I could say a lot about The Wicked Goblin. It's an FLGS success in a tropical, coastal country city. It's well lit, well appointed and well decorated, with plenty of natural light. Its owner-operators and staff are all cool, outgoing people. Thanks to a relocation late last year, it now offers even more table space for gamers to try the store's open box selection or the games they've just splurged on.
But I go for the community that the place fosters. There may be Games Workshop, an EB Games and Zing franchises in town, but thanks to all the hard work Mick and Steph Archer put in, The Wicked Goblin feels like a place where it's safe to just come hang out without any pressure to Buy Stuff. While Mick, the Goblin's co-owner and primary game fan/counter monkey, may recognise that people feeling good about being in his store makes them more inclined to buy, he's no business cynic. He loves his product and his store at least as much as his guests and customers do and will demo a game for you at the drop of a hat. Even in its smaller initial location, Mick made sure to give at least half his floor space over to gaming and painting tables.
It's that love and enthusiasm that made The Wicked Goblin the de facto home for Cairns' main board gaming community pretty much from when the store opened. Cairns Boardgamers had had to struggle with short hours and noise restrictions at library venues; now, I can catch up with my friends in the group who are almost always about in force on Thursdays and Saturdays almost from open to close. On other days, I can find Magic, Yu-Gi-Oh, Star Wars: Destiny, Netrunner, Warhammer, WarMachine/Hordes and Infinity players raring to go.
It certainly doesn't hurt that Mick and Steph have given us more reason to stick around by expanding the shop's array of personal nourishment products into fresh coffees and biscuits from local producers!
Finally, there's the fact that the Goblin is right in the middle of Cairns, which gives people around the area, who are notorious for seeing any car trip of over twenty minutes one way as too long a hike, a place to congregate.
The Wicked Goblin really is the home away from home for Cairns' tabletop gaming fans, and that's why I go.
That, and the exercise. The Archers quite literally levelled his business up when it moved. Check the flight of stairs out!