September 1, 2004

Great Hall Games

by Susan Rozmiarek

I’m very lucky in that the Austin area has a few great game stores. We’ve always been loyal customers of Dragon’s Lair and were very happy when they opened a second store very close to us in Round Rock. The store is clean and fairly well stocked, and the employees go out of their way to make you feel welcome. While we do a lot of our shopping online, Dragon’s Lair has gotten a sizable chunk of our family change over the years for supporting various family member’s addictions – comic books, D&D stuff, CCGs too numerous to mention, collectable “click” games and the odd game here or there. So, we’ve really never had a reason to seek out Great Hall Games, another area store with a good reputation, especially given its location in downtown Austin on the UT campus. That’s quite a long drive for us and parking is difficult.

It was with much interest that I recently learned that Great Hall Games had moved north out of their downtown location. Ed, the boys and I decided to check it out. After several trips around the parking lot of a drab little shopping center, we finally discovered it after almost giving up. They really need a bigger sign.

Well, color me impressed. This store is simply fabulous. It’s every thing I could possibly want in a brick and mortar store with the exception of low online prices. The store is neat and well organized, with definite sections. They have a big selection of German-style games, abstract and war games. There is section for ancient and traditional games with the largest selection of Go–related stuff I’ve ever seen. They have a huge section for chess, card games and supplies, miniatures and puzzles. But – there was not a comic book or “collectable” game to be found.

A great selection of merchandise is not enough, however. What sets Great Hall apart was a huge room full of tables to play on and shelves and shelves full of “demo” games for anyone to play anytime. It was truly incredible. Not only that, there were numerous puzzles out to play with. The owner (?) of the store was very friendly and made even my kids feel welcome. What a great place! Even though it is still a bit of a drive, I can assure you we’ll be returning. They host numerous weekly game events. And, with their somewhat different focus, I can still retain my loyalty to the equally deserving Dragon’s Lair.

Posted by Susan Rozmiarek at September 1, 2004 2:54 PM


Sigh. Great article - I really miss having local game stores like this. I've given up on purchasing locally because the online prices are so much lower. If any of the game stores in my area (Dallas) offered the sort of in-store gaming that you described, they would get more of my business. The draw of the brick-and-mortor store for me is to network with other gamers. I just haven't found anything like that in Dallas. Next time I make it to Austin, I'll have to check that place out.

Posted by: Jeff on September 1, 2004 3:22 PM

Thanks for the great review! A customer told us you had written about our store, so we just had to read it! Yes, Rob and I are the owners. Glad you like the store so much and we look forward to your coming back!


Posted by: Beka on September 9, 2004 1:26 PM

Nice review! I love Great Hall Games and looking through their demos. Another plus is that after 10 purchases you get 10% back in store credit. So it's like getting 10% off, which for me justifies buying local (despite tax and considering shipping and waiting time). Also they sell demo copies cheap sometimes on the sale table - I picked up Ra and Through the Desert and Modern Art that way. The game nights are fun, too. I showed up at Go night this week as a complete novice and was immediately taken under their wings. The only thing I don't care about is the wargame/miniatures but lots of guys seem to get into that. Anyway, thanks for writing about my favorite semi-local game shop!

Posted by: Betty on September 17, 2004 10:03 AM
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