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Whistle Stop Toys, Port Townsend, Washington

IMG_0834Part of my vacation to the Olympic peninsula was geared to stopping in to some of the local game stores and telling our readers about them. This way, if they found themselves in the area, they knew where to go to get their gaming fix.

Our first stop was in Port Townsend, Washington. Port Townsend is one of the neatest towns anywhere. It is artsy, full of coffee shops (it is Washington after all) and sits right on Discovery Bay. The piers are wonderful and the sites of ships coming and going add to the charm.

We parked at the local strip mall-type building that housed a Mercantile, coffee shop, Chinese eatery, and a Cannabis shop, and headed out on foot. We had an idea of where we wanted to go first but wasn’t exactly sure where it was located on downtown. Turns out, we were less than a block away.

Whistle Stop Toys opened in December 2010 – Christmas Eve, to be accurate. The shop specializes in toys from around the world. They also carry a limited supply of board games and card games. Now, the kid in me was thrilled to see all the colorful boxes and toys, but I had a purpose for being there. According to the information I found about this place, they played and sold Magic: The Gathering here.

I learned of Whistle Stop Toys on the Facebook group for the Northwest Region of Magic Judges. The post I saw asked who would be judging a tournament being held at the store.

Upon walking in to the store you are welcomed by all sorts of toys. The first thing to jump out at me was the selection of Lego sets. My wife, mother-in-law, and two teenage sons browsed the store while I made my way to the front. I wanted to see what they had for Magic singles.

It took me no time at all to find the display cases containing what I sought. I looked through the two small cases not seeing anything I was looking for. To be fair, I am not currently looking for anything with the exception of new cards coming out of Shadows Over Innistrad, so my looking was more just to see what they had to offer.

The two cases held some great cards. I saw choice foils (anyone looking for an Expedition Scalding Tarn?) and a healthy selection of Modern and Standard goodies. The cases were extremely clean and everything was displayed nicely and clearly priced.

Behind the counter stood the owner, Steve. I introduced myself to him and struck up a conversation. Steve was happy to engage me in chatter.

According to Steve they run PPTQs, Pre-Releases, and FNMs. They also have casual play. Considering the size of the store (there isn’t a whole lot of room in the shop) I was puzzled by where they would play. Steve smiled and said they played upstairs. Steve said they have room for about 50 players up there. Nice, very nice.

Steve mentioned the PPTQ they just had, saying they had 14 players attend. Of those in attendance were some players who made the trek over from Seattle. Steve suspected the Seattle players came to Port Townsend looking for an easy score. Sounds like the joke was on them though.

We chatted some more about what types events are the most popular at Whistle Stop Toys. Steve said Modern is the most popular with Commander gaining a lot of momentum. The same is true where I live.

Steve did say he does schedule Legacy FNMs right before pre-releases, too. He said FNM right before a pre-releases isn’t always the best attended so that’s why they do Legacy.

Of course, he can’t mention Legacy without getting my interests up so I have to ask him about the caliber of the Legacy decks around there. According to Steve they are top-notch. He even said there are some of the players that can field Vintage decks without proxies. That’s a sight I would love to see.

Steve had a customer come in and he was quick to help her out. She was looking at buying some Pokémon stuff and had a few questions for her. I took the opportunity to look around the store a little more.

Again, the space in the store is pretty tight. With Port Townsend being such a tourist town I would imagine downtown real estate is not too cheap and I think Steve is doing the best with what he has. Unlike many gaming stores, Whistle Stop Toys does not overwhelm you with the smell of body odor. Steve keeps his shop tidy. I can appreciate that.

As the customer leaves I resume my conversation with Steve. We chat about the new set coming out and how we are both looking forward to it. Steve said he doesn’t currently have a Standard deck but thinks that will change with the new set. I mention I was fielding Four Color Rally but had recently tore it down. I said I enjoyed the deck but it was the type of deck that said to your opponent, “you sit there and I will play Magic.” Much like Legacy Miracles.

I told Steve I enjoy my Legacy Miracles deck but my opponents didn’t. So why play something like that, I asked.

Steve response was great. Win. You play something like that to win. Steve has a Miracles deck. I like Steve.

I needed to get going and felt like I had bothered Steve log enough. I thanked him for his time and headed out the door.

Whistle Stop Toys is a great store in downtown Port Townsend. It is colorful, clean and has great customer service. If you are into toys and games (I do wish they carried a more eclectic supply of board games) this is a nice stop while you stroll through downtown. If you are a Magic player and find yourself in town on a Friday night, come on down and enjoy the fun.

Patrick Cossel is the publisher of The Forge Herald. He can be reached at pcossel@gmail.com

© 2016, Patrick Cossel. All rights reserved.

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About Patrick Cossel,

I am a journalist and gaming enthusiast.

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