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Hour of Devastation Overview/news

Hour of Devastation scoop, updates, news and other stuff…

The dragon’s plans spanned millennia and his perception straddled centuries, a winding maze of possibility and circumstance and statistics and likelihood. Usually the dragon played the odds when shaping his decisions—but now, to manifest his needs, the dragon would need to be violent in his choices….” Hour of Devastation Prerelease story snippit..WOTC. 

The sands of Amonkhet swirl from the wind of the drumbeat wings as the greatest of dragons battles his fellow gods for the fate of those below, living, dead or something more than both.  At the Hour of Devastation Prerelease…battle with or as those gods to determine who will live, die, or go to Jack in the box later as zombies. (Hey, just ’cause you’re undead doesn’t mean a shake won’t hit the spot. Besides, where else can a zombie go at 3 in the morning when everyone else is sleeping.)   Welcome to the second chapter in the Egyptian-inspired  desert plane,  where life after death is just part of life…

Prerelease When: Events Sat at 10, Sat at 4, Sun at 10 and a two-headed Giant, Sunday at 3 pm.   (Remember to sign up in advance..$30 before the event, $35 the day of the event)  As always, we do competitive and casual side by side to make sure both groups have the fun they are looking for. 

Nicol Bolas, Got Pharoh
Nicol is Back!!

Newest Cards— http://mythicspoiler.com/

About the story-  http://magic.wizards.com/en/products/hour-devastation/storytelling

Official Wizards source of the cards- http://magic.wizards.com/en/products/hour-devastation/cards

New Magic http://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/feature/hour-devastation-mechanics-2017-06-16

Samut the Tested

Still need help-Updates on the move…

Exec summery:

Volunteers so far have been beyond awesome!

We need everything moved out before 1 April. Still need lots of help…packing, strong man/woman lifting, hauling/donating.  We will be in one location or the other at all times except Monday evening…  Email us if and when you can help out.  We’ll do the next big loads on Tuesday during the day and after school hours….we’ll need help the whole time.

we need help making the place cool

  • Lighting/electronics-Electrician/lighting Jedi master – we need to install LED light strips in our cases.
  • artistic painting

signs-promotion

  • Need skilled  help at putting together sidewalk signs and other promo posters… traditional and clever….

First off, huge huge huge thanks to people who helped us out so far! There is no way  on the planet that we would’ve been able to pull off as much as we have in the ludicrously short time we had.

So far we’ve gotten most of the painting done, the carpet removed, the new carpet laid in And about half of the old store loaded up in the truck to move over.

We’re still in the need of more volunteer help.  I would kill for some help on Monday during the day, but will also take help during the day/evenings for the rest of the week. (Monday night is my kids bday…so gotta take that off.)

 

Mad Creators Club

What’s going on with D20?  We have to move by April First, so the brutal truth is we either evolve, or we shut down.
The scoop:
Here’s the deal.  I love D20 and I love what we’ve built here and it would break my heart not to have it continue.  On the other hand, Amazon et. al. has put a lot of pressure on things, and as much as you’re continued patronage has helped, there is only so much of a premium that people are willing to pay to keep shops like what we were doing alive. Prices for rent in Alameda have gone bonkers and it is clear that there is no way to make a store like what we are now work without a serious upgrade to what we do. We have to leave our current location by April 1st, and we have found a potential replacement on Park St. but it is almost 4 times what we are current paying in rent, and believe it or not, that’s a good deal right now (eep).
The big decision: So I’m facing a pretty big decision point about the future D20.    We either need to go big (expand/evolve) or go home (shut D20 down in April).  To continue the business, we need to expand to do what we’ve been planning for a while, to be a true mental/artistic playground (Legos, robotics, chess, mad science/art).  This aligns well with our philosophy and what we do well, but to be utterly frank, will require me to take a huge personal financial risk.  So I’m going to open up about what we’re thinking and put some of it back in your hands.  I’m going to put together a Kickstarter, or some equivalent, and if what we want to do matches services people in the community want (and more importantly, are valuable enough to them to pay for).
 
So what are we good at? What D20 does best is provide a welcoming and safe place for people to connect face to face, not face to screen, and to get to engage their brains in a fun way. For the kids, we help them build both social and mental confidence, while modeling and molding a place where treating each other with respect can happen side by side with having fun with each other.
When we looked at it a while ago, we realized that the overlap between the kids that come here, and the ones who love legos, Minecraft, robotics, or other mad art, science, or performance it almost 100%, and they have very few places where they can stretch those other muscles.  (This next part is as a dad…) I know that our schools are working as hard as they can to take care of the kids, but they’ve been squeezed and regulated to the point where Gate and other places where it’s ok for the kids to test their limits or where they can explore at their actual pace is a wish on the wind.  We all know that creativity leads to better thinking, and that dumping a ton of extra work, does not create the challenges and sets of accomplishment that our kids need/crave.  And for many of us, we want to play too, exploring stuff side by side with our kids when we can (or when they’ll let us.)

The Vision

The Mad Scientists/Artist/Maker Club. So the vision for the expanded D20 is the Mad Scientist/artist/maker’s club.  A place that has spaces to mess around with the tools and toys of creativity and challenge, and regular and special events where they can do so.   We will make money by running workshops and providing access to some special spaces.
The philosophy behind all of it will be:
  • Creative (Learn what’s been done before, but don’t assume that’s all that can be.  It’s better to do lots of failed experiments and figure out something new, then just color in the lines.)
  • Smart (learn why things do what they do and be smart enough to be creative safely.)
  • Challenge (Push yourself to find your limits, and then go a little further.  This is a place where you can go as far as you want.)
  • Respect ( Messing around is ok, distracting is not.  We’ve all been in classes where we were frustrated because the instructor had to spend so much time wrangling kids who were messing around that there wasn’t time to really explore what was going on.  Also, as always, we’re a smack talk free zone.  Have fun with people, not at their expense.  The higher level classes are open only to those who demonstrate that they understand what they need to to be safe, and that have shown that they won’t ruin the chance for others to test their limits too.)
  • Good Alignments only (Whatever we may play in role playing games, as people, we really work to be good.  If we see a way to help, we do, if we don’t we try and find them.  Our word is good, and we know that being honorable isn’t goofy, its a real thing and it’s worth fighting for.)
The Spaces:
  • Mad Science lab (a workshop of space to work on electronics and more)
  • The Secret Study (the best space for playing tabletop games we can build)
  • The “It’s OK to get messy” Room   (A space for painting, Dyeing, gluing, Cutting, Molding, smooshing, making, creating.)
  • The Studio (A soundproof space with equipment for Recording/podcasting)
The types of Workshops:
  • Lego Engineering/robotics,
  • Arduino robotics,
  • Electronics exploration/construction,
  • Chess classes/club,
  • More unconventional twist-ups like using traditional paper marbling techniques on weird objects like sneakers.

The philosophy of the workshops:

  • Understand the basics (really grock what we’re working with)
  • Learn the techniques (know what it is and how to work with it safely)
  • Take it seriously (Having fun–Big thumbs up.  Slowing everybody else down by disrupting…not cool. This is the place where you can see what you really can do, and people messing around with the instructors and the other participants isn’t ok)
  • Get a challenge–Go nuts (there will be basic ways to deal with any challenge, but figuring out other ways to get it done is always awesome)
  •  Show you know what your doing and be respectful of others gets access to the more advanced stuff.
  • Working on something cool=having fun
  • Show you know what you are doing AND be a good teammate/mentor to others and you may get tapped to join the Igors (the Mad Science/art jr. assistants/sidekicks.) Being and Igor is a great honor/responsibility.  You will get to become class assistants, and get special hours access to the labs as well as special Igor only events.)

Examples of Workshops:

Electronics deconstruction:
Tear apart old electronics in this treasure hunt challenge to find the parts you need to complete your secret goal.  Each class will have a quick-solder challenge to complete a mini machine.  Teams that complete their class challenge early will have access to the higher level challenges. Requires basic soldering qualification class or equivalent.
 Things learned (in a much more fun/hidden way)in the class would include:
  • How to solder well (de-soldering is much harder then soldering)
  • Different types of common electronic parts, (including what is safe and what to be careful of)
  • How to not be afraid/intimidated by the electronics around you
  • Fix/re-purpose instead of throwing stuff away
Cardboard Architecture:
In this three week class, participants will build a functional piece of furniture, a habitat where they will spend the night outside in a park, and a human portable entry into the Alameda 4th of July parade. Oh, yeah…and all of these things will be built out of donated used cardboard box material.  The goals of the class will be to learn and understand the architectural and mechanical principals behind designing something that can be built and can take the forces applied. (Understanding the nature of the materials.) Along the way will be math challenges (can you predict when our test bridge will collapse under the weight), design challenges, artistic challenges and creative challenges.  As with many of our classes, beat the first challenges early to get access to the advanced stuff.
  • Alameda Mystery Theater: a student produced series of radio/podcast audio Theater… script writing, performance, sound effects, music, editing the final release.
  • Seven Wonders of the Lego World: a workshop teaching the fundamental building blocks of (Lego) engineering from ramps to sophisticated pulley   systems, we will re-create some of the mechanical wonders of the world in Legos
  • “Doesn’t matter if your black or white”  Chess Explorers Club. Chess builds the parts of the brain that do math and fudimental problem solving.   It’s also a chance to learn to win with grace, lose with style, and play for the fun of it.  Beginning players learn the fundamentals of both moves and stratagy, more advanced players play, learn advanced stratagy and puzzles, and how to become a great teacher of others (building knowledge and confidence without coming across as impatient or know it all, or an overwhelming firehose of knowledge).
  • D&D Camps
    • DM Boot Camp – how to build, manage and run a D&D campaign.  Each day will be split up between learning, designing, and either running for participating in D&D adventures
    • D&D adventures.  A five day, mega campaign.  Breaks each day to head out to the park, put on gear and whomp on each other with foam swords.
  • MTG Judge Bootcamp– one week camp for advanced MTG players who want to learn the rules to the level that they could take the Judge test.   The Boot Camp will include problems, puzzles, tests, challenges,  Game shows, tournaments. (Parents, the camp will also good morning in and practice on how to be a judge: how to be confident, to control the situation, How to de-escalate when people get angry, and how authority i’m coming across as arrogant or bullying are very different things) ages 12 and up.
  • Mystery Room Challenge: two teams will both design and build the props for their own mystery room (A room that contains a puzzle that must be solved with four players are allowed to leave.) today before the end of the camp, they will try the mystery room out on the other team, and then have the last day to improve it based on what they learn.  They will then put on two performances for the public (including parents and others) that Friday, and Saturday.
 
How to be one of our Instructors: This is one of the areas where we are getting clever.  Teachers would obviously need to be vetted and Live-scanned (I’m not having anyone here that I wouldn’t leave my 12 year old daughter or 15 year old sons with), but beyond that, they are people from lots of walks of life/expertise areas. The way we make sure they are good is that they first teach a no-charge class to our monthly subscribing members and the Igors.  If they pass their muster, their reviews will be the base for the ongoing teacher reviews that are posted with their classes.  Great teachers will fill their classes, and because they get a cut of the money for each class, the best ones are the ones that keep coming back.  We want people who love what they do and who love sharing that with people.  We will have a standard structure for the classes to keep things consistent, but any teacher can either prove to use that they have a better idea, or that it is just better for their class and we will go with it.  We’ll start off with a few great staff teacher, but we want to be the best place around for artists and engineers and geeks (I’m proudly in that group) from all over to come and find a place here full of kids who are having fun getting a chance to stretch their brains. For example, I’ll be teaching Game Review classes, where the kids come and play new board/card games the first part of the day, and learn how to write different styles of reviews in the afternoon. (among other things, I’m an old journalist/editor–founding editor of one magazine, first Toys Editor for Wired, etc)
Will this be for adults? The game playing part of D20 will continue to be adult friendly.  In addition, as we get more and more cool creative/electronic stuff to play with, we will both do daytime classes and offer non-classroom time access to the workshops.  Plus, we will explicitly do parent/guardian and kids classes, as well as allowing vetted parents to participate with their kids and help as adult versions of the Igors.  Most of us adults have kids inside to, and love to play with all this stuff.
 
So how are we making money from all this?  We will be charging for the classes, as well as offering monthly and yearly club memberships.  The memberships will include discounts for the classes as well as off hours access to the different club rooms. It is our intention to eventually become licenced for aftercare so some of the memberships can be used as a safe and good place for smart kids to come after school.  We want to do this well, so we won’t be trying to be the cheapest folks around.  Having said that, people who step up and share the load with us now will be given founders pricing and extra access.  More on that as we put the kick-starter together.
Places:  The Rooms—- (with inspiration images)
  • The Secret Study – the library like room with an amazing configurable gaming table.
  • Related imageImage result for tabletop gaming room
  • The Mad Science lab – plasma lightning covered walls full of workbenches boxes of tools to be checked out depending on the level of skill.  Robotics, and other electronic and fine design skills done here.
  • The Constructoporiam- place of rube Goldberg machine madness. Masterbuilder quantities of Legos, and other reusable or upcycled building materials.
  • The “It’s OK to get messy” Room: A space for painting, Dyeing, gluing, Cutting, Molding, smooshing, making, creating.
  • The Studio – soundproof space with equipment for Recording/podcastingImage result for radio play recording

 

Oath of the Gatwatch Game Day Champions a bit on the young side. ;-)

Oath of the Gatewatch Game Day Champions!
Inline image 2First off, congtrats to two members of the pre-teen crowd who womped on the those with drivers licences to show that intelligence, stamina, and poise can come at any age as they took the honers in the Magic Game Day tournaments.  Max S. topped a field of 22 Inline image 1while Roy stood on a heap of 26 competitive magic players to take home the Oath of the Gatewatch Game Day playmats!  regular events this weekend…  (note the photobomb of Roy in the background of Saturday’s victory picture, clearly plotting his next day’s domination.)
All kidding aside, they were great matches, and in particular, there was a stellar amount of good sportsmanship throughout the day.  (A lot of fun was had by all…those two things might be a bit connected, hmmm..)
https://twitter.com/d20alameda/status/698920595254222851
https://twitter.com/d20alameda/status/699055149763833856″

Extra Life — 24 hour Charity Event at D20 Games

Update…the event was great.  They raised over $1500 for Children’s Miracle Network.  The Nerdy Knights were very, very cool guys and we were impressed both by what they were doing, and their spirit in doing it.  Great job guys…you are welcome to come back next year.  (Oh…and a shout out to my trivia team partner who helped prove that the combo of age and beauty turned out to be unstoppable…woo hoo!!!  And good job to the second place team who ended up being a couple of our regular kid players who snuck up from behind and womped on the mostly adult crowd!)


Watch live video from RiddickulousRants on www.twitch.tv

So here’s the scoop.  This group of players, who call themselves the Nerdy Knights contacted me to ask if we’d be willing to stay open for 24 hours to play games in the store.  After the echos of the initial laughter faded, it turned out that they do this every year as part of a nationwide event for an organization called Extra Life, that has groups like them all across the country do these game marathons to raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network to give money to a bunch of Children’s hospitals.  After making sure they were legit, I dusted off my cot and gave them the thumbs up.  Taking care of each other is a big part of what the store is about, and building in some taking care of others has been a goal of the

How this works.   From 6 am Saturday to the same time on Sunday, the Nerdy Knights will be here, playing games, streaming on the net and gathering donations.  Side by side with that we will be having tables dedicated to everything from Table-top board game Speed Dating, to Special Magic tournaments.  D20 will donate the space and games for use in the events.  Events with packs (ie Magic) the store do at a hugely discounted rate so any profit (and most of the $) will go to the charity.

Also, there ARE volunteer opportunities to help out.  These include Speed Gaming Game Masters (people who know some of the board games well and can help people get a taste of the game super fast), Twitch Chat Moderators, Sound Mixer Tech, Set-Up and Clean-Up, Promoters to help spread the word and bring in people. If we have the people, we’d love to set up table for folks to learn or improve at Pokemon and Magic on Sat am and afternoon who would then donate to the charity.  (And yes for some of kids/teens, this  does count as community service for those kids who need to do that for school. –Quick note…don’t just do this to check off a school requirement…do it because it is a good thing to do, and come prepared to really work.  We won’t sign off any forms for those who don’t come with their a-game attitude and do great work. )

The events (big time subject to change)  Check here for the latest updates and schedule.  NOTE…being here either before or during the after hours (after 9pm) is only for the volunteers or the participants in events. (Ok…you can donate a cover charge just to watch….whatever brings in more donations for the kidlets.)

Events for the public to Participate in so far:  (We will add more as we get more volunteers to run them.)
On Demand…
  • Zombie Conspiracy: Bring any number of friends in for this two hour Magic Draft/beat on your buddies fest.
    • Cost-$8 to D20 and  $10-15 donation to the charity.

2:00pm- 7:00pm

  • d20 Games – Speed Dating with Board Games
    • We’ll Set up 4 tables with some of the best new games and some of our all time favorites.  Play for 1/2 hour and we will then play musical chairs (literally) to see where you end up next.  $5 donation per game tix ($10 for 3, and $25 donation for 10–enough to play the whole time.)  If you love a game and want to stay at the table, you can use two tix to stick around for another 1/2 hour.  Have fun, meet people, and win goodies at the table, including promo’s, snacks, and discounts.  (Volunteers can earn one ticket per hour they volunteer for the event.)
    • Cover-1 ticket per game session. $5-1 ticket, $10-2 tickets, $25-10 tickets

7:00pm – 9:00pm

  • West Coast Team – Nerd Trivia.
    • 5 rounds of 10 questions each. Each round will be a different category and will have prizes at the end of the round. At the end of the final round the team with the most points will go into a lightning round to win the Trivia grand prize provided by NKRN
    • Categories will include Star Wars, Nintendo, Pokemon, Comic books, and others
    • Teams of a max 4 people – Cover- $20/team

9:00pm- 11:30

  • D20 After Dark-Adult only games
    • Tables set up with Games of a more adult nature (ahem…)–see above for details
    • Cover Donation $15
  • D20 Adults only Magic Draft….Modern Masters 2015!!!
    • Cover-$15 to D20 (we will subsidize the rest of the cost of the packs) plus $15 Donation to the store

Community Service Jobs
 
  • Speed Gaming -Game Masters – for the speed dating-sequel version of board games we will need one person with each board game to teach the players how to play.
  • Twitch Chat Moderators – people watching the twitch chat during the event to bring in the participation of the online community. Tasks will include helping running the online raffles and monitoring the online portions of live events (I.e. Trivia, Cards Against Humanity, etc)
  • Sound Mixer Tech – preferably someone with experience or can easily be taught how to run a small 12-channel mixer to make sure audio and music is played throughout the stream appropriately. Typically students in the drama department in schools will be ideal for this
  • Set-Up and Clean-Up – for the evening before and morning after we can use 2-3 extra hands for setting up and taking everything down once the event is taken care of
  • Promoters – Someone standing outside and encouraging community engagement by handing out the fliers and trying to draw people in

No more Adult Yugioh Tournaments or play at D20?!? Why…

Important announcement:
No more Adult Yugioh @ D20

 We sincerely apologize to the majorly of Yugioh players who are lovely and respectful people that the continued tone set by the rest have forced  us to this  decision, but the persistent problems created by bad apples in the group (language, aggression, unfair trading, shoplifting) have reached a point to force us to decide to ban all adult Yugioh play at the store.  We will continue to allow kid play only on Saturday from 1-4 for now and evaluate this as time goes on.

Why Yugioh and not any of the other games?  This has been puzzling us as well.  While we have had a few incidents with other groups, about 95% of the issues at the store have come from the Yugioh days.  This has been an issues with many of the other stores in the area, about half of which (such as Games of Berkeley  have come to the same choice. While the majority of people who play any game are lovely, there were enough people who set the tone of the group in the wrong direction that in spite of a year and a half of gentle to more serious talks, and banning of several people, we were unable to get the group as a whole to understand that we are very serious about the store as family friendly and a “Safe” zone.

  • No swearing, aggressive or threatening comments
  • No anti-gay, racist, sexist or sexual inappropriate comments
  • No intimidating or shaming others

We have been successful at creating that in every other community, but a year+ of working  between gentle and firm with the adult  Yugioh community has been ultimately incompatible with what we are trying to have as the safe comfortable store we are working to create.  A few weeks ago we installed some new security cameras and discovered a large amount of shoplifting happening within that group, much of it being observed by other members of the group.  

Can Yugioh players come for other events or days?

Players are welcome to join the other communities of players, but there will be zero tolerance for the attitudes and behaviors that caused this problem.

We will be closed for free play on Sunday and Tuesday, and will restart with different tournament play in s (including Cardfight! and potentially Pokémon, Magic and/or chess and other game tournaments).  Pack purchase will be required to be in the store on those days and there will be no Yugioh play or trading allowed in the store with the exception of those 14 and younger on Saturday’s between 2-4 for now..and hopefully in that group the good behaving kids can keep anyone who heads in the other direction in check so we don’t have to do the same thing for the kids.

UPDATE

Shortly after this was posted, the store was broken into and robbed of aprox $13,000 worth of product.  What became clear in the investigation was that it had been people who had been regulars in the store and those people had been in the group of regular Yugioh players. (Among other things, the only accessories beyond a few binders that were stolen were an entire rack of Yugioh sized white Player’s Choice sleeves.  Anyone who knew the Yugioh community well is nodding their heads in understanding how this is the equivalent of a big spray painted “it was Yugioh players that did this” on the wall.) The confirmation of this came the next Sunday, when I planned to announce to the Yugioh community that we had banned the game entirely from the store.  I was unable to do so because of the 40+players who usually came, none showed up.

We banned Yugioh from the store in 2012, and two things happened.  The tone of the store became, for lack of a better term, more gentle.  And we started becoming profitable for the first time about 3 months later. It turned out, as we became better at tracking the inventory, that there had been much more shoplifting then we every imagined.

 

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