Year: 2014

Guide to Tabletop Games: #1 TCG/CCG (Trading Card Games)–Magic/Pokemon/Yugioh etc…

Hey guys…I’ll keep adding to this as time goes on, but I get asked a lot (particularly by parents) about what games like Magic and Pokemon really are.  Here’s a shot at doing geek to English translation.

Magic, Yugioh, and Pokemon are what are known as trading card games(TCG) or collectible card games(CCG).   Basically imagine a game made up of collectible baseball cards, where the ability of the card actually comes into play in the game.  Their big innovation was in creating a game where the cards that are added to the game can have rules or abilities on them that add to the game rules.  Magic was the first game of this type and was created by Richard Garfield over 20 years ago in 1993. There have been billions of the cards printed and there currently over 12 million Magic players. When you strip the game down, it is a lot of math, logic and strategy, and tends to attract a fairly intelligent player base. There is even a college scholarship for magic players. 😉

The games are in their simplest form like the old card game War, where players put down two cards and the higher one wins.  Each player has a starting amount of life (or in the case of Pokemon, a fixed number of “prize cards” that the players get to collect when they knock out an opponents Pokemon), and they cast cards in attack, defense and response to try and get the other player to zero.

What is interesting about the game is that ability for cards themselves add and modify the rules of the game, creating an evolving set of game play where it is figuring out the cool combinations of different cards that is the most fun part of the game.  Once they get past the pre-made starter decks, it’s all about learning the cards and trying to come up with new ideas for decks and seeing how well they do against other players.. (So yes, its normal for the kids to get excited about the new sets of cards as they come out, as each set adds new possibilities that they can puzzle out.)

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From the parents point of view, the positive aspects of the games are encouraging reading, math, and logic skills.  It is also good for creating opportunities to learn fair play, though that benefits a lot from our guidance.  Some of the rarest cards can end up being valuable ($100 or more), so talk to your kids about keeping them safe at school, as well as being both careful and fair in their trading with others.  Keeping their cards in sleeves and in a deck box with their name on it will both keep the value of the cards intact and make it less likely for their cards to get mixed up with other kids by accident.
Common Questions

  • Big difference between Magic, Yugioh and Pokémon: The way things get into play…Magic uses land that gets reused every turn to put different cards in play, Pokémon has energy that attaches to the Pokémon and let them do what they need to do, and Yugioh lets the player give up some of their smaller creatures to get bigger ones, called tributing .  Magic also lends itself to limited play like Drafts and Sealed events where everyone starts out even with new packs of cards and builds decks on the spot.
  • Do adults play these games too? Yep…there are lots of adults that play each of the games.We get most adults on the magic side, but quite a bit on the and Pokémon as well. For those who play, we see a lot of very nice connecting time with the kids.

For Parents:

Anything for parents to worry about? As a dad of a couple of 13 year olds and an 10 year old, here is my honest answer.  There are terrific things about the games, (math, reading, logic, learning to play fair with other people, and in general not having their faces stuck into screens.  However, there are a couple of things to that get brought to the surface by having access to things at a younger age that may be of value that provides so really important teachable moments for parents if they are aware of them.

  • Trading Fair: This is one of the first time that kids will get their hands on portable items that might be worth some money. It can bring out some strong desires that lead to some experiences with theft or making unfair deals on both sides.  When this happens, and it likely will, it is a key parenting opportunity to make sure that they understand how that feels and become determined to never make anyone else feel bad, rather then deciding, “well, I got taken advantage of, I’ll do the same thing to the next person I trade with.
    Ben’s Advice—Make sure that they always agree to trade backs being ok (within a week or so and provided the cards are still in as good shape as when they were traded.)  The standard thing that I say to kids is “there is no piece of paper that is worth losing a friend over.
  • One More Pack, just one more Pack… It’s super fun to open the packs…they could be anything until they are opened and the fun of opening and discovering a golden ticket of a card is a great feeling.  But when the desire to open the packs completely eclipses the fun of playing the game or even sharing the cards with their friends, it can expose something that we, as parents, don’t usually get to see until much later (and usually when they are in the never listen to us phase.) If they keep wanting to trade all their good cards for a chance to open another pack, that is an impulse very akin to gambling, and one where I’ll have a chat with the kids to make sure they are more interested in playing the games  that is an early version of being susceptible to gambling. Though both of these are a little scary, they are a great chance to get to work through these things at an age where the kids may still actually listen. 😉 On the other hand, the math, logic, reading and general sense of using their brains, combined with staying engaged with other people rather then computer or video screens makes it a great thing for kids to get into.

 

 

Early Releases this weekend at D20 Games—Pokemon Furious Fists, D&D 5.0 players handbook, and some great games

Hey folks…good weekend coming up. 8/8/14

Besides the Magic Game Day Events on Saturday and Sunday, we have one of our special rare pack drafts  (Ice Age Draft…) on Sat night, a Cardfight Vanguard prerelease for Divas Duet on Sunday at 2, and some early releases, or limited releases on some very, very good stuff.

These include:

  • Pokemon Furious Fists—we get to sell it on Fri. to because a certain big box retailer who shall remain nameless 😉  We have packs, starter decks AND a few Elite Trainer Boxes…
  • D&D Next Players Handbook ($50 for a limited number–we get to sell ’em two weeks before the general release on the 19th.
  • Betrayal at the House on the Hill—This is a GREAT game that has been out of print forever, but was just reprinted this week.  (And sold out IMMEDIATELY form both the manufacturer and all our distributors. I have 12 that I got after my first 4 sold out right away.)
  • We have 6 copies of Marvel Avengers vs. X-men Dice-masters game in stock..still waiting for the big reshipment
  • Star Realms (a terrific two player deck-building game) has been in extremely high demand and we’ve been waiting and waiting for it to get in…apparently it is starting to hit the distributors and should be in early next week.

 

 

 

 

Garruk, Apex Predator

The Scoop on the Magic 2015 Core Set, M15 Rocks

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Magic sets come out every 3 months, and this time each year in July, we get the next  Core Set.  This year, in addition to the normal bucket of old classic cards, the Magic 2015 Core set  is overstuffed with goodies, both great individual cards, and a collection of mini-themes, some of which lay some big hints about what is coming in the fall. Plus, SIX, count ’em six planeswalkers, including 4 brand new ones.

The really cool stuff includes the Souls, a bunch of 6/6 power-spitters for each color.  There are 5 new legendary creatures, 6 new slivers, including a 5/5 that makes all slivers indestructible. We also have the return of the pain lands (two-color lands that do one damage every time they are tapped for a color) and one of my favorites, the Paragons.  These are 2/2 creatures that give all other creatures of the same color +1/+1 and add an ability to give one fellow critter an ability that is appropriate for the color (flying, death-touch, trample, etc.).  And there are a few cards that give a nice little hint about what is going to be in the set that is coming in the fall…. (a card that gives all dragons +3/+3….hmmm, what could that mean. 😉

 

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Happy 4th of July Weekend…

Sparky McSparkson

Hey folks…Happy 4th of July weekend!!  We’re going to be open and do some special things to have some fun for the holiday.

NEW in Stock…

  • D&D Next is finally out…D&D Next Starter Set. ($19.99)
  • Wave 4 Star Wars Mini’s are in and selling fast

NEXT WEEKEND…M15 prerelease!!! Sign ups are ready now.  Preorder boxes for $99 until the end of the 4th of July weekend…110 after that for the next week.

For the 4th:

  • Open at 4 on the 4th for FNM…(Early and frequent drafting)
  • $12 Conspiracy Drafts
  • Date Night Magic
  • $12 Conspiracy Drafts

Here are the details….

  • Friday…Open a bit late (4 pm) and then we’ll be doing FNM a bit differently so people can go see the fireworks if they want to. Instead of our usual one big draft, we’re going to be doing pods of 8 starting at 4:30 with two that will be the “Official” FNM prize card times.
    • Sign up sheets starting at 4:30…run pods when we get to 8.
    • FNM prize card pods at 5:30 and 7 (Everyone plays pods as long as there are fat least 8)
    • Sheets out for $12 conspiracy drafts (no prize…just play all weekend)  Play when there are at least 6 players
  • Saturday
    • Pokemon league IS on from 11-1 on Saturday (NO POKEMON League next week because of big Magic M15 prerelease.
    • Date Night Magic is ON for this Saturday night.
    • $12 4th of July Conspiracy Draft list starting at 2 pm,
  • Sunday
    • Last Standard tournament for a couple of weeks because of the M15 prerelease and release events
    • $12 Conspiracy drafts.

We also have some GREAT family games we got in for weekend/family Fun.  Come in and look for the Summer favorite recommendations including:

  • Cover Your Assets
  • Boss Monster
  • Battle Sheep
  • Gravwell
  • And we have Cardwars back in stock…

M15 Prerelease Events @ D20 Games

 

M15-Prerelease-Banner-1Prerelease time!!! M15 is looking full of what I can only term as the Magic Equivalent of Super-Heroes. 😉 (Including SIX planeswalkers, 4 of which are brand new. )

As usual we are running 4 `prerelease events, two on Saturday and Two on Sunday.

What: Sealed Standard event (get 6 packs of the new stuff and build best 40 card deck.)  Play either competitive (at least 4 rounds, with bigger fistfuls of prize packs for the winners, but needing to win at least two rounds to get any prize packs.) or casual (play three rounds, win a round, win a pack)

Who: Who’s it good for?  Since everyone is starting from scratch from a new set, this is a great event for all players.  We run a very friendly shop, so particularly for the casual events, feel free to ask for and get help in figuring out what to make.  Regardless of what happens, you get to keep all your cards and have a day worth of fun.

Each of 5 different color prerelease pack comes with 5 M15 boosters and 1 special seeded pack of it’s color, as well as a special promo card that can be used in the deck.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Starts….

Going on vacation…store will still be open

UPDATE…Back from Italy…

Magic Two-headed Giant Conspiracy tonight-sat 28th.  Price is $23 instead of $30…(we were able tyo get more boxes…) .(sorry it took  I’m taking the next couple of weeks off (imagine that) but leaving the store in the capable hands of the affable Ryan and the irascible Thomas. 😉    So a few things:

  • The store will be running the usual events, including Pokemon, Friday Night Magic, Magic Two-headed Giants, and the Standard events.
  • We are adding a few extra goodies, including 2 Conspiracy draft times (Tue @ 6 and Sun @ 3).  We are also bidding a fun ending to Theros with a Block Constructed Tournament on Thursdays. ($5)
  • We will be doing less buying of cards while I’m gone, start again after the 28th. (Also, we will be offering a bit less for Ravnica Block cards since the block goes from standard to Modern in October.)  Thomas or Ryan will do their best, but if the store is busy, be patient and prepared to wait until another time.
We have LOTS of cool things for filling up the summer with fun stuff that doesn’t go beep, and that might actually have a little bit of smiling at each other…
Some summer Fun Recommendations:   
  • Boss Monster…(Back in Stock…players are the “boss Monster” setting up Dungeons to defeat the heros, with a distinctly 8-bit flavor full of references from everything from Harry Potter to old school Nintendo.)
  • Love Letter—an amazing game played with only 15 cards…easy to pick up and surprisingly subtle. (works for from 2-6)
    Back in stock…Floop that pig! 😉
  • Adventuretime Card Wars...so they made a (great) game out of a historical lampooning game in an episode of the Adventuretime cartoon that went straight after Magic/Pokemon/etc…  The game has been in VERY short supply, but we got a batch in for now.
  • Also…coming up in July…”Starter boxes for the (finally) new version of D&D.
  • And don’t forget how much fun the Magic Two-headed Giant’s are…a chance to play with someone that you really like…great for buddies, sweeties and a great parent-kid date..
Have a lovely beginning of summer…see you in a couple of weeks.—More to come when we get back…

 

Time for a Conspiracy (Magic Conspiracy Drafts)

You can’t have a good conspiracy on your own.  And that is the secret sauce to the special Magic set , coming out on June 6th.  This draft -centric, multi-player set is all about what we can do for, er, to each other.   This is a special set, much like Modern Masters, with limited initial qualities, though they say that there will be some reprinting after (we are being wary..squirreling away our boxes to let people play with until we know the score.)

We will be drafting this like crazy on that first weekend, and will do it regularly afterwords.  Drafts will be $20 pp, with each player getting at least one prize pack, and the top two players getting a free entry into the next draft (or 3 prize packs.)

Lore Seeker…get to go and add a Worldwake booster to the draft?

Messing with a Draft: Drafting is one of the most fun things you can do in magic. And this set takes the standard “get 3 packs, open 1, pick a card and pass to the left/right” and tosses it in the blender.  One of our customers described it beautifully by saying that it “broke the 4th wall” of a draft, and I think that’s true. In this set, there are cards that start the game during the draft itself, letting people mess with each other as the draft is going on.  (BTW…all Conspiracy drafts are casual format–will of WOTC.)

King of the Hill: Conspiracy is designed to play very differently.  When a 8 (or 6) person draft is done, the players are broken into two random groups, and the winner is the last one standing.  Most of the drafts we will do will have everyone getting a single bonus prize pack, and the top player in each of the pods, getting the chance to keep on drafting with a free entry into the next draft ( or 3 prize packs).  There is the draft and one big multiplayer game, and then the next draft.  Kind of cool…that way you are playing to build up your collection, rather then just buying packs.  (Packs will cost minimum of $5, so the draft is a great way to go.)

And the winner is….

Democracy and Conspiracy?  Sure…these have always been strange and familiar bedfellows. There cards in the set that have effects where the players put what is going to happen next up to a vote!?!?!

More info on the different Mechanics (from the Wizards of the Coast website)

Table of Contents
How the drafting works (differently) with this set
Cards that messes with the drafts
These are permanents that affect what goes on with the way the game is played (like who goes first or letting everybody draw a whole second hand and then chose which one to play with….)
These are conspiracies that are played in secret (ie face down) revealed whenever the controlling player feels is the right time.
To even things out, this ability triggers whenever someone attacks the player with the most life, or tied with the most life.
Everybody gets a vote on this one (sometimes more then one….)

With this ability everybody reveals the top card of their library, then whoever did it gets some benefit from what is revealed, but EVERYBODY gets to draw a card at the end.  A good parley is good for everybody.

More as we get it…

-Ben

Magic Game Day(s) Sat & Sun 24-25th

Jouney-into-Nyx-GamedayThe 9 event Hero’s Path that Wizards started with Theros comes to its conclusion this weekend, with the chance to play against the Defeat a God, starting during the Game Day events.  Players can bring a standard deck or can use one of the draft or two-headed Giant decks to play against the third (and final) of the special challenge decks.  Bring in any of the hero cards that you may have acquired during the previous prereleases or special events and you can pick two that will help during with your battle with the gods themselves.  We are also doing at Journey Into Nyx Two Headed Giant on the 24th, to round out the day…

Every player gets this full art promo
Foil full art promo for the top 8 each day

Also, starting at 10 am on Sat the 24th and Sun the 25th are the Journey Into Nyx Game Day events.  These competitive standard format tournaments will have special full art promo cards for each player, foil full art promo cards for the top 8 of each event, and el numero uno each day gets the special championship playmat.

First place playmat for each days winner.

Open late on Tuesday And Weds…

Hey folks…going down to the Makercon for the next couple of days to stoke the old imagination to come  with some ideas on how to expand what we do.  So and tomorrow we will be opening late, between 4-430

We have a bunch of great new events coming up…

Mystrey Box Two Headed Giantstarwars-x-wing-practice

Release Weekend…

Hey folks,
So we have a lot going on this weekend, including the release for Journey Into Nyx, and the  Prerelease for Pokemon XY Flashfire.

Journey Into Nyx on sale Fri, May 2nd (on minute after midnight on Thursday)

And this weekend we will be hosting the Prerelease for the newest set for Pokemon, XY Flashfire….

The Screen Free Week Challenge: And finally…This is a big one for me (and I am a Dad, so I know the struggle). Kids….I have a challenge for you.   Get your family to go screen free for one whole week!   For those who are able to do it, (and get their parents to verify they all did it,) I will be giving away up to 100 free packs for Magic or Pokemon packs (1 per family..two if they do a family game night).

Unplug and rediscover each other….

 

I know this is super hard, but it It’s amazing what happens when you shut the screens off, let boredom take hold for a little bit and then reach out to see what you can find to fill that void.  I  know I’m the game guy, and I would love to see parents commit to coming home and clearing the space one night next week to do a family game night. But outside of that, just see what it feels like to do some of the things there never seems to be time to do.

To do my part in this…I’m going to have a sheet in the store, and one to print online that is a pledge/verification card that will also include a place to list all the things you got to do during that time, and any family that can make it through the week with no video, computer games, ipad or other non-work related screen time, I will give them a gift of a free pack of either Pokemon or Magic, or a $5 off coupon for any game that is $19.99 or more for the first 100 kids (no more then 1 per family.  If there are more then one…I’ll give the parents a chance to by more at 1/2 off.)    (Parents, I’m counting on you to make this honest.  Parents will need to come in with the kids and the filled out form between May 13th-23rd)

 

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