And now as a hobbyist I feel that both universes couldn’t be in a better place.

There are a few things that totally get me geeked out with the current setting. The increase in the detailed look at the weird stuff in the universe. Geller Pox infected showed us what can happen to humans who listen to the whispers of the warp and Rogue Traders give us a vision of the men and women who command the fleets in the universe, as well as showing us their unique men at arms. Men of Iron coming back to the fore and showing us that artificial intelligence is still out in the galaxy. The rebirth of the Daughter of Khaine into a force to be reckoned with in the realms. We are seeing the heralds of Slaanesh playing the harp of human flesh and beastmen have reemerged in every part of both universes (pestigors in Blood Bowl, beastman bounty hunter in Necromunda, Tzaangors, chaos beastmen in Black Stone Fortress). Throughout both ranges we have dynamic models that add range and depth to the universes. We are seeing far more female models weaved into the ranges, from the full armies (Daughter of Khaine) to the gangs in the underhive (Escher) and the female Van Saar models and Stormcasts to the Rogue Traders and Chaos Guardwomen in Blackstone Fortress. These additions are done without announcement or fanfare from Games Workshop but they all a level of depth to the universes they belong in.

Are these settings perfect? Of course not… there are some aspects that are difficult to engage with and are confusing. But that is for another blog post.

What are some of the things in AoS or 40K that have you excited?

The Bolter Hole Retail Store has officially opened for business.

Over the last week we have been bombarded with positive feedback and suggestions. The community in Bellingham has been incredibly supportive.

There are a bunch of things that have surprised me as well. I have been surprised by how many people have stopped by just to have a space to model and build and paint. We had set aside some space for people to sit and hang out, but I did not realize how important it would be for people to have a place to sit and hobby.

I have also been surprised by how immediate the response would be. While I have been thinking about running a store forever… there are so many day to day items that I did not think about: the volume of emails and messages, managing distributors, managing all of the social media (FB, Instagram, the website/blog). This is all before the ever increasing size of the to do list.

I say all of this to acknowledge that opening a store has been one of the greatest risks I have ever taken. There have only been a few times in my life that I have ever felt this excited and nervous at the same time… the birth of my daughter jumps out at me… and buying a house… but this business has so much potential to grow and do amazing things for the community. We are already starting to make plans for board game and Dungeons and Dragons nights, as well as bringing in additional games people have asked us to order.

It is all very exciting. If you get a chance, stop by 799 South Main Street in Bellingham MA, 02019 to say hello and check us out!

BolterCon is tomorrow!

I am pretty excited. Tomorrow marks the end of one journey and the beginning of another. Tomorrow the BolterCon occurs and it really marks the end of the “Preparations phase for The Bolter Hole.” I mean, so much has happened over the last few months as we have put all the pieces in place to open a retail store. The search for property was extremely daunting, from non-responsive realtors to property owners changing the price per square foot at the last minute to ridiculously high triple net prices… we were lucky to find a retail location at all. We ended up at a terrific location in Bellingham that boasts a Dunkins and a delicious pizza bar. One of the toughest parts of the early phases is just realizing how expensive it is to open a business in Massachusetts, fees and fees are piled up and I sometimes felt that we would never get off the ground. And please don’t ask about distributors or second hand dealers certificates… Gee Whiz! But here we are about 18 hours away from our mini-con with a location in place and a plan for a soft opening. So here we end the “getting started phase” and start the “open the doors to customers” phase.

Going forward from the event tomorrow we have solid plans to get our doors open as soon as possible to begin growing our gaming community. And truthfully, the growing starts tomorrow. We are excited to hold to BolterCon as an invitation to the future of our community. What you see tomorrow is just the first steps of what we hope will be a great adventure fulled with gaming, fun, and community. Ultimately, we want to make the store a reflection of the community, because ultimately, the community is the driving factor for the store. We want your gaming to be fun and comfortable, so The Bolter Hole will endeavor to be the best game store for the community. The BolterCon will kick off the first taste of many, regular events ranging from Warhammer Underworlds, Necromunda, KillTeam, Magic the Gathering, and many other games.

Let us know what you want and we will do everything we can to provide you with the product or experience you are looking for. Hopefully, we will see you tomorrow!