Daily Illuminator

January 29, 2011: International Store Of The Month: Sentry Box

Sentry Box, view from the balcony Sentry Box, exterior Since the Steve Jackson Games Multiversal Headquarters is located in Austin, Texas, the hobby game stores we see most often are domestic. So let's take a moment to recognize an outstanding game retailer outside the borders of the USA: Canada's Sentry Box.

Sentry Box opened in 1980 with a bare-bones shop selling mostly D&D. Wargames and science fiction paperbacks were early additions, and after a couple of moves, they settled down about 15 years ago at their current location.

Sentry Box today covers a wide spectrum of gaming in its 13,000 square feet, from board and card games, to a selection of fiction and anime to miniatures, from 15mm Napoleonics to the crazy steam-powered mechs. Their motto is "If it's in print, we'll try to stock it." And although today's flood of games makes it challenging, the shelves are well-stocked with releases both new and old.

One of the most attractive things about Sentry Box is their selection of out-of-print material -- games that were hard to find when they were new, and are now the stuff grognards like me search for. Digging through the neatly organized shelves is both a trip down memory lane and an extremely dangerous-to-the-pocketbook experience.

The gaming space is equally impressive. From the tables on the balcony overlooking the main shopping floor to the side rooms, there are around 2,000 square feet of play area. They host tournaments, informal game days, and gaming groups regularly -- check out their events page!

If you're a gamer in Calgary, you probably already know about Sentry Box. If you're traveling through Alberta, stop in and take a look around. (Next year the new station for the C train will be finished, and the store will only be a block off the line, so you'll have even fewer excuses for not finding it.)

If you're outside the United States and have a retailer you feel is extraordinary, drop me a note at paul@sjgames.com.

-- Paul Chapman


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