A customer entering Fat Ogre Games & Comics any night of the week will not only discover hundreds of comics, games and novelty items nestled among the shop’s shelves, but could also step into a diverse, passionate community of gamers engrossed in a tournament steeped in fantasy and fun.
“There is no more nerd stereotype,” owner Rob Meerscheidt said. “I’ve got entire high school football teams that play Dungeons & Dragons. College kids galore during the summer show up to play Magic: The Gathering. Doctors, lawyers and engineers [play] war games, plus read comics.”
Offering comics and tabletop games, Meerscheidt opened Fat Ogre in May 2007 at its first location on Sawdust Road. The store moved to the much larger 4,000-square-foot location about a mile east on Sawdust Road about 10 months ago and has begun re-establishing business after the relocation, he said
“It’s a much busier location,” he said. “We get a lot more families in here now, and it’s a lot more spacious. The product is spread out better, and it’s a lot more friendly shopping environment.”
Meerscheidt was the director of an information technology department for an oil spill cleanup company before opening the store. He developed an interest in role-playing books shortly before opening Fat Ogre, which made him realize the need for the business in the area.
“I kind of got a little bit addicted to buying the books and eventually [book stores] started not having things that I wanted,” he said.
The store showcases a variety of miniature war games, including Warhammer 40,000 and Warhammer Fantasy; World War II-based games, such as Bolt Action and Flames of War; science fiction games, such as War Machine; and pre-painted miniatures, such as Hero Clix.
Several tabletops are available for those looking to play in tournaments, complete with miniature terrain, buildings and vegetation. Meerscheidt said games can included as few as two people, while tournaments can range from six to 40 players.
Fat Ogre also features role-playing games, such as Dungeons & Dragons and Star Wars, as well as collectible card games, such as Magic: The Gathering and Yu-Gi-Oh, which attract tournaments every week. Meerscheidt said miniature, role-playing and card games provide more of a social gaming atmosphere and more re-playability than video games.
“I guess kids can get into them more, and I see a few here and there, but we lightheartedly call these the ‘big boy toys,'” Meerscheidt said. “This is where dad tells momma he’s going to the hardware store, and he’s here for three-and-a-half hours.”
However, Meerscheidt does not solely focus on games, and he said his store offers a wide array of comics, including Marvel, DC, Image, Darkhouse, IDW and even some independent comics. The shop also sells graphic novels, toys, board games and novelty items, including TV brands, such as Doctor Who, Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead.
Meerscheidt said most of his merchandise and comics are new or only a few years old, unlike many aftermarket stores, which sell decades-old comic books and collectibles. He said he hopes to expand to a second location in the future and believes the store’s customer service sets it apart from the competition.
“When we get new people in here who don’t know what this stuff is, we make them feel at home,” he said. “We make them feel like, ‘Hey, this is something that’s cool; I could get into this,’ without overwhelming them.”
- Monday: Hero Clix tournament — 6 p.m.
- Tuesday–Wednesday: Board Game Groups – All day
- Thursday: Magic the Gathering Draft — 6:30 p.m.
- Friday: Friday Night Magic — 6:30 p.m.
- Saturday: Miniature war gaming tournaments — Alternating each week between different games
Fat Ogre Games & Comics, 525 Sawdust Road, Ste. 101, The Woodlands, 281-292-8444, www.fatogre.com
Hours: Sun. 11 a.m.—7 p.m., Mon.—Thu. 11 a.m.—9 p.m., Fri. 11 a.m.—10 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.—10 p.m.