When I heard that a hobby and game store was opening in Bellevue, I pursed my eyes. Bellevue has a sort of sterile quality that affects many of its shops, and I’d expected that to wash over its new store. But let’s get the TL;DR right off the bat: Mox Boarding House has become my home store for Infinity.
Apologies in advance for shoddy photos—they’re all phone cam, and I was shaking with hunger when I entered…
Every time I walk into this place, it feels simultaneously like climbing into a limousine and plopping down on my friend’s couch. Games line every wall like a Harry Potter wand shop, and employees are always running around with an equal appearance of friendliness, confusion, hard work and laid backness. It’s an incredibly good vibe that I wish more stores—more retailers of every kind—could emulate.
I’m always happy to see employees like Joe and Frank, even if I confuse their names—and I wish they got paid time to play Infinity with us.
Might just be good staff, but whatever is going on there, it works. Sure, there’s the occasional guy who looks like he’d rather be schmoozing gals or playing videogames—yet there’s none of the soul-sucking torpor so typical to retailers.
Clearly the community feels similarly—people of literally (yes, literally) all ages frequent the store. There are always little boys peeking their noses over the wargaming table, ogling our little sci-fi men and asking ice cream parlor questions, while mum, dad, big brother or grandma is minutes away with a verbal leash. Never any harm, of course. I felt like Mr Ray in Finding Nemo tonight, walking around a triad of chirpy kids and explaining how models are assembled and painted…
I don’t frequent the tournament tables often, but in the back a generously spacious room with a proper score chandelier ruling in the center. A long hallway leads from the tournament table room to the restrooms, restaurant, and eventually back to the lobby.
Oh, I mentioned a restaurant? Not only that—a bar, too! To prevent the 21 & older problem in American restaurants, alcohol imbibers like myself are not allowed to take party drinks about the store. You are openly welcomed to take (good!) food and soft drinks, however, all throughout the store.
If you want a tête-à-tête card game, or to take a break and paint, the room pictured below adjoins the wargaming room, and is roughly centered in the store. Many brands of paints are available to sell, and I thank the gods of the store for putting a trash can in here, because I walk through this place all the time with food trash still in my hands.
Kris, the house event coordinator and best kind of geekdom enthusiast, is usually seen here quickly answering questions or off to start new ones.
This room—I don’t know how I didn’t find it sooner. It’s the damn secret-wizard-Byzantine-library-gentleman-cigar-room. I’ve been to Mox a half dozen times or more now, and I can’t believe how couture it feels back in there. The picture hardly does it justice: The room measurably quieter than the outer restaurant—which is noisy in a good boisterous way, but—the aesthetics, with woodwork and alchemical jars and decals and bookshelves that literally pile into the ceiling…
Get outta here. Too cool in a too cool store. Corner to corner, Mox has this gold, black, mahogany wash that’s ritzy and homey and great.
A wibbly-wobbly 360° GIF may help to get final bearings as I go into the rating:
Mox is clean. Like, incredibly Bellevue clean. I feel bad putting my coat down, everything’s so tidy. High standards of living here in Bellevue mean you can be pretty cavalier about leaving stuff around, as nobody would steal your toys…
Mox’s staff are certainly knowledgeable and happy to help, but they do tend to back off uniformly once you get your games going. I would actually enjoy if they were more chatty in general, but I do also respect their respect.
Oh, there’s certainly a competitive spirit at Mox. But there is a nicer, we’re-all-just-people-who-love-games spirit, and I think the better.
Everybody’s friendly. The employees, waitresses, supervisors and customers. Mox is very professional, but there’s a very welcoming vibe I can’t pin any of my fingers on that, again, I wish was everywhere. But, I do bias in favor erringly polite than brusquely business.
Overall, with excellent service, great store selection, the built-in restaurant, and flawless presentation, I have much to praise at Mox. But most important of all, do they support the Infinity community?