Last weekend there was a gaming convention in the city where I live, and my husband and I decided we would go check it out. We got a babysitter, and were all set, but during the planning process we realized it was WAY too expensive for us to attend. Just getting in the door for a day was so expensive my husband and I could spend an entire day out, go for two meals together, and buy an item each at a local game store on the same amount of money. Needless to say, a day out with my husband won easily. Recently, we had heard that a man at local flea market was selling a bunch of pre-painted plastic miniatures, so this sounded like a perfect opportunity to check it out. To make it even better, a local game store that actually carries d20 products is just down the street. Perfect!
So, while out children were pleasantly distracted by the arrival of their grandmother, we packed ourselves up for a hot, hot, HOT day riding buses and crossing the city to go shopping for nerd stuff.
First stop? Well, honestly it was to the 7-11 behind my house for a slurpee and a coffee, but after that, the first REAL stop was on the edge of Osborne Village in wonderful Winnipeg, Manitoba! There you’ll find a relatively nice indoor flea market (as far as flea markets go) on the corner of Osborne and Mulvey. The entrance is on the back of the building, bordering the Red River, and there’s ample parking. Here at Mulvey Flea Market we went inside and started scrounging around.
Now, we had no idea WHICH guy in the building was selling miniatures, so it was going to be a bit of an adventure. In addition, I have horrible dust allergies, so being in a flea market for too long makes me feel ill, so we were on a bit of a timer. Still, how hard could it be, right?
To my surprise there were a lot of places selling toys my kids might like, games and game products, so it was harder than I assumed it would be. I ended up finding my son a challenging Skylanders puzzle while we searched around, and got my daughter three nice Pokemon toys for a few dollars total. A lovely little deal. Of course, I was supposed to be out spoiling myself, and none of those things were for me, but hey! It was a nice treat for my wonderful little munchkins. While I was digging through a bucket of Pokemon, my husband ended up finding the man selling the minis. It was one of the last places we passed by, and he had a few on display in a glass case. Some of the big impressive looking ones, you know? A dragon, a wicked looking undead, and a burly bug monster. Not much! But, when we asked what else he had, it turns out he had a LOT.
Now, keep in mind, I was expecting a moderately sized cardboard box full of minis that I’d have to dig through, sold by someone who had no idea what they were worth, and would hopefully let me scrounge a bunch for ten bucks.
This man was not a player of d20 games so, I suppose, in that sense he didn’t know what he was talking about, but he’d done his research. The minis were clean and well cared for, and were stored in little plastic baggies that had all of one type of mini inside of it. Each bag was labelled with a price, so you knew exactly how much one of them would cost and you didn’t have to dig through to find multiples. It was very well-organized, actually. The baggies were stored in nice plastic stacking buckets–the thin kind, not big deep things, so it was easy to pull one out and gawk through them. The man didn’t mind that we covered his counter with minis only to sort through and narrow them down at the end. He encouraged it, actually, and was super nice.
We weren’t on the hunt for big, flashy, pricey miniatures. As awesome as it is to find a new frost giant, or a epic looking black dragon, I find that I get much more use out of smaller and understated minis. Those simple staples like skeletons, zombies, goblins and wolves. Humanoids of all kinds–especially if they can pose as both guards, shady types, or bandits. And PC minis. Ones that make you go: damn, I want to make THAT.
In the end, we did pick up two large sized minis: a Nessian Warhound which can double as any large ferocious looking dog. Considering how often we come across wolves, dire wolves, and barghest in adventures, we knew this guy was going to get a ton of use, plus he was a steal of a deal. Way cheaper than any of the actual wolf or dog minis. The second is a Greenspawn Razorfiend. It looks sort of like a green dragon mixed with a grasshopper. Very cool! Plus, once again, the price was right. Easily able to be any kind of large draconic creature from dragons and wyverns, as well as a good substitute for any large sized dinosaurs, it’s actually quite versatile. Everything else we picked up was medium or small humanoids. Now, there were a TON of cool ones. My particular favourite was Raistlin from Dragonlance, and that Archmage with the black robes and rainbow cloak which came right out of the Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook: Core Rulebook v.3.5. But, alas! Both were far more expensive than I wanted to spend. Haha. It was tough to narrow down the humanoids. We had a massive pile of them on the counter to go through, so we really had to prioritize. What did I need most?
- Minis that would immediately see use as our already created characters
- Small minis that you actually wanted to play as (I have plenty of small minis, but they’re all very shifty, nondescript halflings)
- Minis that are versatile enough to be used asallies, enemies, guards, thugs and bandits. Preferably ones that can be all of those things.
I’m not sure why I have such a lack of female miniatures, but I can honestly say that from among my entire collection (of plastic minis), I probably have… 5% that are female. Yeah! Not many! Especially when you take into account that at least half of the characters made in my household are female. Needless to say, my daughter and I usually dip into my pawn collection for miniatures!
The first thing we picked up was a delightful little Kuo-Toa Hunter which my son could immediately use as a grippli miniature for his character Hopwil, in our Carrion Crown (Book 1: Haunting of Harrowstone) playthrough. Sure, it was bigger than a grippli (it’s medium, while they’re small), but its quite cute, and I can assure you it’s WAY better than what he’s using now! Haha. Next we chose three halflings: one male warrior (soldier of bytopia), one female which my daughter’s going to use immediately (Halfling Enchanter), and one male that could be played as either (Halfling Wizard). With some strong suggestions from my husband we picked out five amazing dwarf miniatures, none of which I had seen before. One is a wicked female fighter (Dwarf Sergeant), one is a male warrior which could also be used as a female and has an awesome helmet that the Shredder would be jealous of (Dwarf Mercenary), The last three were all male dwarves: two warriors and a spellcaster (Warpriest of Moradin, Dwarf Warrior, and the Dwarf Wizard, which was my husband’s favourite. We also picked up am amazing pirate mini called a Cloudreaver which look so cool. Just… Awesome. My favourite mini was the Steelheart Archer, a female warrior with short hair, wicked armour, a big sword and a bow. She looks superb. In fact, the moment I saw it I exclaimed: “I don’t care what else we have on that counter, this one is my favourite!”
The last mini we purchased was a bit of a splurge. It was more than I wanted to pay, but it was a really nice guardian mummy. Considering we’re currently playing the Mummy’s Mask (Book 1 – The Half-Dead City) Adventure Path, I can guarantee he’ll see more than his fair share of use. Unsurprisingly, that campaign has mummies. Lots of them.
And that’s it! Or was it?
The prices were much more than I was expecting, but they were fair prices. Much cheaper than you’ll find on Canadian Amazon. Clearly, he had done some good price checking. So, although I wouldn’t get a steal of a deal, the minis were fairly priced, well organized, and there was a very large selection. Better than most (all but one, if I’m being completely honest) of the local game shops in Winnipeg. In addition, he told us that if we were getting more than a couple he’d give a discount on all the labelled prices, and he was not kidding. At the end we paid maybe 2/3 of what they were labelled as. He also gave us an extra mini as a gift–of a pricey female elf that we knew my daughter would love but couldn’t afford. THIS was our real, last mini. The beautiful Evermeet Wizard, which made her day.
So, although we well overspent our budget (which was ten bucks, haha), we actually got a really, really good deal. The owner was very nice, and welcoming, and all the product was great quality. Honestly, it was a great place to go.
So, if you happen to be in Winnipeg, and you happen to like d20 games, definitely stop by the Mulvey Flea Market and scrounge around for this guy’s booth. It’s well worth the effort!
When we left the flea market with our purchases in hand–actually, I shoved it in my backpack with my puzzle and Pokemon toys–we went for a walk down Osborne to GameKnight Games and Cool Stuff. Seriously, that’s its name. A mouthful, I know, but its the best place in the city to browse d20 books. In addition, they have a TON of other games.
It took a while to get there, fifteen minutes or so in the heat and sun, but it was a nice walk. Until we got there and read the sign on the door that said they had moved.
Luckily, it was still on Osborne!
Back the way we had come. Haha. It was across the street and maybe a minute down the road from the flea market.
So we crossed the street and walked back that way, until we found the place. And WOW, moving was a great idea! The space is much bigger than their old one–really, really, big, actually. It’s no longer crowded or cluttered. You can move around easily. There’s a lot of room to expand and carry more product. They have a vast area for unpainted minis and paints, another big area for card singles, and associated products, and a nice open gaming area behind which is an awesome mural that looks like you’re in a medieval or fantasy marketplace. It’s actually awesome! I’m so glad we popped in!
While my husband gawked around the store and went exploring, I dove into the d20 books. I was sorely tempted to pick up Hell’s Vengeance: Book 4: For Queen & Empire, which I don’t own. Or perhaps pick up the Pathfinder Pawns: Hell’s Vengeance Collection,both of which were in stock and on sale for a good price. But, how could I say no to the start of the War for the Crown Adventure Path?! War for the Crown: Book 1: Crownfall looks so amazing! They also had the Bestiary 6 Pawn Box, which I would LOVE to get my hands on and I know would see a lot of use. But, when it came down to it, I ended up deciding on the Starfinder Pawns: Alien Archive Pawn Box. I don’t have many Starfinder minis, and there are just so many cool playable races inside–many of which my family and I are already creating characters with–that I knew it would see immediate play.
With that in hand I set about browsing the other games and found something I knew she’d love. A boardgame called Bunny Kingdom Strategy Board Game. It’s a complicated looking game, but she learned how to play the Starfinder Roleplaying Game in a weekend, so I think she can handle it. She ADORES board games. Plus, it’s got rabbits. And, as I’m sure everyone reading knows by now, she’s positively obsessed with rabbits. She even created her own race for Pathfinder, the Rabbitfolk. And the first Starfinder monster she created? Galactic Rabbits. She has a few awesome rabbit board games at home already, including the card game Bad Bunnies, two wonderful puzzle games: Carrots and Jump-In, and a kids game called Jumping Jack. She plays them all the time, and frankly, I could use a new one to play with her. Unfortunately, I had no excuse to purchase her a new, expensive board game. But, I showed it to my husband and we decided to pick it up for her anyway. I’ve hidden it in my closet until the next gift-giving holiday comes. She’ll get it for Christmas, at the latest. Haha. Maybe for an end of the school-year treat. She’s going to love it.
As we were waiting in line, my husband picked up some new dice (clear and quite snazzy looking) and passed me a Pathfinder Battles: Heroes & Monsters Booster pack, which is a single random mini. It’s quite pricey in my opinion, at $4.49 Canadian retail, but we’d never picked one up before, and we wanted to see what the quality was like. The mini we got inside is quite sturdy (stronger than most of the Pathfinder Battles medium humanoid miniatures, but not as sturdy as the old Dungeons and Dragons ones by Wizards of the Coast). It looks awesome, too! We got the half-elf cleric, which is a short haired female warrior, holding a holy symbol and a longsword. She’s got practical looking armour, with a red tabard overtop emblazoned with Iomedae’s holy symbol. It’s a versatile looking mini. She can be a cleric, paladin, warpriest, knight, or occultist. She’s make an awesome knight, or guard, and the symbol is generic enough that is could be a knight’s heraldry, or a sigil of a town or mercenary company. She’s very cool. And, even though it’s still more expensive than I’d like, it was a nice treat.
While I paid my husband oohed and aahed over some absurdly expensive dice made of semi-precious stones. Needless to say, the opal dice set was not in the cards, haha. And, although the ‘Gnomish Copper’ polyhedral dice set by Norse Foundry was a much more achievable price, it’s still not coming home with us. Nope. No way. But wow, they looked neat!
So, with our day of splurging behind us we headed home to have dinner with our family, and to finally get around to watching The Black Panther (blu-ray) movie (which was awesome!).
Later that day we got to open my Alien Archive box, which was a blast. There were a ton of cool minis, a lot of which we’ll use right away. Dragonkin, ikeshti, space goblins, skittermander and sarcesians will all immediately see play as some of our player characters. My son was particularly fond of the elementals, the wrikreechee, and the novaspawn. My daughter loved the electrovore, the apart constituent, and the anacite wingbot. My personal favourites? The blue dragon, the crest eater, and the drow! So cool! Now I just need to find room for them in my house…
Maybe we’ll have another splurge day. In like… a year or two. Haha.