19644 Center Ridge Road, Rocky River, 440-895-1224, www.compendiumohio.com
As the games of choice swing from Pokémon to Yu-Gi-Oh! to Magic, Compendium remains the place where experts and novices go. Nightly tournaments in everything from Star Wars to SportsClix keep the place flooded with preteens, but Compendium's deep inventory of older cards and the best prices around are the reasons to keep coming back. First thing you do: Join the Compendium Club, the free mailing list that gets you a monthly schedule and discounts on everything in the store. Next: Be nice to owner-operator Dave Harbarger, for he is a good man to know. Like a genial, bespectacled grandfather with a 12-year-old's encyclopedic knowledge of the games, Harbarger runs the place with all the goodwill of a lemonade stand - a rarity in the often aloof universe of gaming stores. He's quick to greet you when you enter, might give you an unexpected discount on your purchase, and is committed to bringing new players to the table. Free tournaments - and free cards to newbies - are two ways he's succeeding.