I remember when I first saw Catan at Barnes and Noble and being amazed at seeing it outside of a game store. The store has come a long ways since then.
Back when I first started looking at designer games, there was only one game store that was even vaguely convenient for me to get to. (That was Games Plus in Mount Prospect, IL, in case you’re curious) And they were mostly focused on RPGs and wargames. (Their wall of lead miniatures was a thing of awe for me) When I first went, they had one table of board games. A table of wonder, since my only other options were online or cons.
They had quite a few more board games the last time I was there but the selection you can now find at Barnes and Noble is much larger than the best store I could find fifteen years ago. Although I have also seen game stores this year that had fewer games than Barnes and Noble.
I will say that I feel like I am seeing how board games are breaking further into the mainstream when I see the strategy shelf at Target. I feel like Barnes and Noble is where publishers are testing limits for the market. It has more of a boutique feel.
This time, what surprised me the most was seeing Perplext’s Pack o Game line. While I am a big fan, I was not expecting to those games at a non-game store. I hope this means Perpext is doing well since I’d like to see a third set get developed.
Barnes and Noble isn’t my choice for brick and mortar store but it is always educational.