TICONDEROGA-Gamers have a new place to call home. Off The Top Games has opened at 84 Montcalm St. in Ticonderoga.
"It's not just a store," owner Steve Sprouse said. "It's a place to go."
Off The Top Games sells and trades collectible card games, graphic novels, comics and video games. But it does more than that - its a home for those interested in games and competition.
The shop hosts Pokemon Leagues every Wednesday 5 to 6:45 p.m. and Sundays 2 to 4 p.m.
It also hosts a Magic The Gathering Tournament every Friday at 6 p.m. and Booster Drafts on Saturdays 1 to 7 p.m.
Off The Top Games offers "Learn to Play" every day for free, which includes demonstrations and teaches new players of all ages how to play Magic and Pokemon.
Sprouse said the games, which are popular with teens and young adults, are educational.
"They're almost like chess," he explained. "They require math, verbal skills and strategy. There's a lot of thinking involved."
Spouse operated a similar store in New Bedford, Mass., for a decade before selling it and moving to the North Country.
"I felt burned out and sold the store," he said. "Now I realize I miss it, so here I am again doing it all over."
The store opened in March and business has been steady.
"The people who come in love it," Sprouse said. "The college crowd and kids really enjoy it. I hope more people will come in."
Sprouse noted the growing popularity of graphic novels. A graphic novel is a narrative work using sequential art, similar to a comic book. Graphic novels are typically bound in longer and more durable formats than familiar comic magazines, using the same materials and methods as printed books, and they are generally sold in bookstores and specialty comic book shops rather than at newsstands.
"The quality is better than ever," Sprouse said of the graphic novels. "These aren't the funny books of years ago. They attract a wide variety of reader."
Over The Top Games provides comic subscriptions that reserve the titles people want up to 20 percent off cover price.
And there are sports cards. New sports cards will arrive next month with 2011 football cards.
Off The Top Games is open Wednesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. It can be reached by calling 585-7500.