We speak to Terry and Kev about this FLGS in the heart of Leicester, offering both great pizza and a great gaming space too.
Can you tell us a little bit about how the FLGS first got started?
Coming from a senior project management position in the corporate world, I really enjoyed my time where the whole family could ditch their screens and do something sociable together. Whilst playing a game one evening, I suddenly realised this could be a business opportunity. We scouted a number of locations before settling on our current location due to some of its unique features. I wanted to create more of a community feel to Bean Gaming where its more about bringing people together than a specific type of game system. That way we could consider ourselves as giving something back to the city.
What do you think makes your store unique?
A number of things really, our location is 100m from the centre of the city. We have a real passion for homemade food, we make our own pizza dough and cook them in our iconic pizza oven. We get really consistent feedback that our boardgame café is very welcoming and the staff are great.
What titles have you found most popular recently?
We’re seeing a large number of groups with six or more players, so we’ve been busy with the party type games such as Codenames, Spy Fall and Obama Llama. Plus, this year has been a big year for Pokémon, so we’ve seen our player numbers grow in store from age groups both young and old. We also always have Dungeons & Dragons going on. I’d confidently say we haven’t had a single day in the last two months where we haven’t had at least one group in playing. We’ve got in-house DMs that run games for beginners and experienced players alike, and two DMs that run games on Sundays specifically for kids. Mum and Dad get to sit to one side and enjoy a peaceful coffee whilst the kids hack and slash their way through dungeons full of goblins and gold.
What events do you run for the local gaming scene?
We’re lucky to have some really good groups that like to call us home, which include Pokémon meetups and pre-release events, Yu-Gi-Oh! official tournaments (and we recently ran a World Championship Regional Qualifier), X-Wing game nights and Organised Play events, with an annual ‘Invitational’ tournament against a FLGS in Coventry, D&D almost every night, and taster campaigns for a number of other RPGs including Vampire the Masquerade, Alien and Pathfinder.
What’s been your favourite part of running a FLGS?
For me it’s the part where families come in and are enjoying their visit aided by our game recommendation having taken them beyond what they’re expecting (usually Monopoly, Cluedo or Scrabble). But it’s when they come back next time, and will say “Last time we came, you suggested such and such a game, we really enjoyed that, what else can you recommend?”. Not only did that family try something different but they enjoyed it enough to come back and they respect that we know our games library well enough to suggest something for them again. Seeing other families get the enjoyment from games that I get with my own family is amazing.
What’re your plans for the future?
We want to grow. The whole hospitality sector struggled over the last eighteen months and we’re all still recovering as people gradually gain enough confidence to start returning. We’re at a stage now where we can start to look at some of our previous plans. We use about 50% of our potential gaming space. We want to increase this and develop our ability to do things like run larger tournaments with more players and have the capacity to offer space to more gaming groups.