July 1st is almost upon us, and with it comes Redcap’s return to in-store gaming, but I wanted to provide an update on the timing, process, and restrictions, for those interested.
First of all, let’s talk about our front door. Ever since we moved to our current location, that door has been frustratingly inaccessible to many people because it sits 25″ off the ground above a small set of stairs, with no ramp. This has been a huge problem, but the solution has been surprisingly elusive and has always threatened to be ludicrously expensive. Since day one, I’ve been trying to solve the main issue of how to build a ramp that can satisfy all codes and requirements, but I’m not an architect or contractor, so it’s been slow-going. I’ve been actively pursuing the logistics of implementing that solution for nearly a year now and we submitted plans to L&I back in March, so I felt pretty confident–when we announced the return of in-store play in May–that we’d have the ramp built well before July 1st. It’s now June 22nd and we still don’t have a permit in hand, so it now looks very, very unlikely we’ll have an entrance ramp before July 1st. Here’s what that means:
- We will need to close for 3 to 5 days, probably some time in July. During this time, we’ll have curbside pick-up available, but will not be allowing customers inside during construction. This may result in one or more of our July events being cancelled, but we’ll know more when we have a permit and a construction schedule. Our hope is that construction will have completed each day before our event begins, and that our entrance will be safe enough to permit customer entry for events in the evenings, but we just don’t know yet. We will, of course, refund entry paid for any event that ends up being cancelled.
- Our downstairs play area will not be opening July 1st. We have a separate construction project that needs to be completed before we can re-open the downstairs, but the only reasonable time to engage in that construction project is during ramp construction, when the store will already be closed. We’ll keep everyone updated when we know more about the timing of ramp construction, but re-opening of our downstairs event space will be delayed by a week or more, pending ramp construction. Our hope is that this will not delay our first scheduled downstairs event, intended for July 31st.
So, that’s the bad news, but there’s plenty of good news too. First of all, our hours are being extended to 10:30 pm every day except Sunday, beginning July 1st. But, just as excitingly, we have brand new tables upstairs, and they’ll be joined by brand new chairs in early August. Most of the new tables are going to feel very familiar (but in better repair), but some of our new tables are round, and we’ll be breaking down the rectangular tables and replacing them with round ones as appropriate. This will mean roleplaying events will fit much more comfortably and efficiently in our space, and some amount of drafting and board gaming will likely be able to take place on round tables as well. The new chairs won’t be available until August, but they will be much sturdier and more comfortable, rated for 1000 pounds each, and stackable rather than foldable to keep them in better repair. We have some other upcoming improvements, but I don’t want to swear to the timing or details yet. I will say that one of them involves continuing to facilitate online play… as part of our in-store events, just for those who want it.
As for how we’re facilitating our in-store play, the most important thing to keep in mind is that we are still going to be requiring masks for the time-being, but we’re also going to require proof of COVID-19 vaccination to play in any event. This is out of an abundance of caution, and we will continue to evaluate the need for these policies week-by-week, but please assume that these requirements are in-place until you read otherwise on our website, our social media, or on a flyer posted on our front door. The next most important thing to note is that we are not yet allowing off-calendar play upstairs. If our calendar says we’re running a Modern Magic tournament, that is the only play that we’ll be allowing at that time. Our rooms are not open to casual elective play yet, though we definitely intend to return to that model eventually. Finally, I want to stress that our upstairs events are going to be limited to 32 players at a time, and we’re strongly encouraging advance sign-ups for all events, even if they’re free. This is a significant limitation on the number of people we can allow at a time, so it’s entirely possible that some events will completely sell out. If you’re sure you want to attend, it’s a really good idea to guarantee your spot ahead of time.
When we’re able to resume it, downstairs play will work a little differently. We’ll occasionally have structured special events on weekends, but our downstairs play area will be limited 8 players at a time, so space will usually be available by reservation, rather than by calendar event. We will have an online reservation system in place that we’ll roll out when we know for sure how soon downstairs play can resume. We will not be charging a fee for reservations unless we see widespread failure to show up for them, but our suspicion is that with such a limited number of spots, reservation by the game will be a better use of the space than generalized “40K Night”, “Infinity Night”, etc.
I hope that clears up any confusion and answers any questions you might have! Remember, this is just the beginning of the process. We definitely intend to return to full use of our play areas, and a more robust calendar of events, hopefully as soon as the fall, but we will slow-roll as much as is necessary to keep everybody safe. Thanks for all your support!