Why is LGS the term of choice for gaming stores? Is it to specifically refer to local gaming stores, as opposed to distant or non-local gaming stores? I have never seen DGS or NLGS, so I don't know why it is necessary to specify local in the acronym, instead of just using GS.

If LGS is intended to convey a physical store as opposed to an online retailer, why not Brick & Mortar or B&M? Most other retail industries I've read about (electronics and cigars come to mind) regularly use B&M when talking about physical establishments instead of online retailers.

But strangely, I've never seen B&M used in the Magic/TCG/gaming vernacular.

  • Some posts in this old thread from 2005 indicate that the "local" aspect of "LGS" was one of pride in supporting a local store. This may be a cultural thing, but at least where I am from (the US) we pride ourselves on supporting local businesses.
    – Rainbolt
    Commented Apr 29, 2016 at 20:04
  • The phrase "local game store" spiked in popularity between 2001 and 2008 (and probably has continued to do so, but Google's ngram Viewer doesn't currently go past 2008), so those folks from 2005 probably have some authority on the subject matter.
    – Rainbolt
    Commented Apr 29, 2016 at 20:05

5 Answers 5


"Local" implies familiarity, and some connection specifically to you. It's a store near you, it's convenient for you, it's something from your area that you can be proud of, it's part of your community, it's a place you might see people you know. It also implies that it's not a chain. All of this adds up to a more warm and fuzzy emotional connection.

Brick and mortar, on the other hand, is really just about offline vs online. A brick and mortar store could still be a giant national big box chain store. The only important thing is that it's physical, so it still sounds pretty impersonal.

Note that this isn't just a gaming thing; for example LBS (local bike store/shop) is pretty common too.

You can also see a lot of other common "local * store" terms in the Google ngram viewer. "Local grocery store" is the most common, tying into the local food movement.


Local Game Store is supposed to be a counter to Big Box store that sells games. So instead of the generic large Wal-Mart chain. FLGS (Friendly Local Game Store) refers to your distinct, independent and local (usually not chain store) independent game store. (Also sometimes referred to as Mom-n-Pop Stores)

In a more contemporary context it's also used to counter the online store more than chain retail locations. While easier to access in some ways is in no way local to you as an individual.

But terms can and do change and adapt. Lately I've seen others use the term FLGS to refer to stores such as Barnes and Nobles when they have game nights. My own FLGS has four locations. But the term is essentially about a collective term for "Whever it is you choose to play" as opposed to "This store that we're telling you to play at"


I do believe that lgs is a mtg term. I have never heard other card games talk of it. It stand in contrast to the mega stores like wallmart that also sell the product but do not engage the community in any other meaningful way.

The local store is much more than just a store it is a hub for all the related nerd culture activities. Without the lgs a lot of the activities would simply not be possible. It is a great vehicle for like minded hobby enthusiasts to come together and enjoy there favourite past time.

Brick and mortar is a specific term that designates a real life store. Because mtg is so dependant on the hobby store to not just sell the product but engage with the community, they receive special privileges.

I know that in the us at least to register with suppliers you have to prove you have a physical store front. Also if you want to host fnm you need a store.


The terms LGS and the one I hear more often, FLGS (Friendly Local Game Store) both come from the game manufacturers and distributors. As the owner of a tea & game store, I'm much happier selling a game when the manufacturer/distributor encourages people to come to their FLGS to buy it. They send me business, I make them money.

There's an oft-unstated implication to the term FLGS as well: support. You don't expect to walk into a supermarket or WalMart and find someone that can intelligently compare two games, give you a demo, or point you to games that meet certain criteria.

At my store, we commonly get questions like, "My brother's a poor loser. What game could we play together without getting in a fight?" We can point them to cooperative games like Pandemic or Forbidden Desert and invite them to game night to try out a demo copy and learn how to play it. A megastore probably can't. Hence the "F" for friendly and the "L" for local.

  • This does not appear to add anything to the question that was not in a previous answer.
    – Joe W
    Commented May 16, 2018 at 1:36
  • 1
    Most of the things I mentioned in my answer were also mentioned in others, Joe, but not all. I wrote an answer because the presence of demo copies of games (and staff that can demonstrate how a game is played) is a critical part of what an FLGS has to offer. Additionally, Neil said that it was a MtG term, and I was pointing out that many game manufacturers and distributors use it.
    – Gary R.
    Commented May 16, 2018 at 1:44

Because promotional material encourages players to go to them. The idea is that players will form playgroups around their local gaming store. In that sense, "Your" LGS would be the (hopefully) nearby store that you would to to to play games/purchase materials.

This is in contrast to other brick and mortar shops that you may go to for a particular event, but is not local, or convenient.

As to why we use the particular phrase LGS, that's a little harder to pin down. Most likely, that's just the wording that TSR decided to use for Dungeons and Dragons. Since Magic the Gathering (the first of the wave of trading card games) hails from the same distributor, it makes sense to use the same terminology. Other TCGs follow suit, and here we are.

Additionally, the D&D and MTG communities formed before online retailers became mainstream. There would have been no need to differentiate between a physical and online retailer. This would explain why the E-Cigarette community uses said phrase: Because E-Cig supplies have been widely available online from the beginning of the Craze (Or, at least, since it became mainstream).

Either way, Communities such as those around E-Cigs and Electronics do not share roots with the D&D/TCG communities (though there is definitely overlap), and so developed their own jargon. Plus, of course, you don't expect to play games at a store that sells Vaping Fluid.


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