The Imperial Community
Imperial Comics & Games prides itself on being a leader in three areas, Cards. Comics. Community.
It sounds like a piece of marketing fluff, right? A motto thrown together with some catchy alliteration to present an image that connects with our customers. In this case that’s only partially true, it is the image we want the store to exude but that’s because these three things are truly at the heart of what we do. The Cards and Comics are pretty self explanatory but for me personally the Community is what makes Imperial Comics & Games special and allowed me to find and build friendships that, in some cases, go far beyond the four walls of our humble local game store.
In this article I hope to encourage you in taking your first steps to joining the Imperial Comics & Games community and ease any worries that those of you who might not be the most social butterflies have when it comes to getting involved in the fun and games the store has to offer.
I moved to North Carolina in March of 2020, and while everyone I met welcomed me warmly I still struggled to find my tribe. COVID was in full swing and outside of my wonderful wife and her friends and family, most of the time, I was lonely. Back home in Scotland I was a Dungeons and Dragons guy, a wrestling fan and a retired Yu-Gi-Oh player, it was people in those circles I spent my time with, but here in North Carolina I struggled to meet people who shared those interests. While living in Gastonia I found out that Digimon, a franchise I loved as a child but had lost my connection with over the years, was releasing a new version of their card game. I had some of the original cards in my childhood but never knew how to play the game and as my TCG itch hadn’t been scratched in almost 5 years by this point I was excited by the prospect of diving into a new game from jump street. My wife Chrissie and I got the early release, started battling it out and immediately fell in love with the game. Everything including the artwork, card design and strategy popped and as the months rolled on we found ourselves looking for a local games store to participate in frequent games of competitive Digimon.
It was at that time we moved from Gastonia to Shelby and after travelling to and from Gastonia, and even out of State to play for a while, one day I posted in a Digimon Facebook group looking for players closer to home. The responses came in and eventually, as COVID restrictions eased, my wife and I arranged to meet up with some local players at Imperial Comics & Games for our first ever games together. That was the day my life changed. The people I met that day were some of the kindest and most welcoming I could have ever hoped to meet. From the moment we got together it was like hanging out with old friends, the connection was instant. Not only that but the staff at the store were friendly and helpful, they seemed excited about the products they carried and the community that patronized their establishment. If I wanted to know about upcoming sets they found out, if I wanted to rant about my day they listened and more importantly they took an interest in what motivated me to play and what was going on in my life. Soon enough it wasn’t only the staff and people involved in the Digimon community who I found as familiar and reassuring faces to see on every visit I had to the store, players from HeroClix and Magic The Gathering, Yu-Gi-Oh and Dragon Ball Super were all enthusiastic to see me and invite me to come and take part in their chosen games. It was unbelievable the level of openness and kindness that the Imperial Comics & Games community showed me, it was a stand out experience that very few Local Game Stores manage to capture. Now I work with the store, have had friends that I met there involved in our Christmas celebrations and travelled many roads with the people I am so blessed to call family. My best friends.
So that’s why I chose to write this as my first article, because the Community in Cards. Comics. Community really does stand tall for me as one of the premier draws of Imperial Comics & Games and I want all of you to experience that feeling too. If you’re looking for a place to call home, if you’re trying to find your tribe and people that you connect with on your level, then this is the place for you. We can’t wait to welcome you with open arms.