Monday, September 26, 2016

A huge thanks to all of the retailers who participated in the 2016 Alliance Best of the Game Trade Awards!

We are so happy with quantity and quality of submissions this year. We look forward to seeing additional submissions next year. If you have any ideas for the next set of "Best of the Game Trade" award categories, please send your suggestion(s) in an email to Marketing Manager, Emily Eickhoff, eme (at) All category ideas are welcome!


As the front line of the gaming industry, local gaming stores have a valuable perspective as to what makes our industry grow and the Best of the Game Trade Awards exist to recognize exceptional performance and practices essential to operating a successful friendly local game store (FLGS) in today’s challenging retail landscape.

In addition to the appreciation and acclaim, the Best of the Game Trade Awards endeavor to further strengthen the sense of community between retailers and Alliance Game Distributors; we could not do what we do without all of the incredible things you do, and the Best of the Game Trade Awards is our way of acknowledging and encouraging your hard work, innovation, and perseverance.

The 2016 nominations were broken into categories and voted by peer retailer store owners online on the Retailer Services website. The five categories represented this year were: Best New Store Opening, Best In-Store Demo Program, Best Marketing and Merchandising Practices, Best Community Engagement, and Best Preorder Program. 

The Round Table - Guelph, Ontario, Canada

The Round Table is a new gaming experience focused on changing the way people play games by providing an enhanced atmosphere and themed snacks and drinks. Our interior is decorated like a medieval castle complete with a mounted dragon head and swords hung on the walls next to our many built in book shelves storing our library of over 300 demo games.  Any game available to play at the Round Table is also available for sale. This is a gaming café where you can eat fresh cooked lembas bread while our knowledgeable staff teaches you how to play any of the games in our library. Not only are we Guelph’s first board game café, we’re also fully licensed by the AGCO to serve specialty cocktails and spirits. Whether you’re hosting a private event or just dropping in, you’ll definitely be blown away by your gaming experience at The Round Table.

Little Shop of Magic - Las Vegas, NV

Organize play is the heart of our store. It is central to everything we do. Literally taking up the middle of our store as our sales track wraps around it.  With events scheduled nearly every day of the year, we have offerings for all types of tabletop games and every aspects of the hobby. We host Build and Paint Days, Learn to Play Sessions, Demos, League Play, Competitive Tournaments, Casual Tournaments, Meetups, Play Testing, Open Play, Thematic Nights, even

Holiday Celebrations, and Charity Events. We have something for everyone. Plus, there is usually space for a pickup game or two. Our open door policy, means we can work with our players to build the events they want. A wide variety of events keep things fresh and exciting. It is a regular flurry of cards, dice, meeples, and fun.

Rainy Day Games - Aloha, OR

Our Marketing and Merchandising Practices are driven by the most common questions we hear.

“What’s New?”
The first thing customers see when they enter the store is our New Releases Table. This ever-changing display showcases the newest arrivals and serves as a launching point for the shopping experience.

“What’s Coming?”
We make copies of Game Trade Magazine available to customers free of charge and encourage customers to pre-order product. This allows us to convert a customer’s excitement about an upcoming release into a sale.

The backlit signs from Alliance help answer the questions by drawing customer’s attention to upcoming releases, staff picks, as well as old favorites. We also utilize social media to answer these questions by posting photos of new releases and by promoting upcoming releases and events. We often hear, “I saw your post on Facebook and I had to come in and check it out.”

Rainy Day Games - Aloha, OR 

Without our local community we would not exist and like to thank the community in a variety of ways. We run fundraiser nights for school groups and local non-profits. At these events we donate a percentage sales to the organization and all the group needs to do is come in and play games. We also provide a meeting space for a variety of home-school and other local groups to meet and play games. For these events we provide the games and staffing to teach the games so all the clients have to do is have fun.

In order to support our local gaming community, we launched a twice monthly “Fresh Games” group for designers to get feedback on their latest prototypes. This group has had several games published and that led to our “Designer Series.” Customers love meeting and playing with the designers and getting their games autographed.

Little Shop of Magic - Las Vegas, NV

The elegance of our preorder programs is in just how simple it is. You tell us what you want; we take it from there. No hoops to jump through, no forms to fill out, and no checking back in for your items. You can talk to us in store, call us, email us, use our online chat, highlight a GTM or other periodical, Facebook us, Tweet us, write a post-it, text us, run into us at the grocery store, psychic mind link . . .  whatever works best for you. Plus, if you subscribe to our weekly newsletter, follow our social media, or check out instore notices; we do the work of letting you know what’s coming.

Only going to be in town a couple of days? No worries, we take requests from players the world over. Just let us know what you want and when you’ll be here. It's just that easy.

Have ideas for the next set of "Best of the Game Trade" award categories?
Please send your suggestion(s) to Marketing Manager, Emily Eickhoff, eme (at) All category ideas are welcome!