Ben Calica

Ben is the owner of D20 Games.

Sew what can we do to help? Making DIY masks to relieve the pressure….

(I stared this at the beginning of the week before the CDC recommendation for everyone to wear masks….this is a list of the best links for DIY masks I’ve found. PLEASE comment back on which ones are better and send others that you find, I’ll keep the list updated as much as I can.)

We’ve all heard about the mask/materials shortages for hospitals, and its been sticking in my craw that we’re stuck at home with the impulse to help but nothing to do besides trying not to drive each other crazy.  So when I heard about people sewing masks at home to help out, that seemed pretty like a pretty cool use of creativity.  I can’t do it, but I can help figure out what is real, vs. nonsense, and try and spread the word.    The interesting thing is that even masks that are not of medical quality are of value.  Turns out that tea towels are pretty close to fancy medical grad material in terms of catching virus side stuff.  And even if it doesn’t do that, it helps with one of the biggest sources of spread, the almost impossible task of not touching yer damn face/mouth during the day.    What I’ve included is the links to resources that I’ve found, following the contents of a letter that just came to me from a member of a Kaiser task force on what is acceptable designs for them to use to help with their medical professional.  They would like masks for their local Kaiser centers, but obviously, get them to where ever they need to go.  Probably best to wash them, and put them in ziplock bags after extremely carefully cleaning…we don’t wanna pass the virus on in something designed to keep it out…too stupidly ironic.   If you find better information or improved designs, leave a comment or email us at info@d20alameda.com.   And if you do end up making one, send us a picture and tell us where it went and we’ll share it.  I know it seem like it’s too big for us to do anything about this besides hide in place, but there are a lot of us.  😉


From Kaiser (3/27/2020)
Materials that should be used to make the mask:

        • Reusable/washable
        • Cotton or T-shirt material

Design components:

Cleaning requirements:

        • Must be able to hand or machine wash when soiled or contaminated

Approval/Distribution:

        • Regional approval of masks is not needed if volunteers follow instructions and design components provided
        • Masks will be distributed locally (to medical centers)

We are extremely grateful for your willingness to help our organization keep our patients, members, visitors, staff and physicians safe.

Other Resources I’ve found for this…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Post Apocalyptic D20 Update-Week 2 Mystery Loot Bags (and more)

Hey folks,

Trying to keep things (me) from drifting off into the timeless aether.    I can’t tell you how much I miss seeing people in person.

First off…as a fellow owner of a game store, I need to say something about Gamestop’s decision to stay open with the argument that we were “essential” businesses.  NO!…No, no, no, no, stop complaining you utter irresponsible whiners, NO!  Ok, look, I understand the panic of wondering if your business can survive this kind of thing. I get those feelings too.  But if someone came up to me today and said that my folks were sick and the only way to keep them alive was to close the store for a month or two, I wouldn’t even think about it.   So if we need to get bored out of our skin in order to keep this from spreading to even one unnecessary grandma or grandpa, then we’re doing it, even if it puts the business at risk.

Having said that, we are gonna try and do some things to both help folks from getting too stir crazy and to see if we can find some rent money under the cushions.  We are doing “knock up” business…basically knock on the door if the light are on or call before you come and we can come out to the curb. Since we can’t have people do browsing, what we can do is bring stuff to the door.  So that means Specific games if we have them in stock or the next batch of our  mystery loot bags.   The bags are $60-tax included, and have between $80-120 retail worth of games.

Just to be very clear about the nature of these bags.  They are currently the vast majority of our business, and even that like a 10th of our normal business.   We really appreciate the concern for our survival and will need the help, IF YOU CAN AFFORD IT.  For those customers who are struggling too, reach out to us.  The other purpose of the loot bags are to give us a chance to keep from going stir crazy without the mental bad side effects that can creep in with too much screen/phone time. If you are in $$ trouble too, reach out to me.  I’m going to put together some bags for our customers who are hurting too, and for those, pay what you can, and if that is nothing, talk to me. Normally we’d all be helping each other out, but in this instance, I’m the one with unopened, uncontaminated stuff.   The one cavet in that if you can’t afford $$, just pay it back in kindness.  And this isn’t true for most of my customers but I gotta say this anyway, I’ll only have a limited number of the kindness bags, so make sure they are there for folks who need ’em.  We need to count on each other right now, so small does of do the right thing go a long way.

I’m also working on variations to the loot bags.  These will include:

  • Magic Loot bags for sealed fun.-
    • Silver Chaos Loot Bags: $50 (12 random packs—good for 2 person 6 pack sealed, or 3 people 4 pack mini sealed.)  Plus mystery bonus $50-80 value
    • Gold Chaos Loot bag: $100 (A pair of random prerelease kits and a mystery bundle.  Plus a mystery extra magic goody.)  $120-160 in value.
    • Platinum Chaos Loot bag: $200 ( A booster box, fat pack, two prerelease kits, and an extra surprise worth at least $50)$230-270 in value.
    • Diamond Chaos Loot bag: $500 ( A booster box, one of the Analogy sets, Archenemy, 4 prerelease kits, 4 brawl decks and a Conspiracy booster box, and whatever else I decide to toss in.) $550-800 value

And for D&D folks, we got all the basic books back in stock, have the new book in now. and are putting together a set of painting loot bags.  These will be $60 and include mini figs to practice on and dedicated D&D paint sets.

Give us a call before you come over to see if we (I’m) around.  I’ll be in during the day on Saturday and Sunday with the exception of when I go take the pooch to the dog park. Other then that, I’ll be in the store a lot doing various long ignored jobs.  It feels super weird to not be having regular store hours…I worked very hard to take those hours as a promise from me to you guys, but we live in strange times at the moments.

BTW…here is a story that I wrote about that first shelter in place week.

View at Medium.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Games-Special “stuck at home” Drive Up Mystery Loot Game Bags

Mystery Loot Bags.  These are bags that we are selling for a suggested donation of $60 that have at least 3 or more games with a retail value between $80-$120. (sometimes with bonus demo games thrown in.  These are $60 including tax, so if you have cash,  give us a call about 5 minutes before and then when you are down the street and we will bring it out to you.

Ok…two problems with a common solution.

  1. The next month is gonna be a tough one for us as a store as business drops to the floor.
  2. Its a stir crazy time for people who are home from school or work.

We know that new board games are a great solution, and we will be here to give good recommendations, and will work hard this week to see if we can try and become able to take orders online and but for now, we are doing officially unofficial curbside/at the door delivery as a way to keep things safe and still do what we can for you and to stay alive. .

If you can, we really appreciate the support over the next little bit.  It means a lot to us, and this way we can be here when this is all done.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s a Responsible Game Store to Do?

I’ve been struggling with the right thing to do at the shop to be good ducks right now and it is very tough. We don’t wanna be over the top, but we also really want to make sure we keep people safe and do our part to help as we can.  And we can also see how we can shift the business so we are still around when the cough’s clear.

Last week we replaced our usual tablecloths with the not as pretty ones we had that we used for parties, since we can clean/disinfect them. And before we did the magic draft where we passed the cards around we had everyone use disinfectant hand wipes.  Seemed a bit overly cautious at the time, but not so much at this point.  We are trying to figure out the best ways to make events at the store as safe as we can, including lots of disinfectant and even limiting the number of people at the events to insure more space.

We also know that we actually have something to offer to help so that people who are stuck at home as an alternative to video games or getting utterly sucked into phones.  We are going to look into trying figure out how to get people games in ways that don’t necessarily require coming into the store. And we are looking at creating game events for (limited) amonts of kids during the days when they are off school.  We don’t want these to be lots of people coming in and out, instead we need it to be less people who are staying with  a small group for the day.

So here is what we are doing as of now:

  1. Friday Night Magic will be 4 pack sealed instead of a draft:
    For the next few weeks everyone will get a “prize” Pack with the normal 3 and then the prizes will be promo packs for the top 4 players.  Since we now have the Mystery Packs ($5)  in, and were gonna do the drafts for $20 anyway, this should still be plenty of fun, sort of a Chaos Sealed. –Limiting to 26 players to insure there is enough space to have between people.
  2. We are gonna be suspending the Pokemon League for the next 3 weeks at least.  Don’t think there is any way to insure the little ones keep their fingers out of eyes, and mouths between playing/trading.
  3. Enforcing the 6 person max for D&D so there can be space between folks at the tables.
  4. Well–don’t be sick.  😉  We are all doing our best through this, but one of the biggest things is if yer coughing etc, don’t take the chance.  The truth is that a pretty good percentage of the folks who come to the store are young enough that they will likely be fine though this, but that don’t mean that they might not inadvertently pass it on to another kid.  No big deal unless they end up inadvertently passing it on to their grandma.  So to protect all our grandmas…don’t take the chance…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Success!!! A huge pile of random kindness….The Great “Givings” Sale-holiday hours and Recommendations…

Success!!!!  After filling the box for the firefighters, we (you guys and us) ended up putting together about $650 worth of games to give to the  Midway Woman’s shelter!!!  Thanks so much for supporting us so we could do some random kindness together. 

We’re gonna do a clearance sale through the end of the year….a bunch of special, but the best is a buy one at regular price and pick one for $10 on some games up to $90 (the $10 must be equal or less then the purchased item…usual deal.)

New this year….We not be offering any savings for our sales this year…we’re doing Givings instead.  Instead of trying to out cheap Amazon, we’re opting for going for being good people.  There has been way too much of the opposite in the world these days.  And the best way I know to deal with selfishness and bullying is with fierce kindness.    So from now till the end of the holiday season, I’m gonna ask that you save a little chunk of your gift $$ to spend with us, and in exchange,  when you buy gifts from us, together we will give more gifts for those who are a little short of random kindness.  Spend $50 or more, put a $10 gift into the big box, $100 and put up to a $20 gift, etc.   We have a bunch of great games and goodies that we’ve hand picked for the holidays, including good games for getting everyone off of screens for both thanksgiving and the rest of the holidays.

-Holiday Hours

Date Open Close
Fri Dec 20th 3:30 pm 11 pm
Sat Dec 21st 11 am 9:30 pm
Sun Dec 22nd 11 am 9:30 pm
Mon Dec 23rd Noon 10 pm
Tues Dec 24th 10:30 am 7 pm (maybe later..call)
Wed Dec 25th Noon ???
Thurs Dec 26th 2 pm 7 pm


The great battle—Face to Face, not face to screen this year!
Thanks for supporting Local and our good excuse to do so….(swapping discounts for what counts) 
I know how hard it is to continue to make the choice to support local, particularly in the face of online places that end up selling things for often close to what we pay. And I really wanted to thank you for it.

Replacing Savings with Givings:
We decided to try and do something to make it easier to feel good about that, and are continuing our Givings vs. Savings approach this year.(For those of you who don’t know, what we are doing is for every 50 bucks someone spends, we get to put 10 bucks to a game to go into the giveaway box.  The world is full of people who had to leave abusive situations in the middle of the night with their families and not much else, with too many folks who lost everything in fires, or with just folks who barely have enough to scrape by, where a little random kindness goes a long, long way.)  From now till the end of the holidays, we will be gathering games for the Alameda Woman’s shelter.  When people need to get out of dangerous situations, they grab the kids and some clothes and go, they don’t wait to grab toys and games.  But when they are out, they have kids that are scared and displaced, so if there was ever a time to find some ability to get your mind off things and connect and laugh a little bit, that is it.  It’s one of the places where a small bit of random kindness can have a huge amount of impact.  We aren’t gonna be able to be cheaper then the online folks, but we can absolutely be kinder. 😉

Investing in Face to face (vs face to screen:
As we find our kids (and ourselves) getting more and more drawn into the siren’s call of the screens, it requires more and more effort to establish the patterns of seeing the smiles in each other’s eyes, not the emoji’s of them, of actually LOL (you know laughing out loud is actually better when it’s, well, out loud.).  I know I own a game shop, and my job is to sell games, but the real reason I like it is because games are a great excuse for people to connect with each other.
For parents, the sooner you can establish the regular game night, the more it will weather through the great cell battle to come.  And a big recommendation on my part is that you get a bucket/basket and make a big deal of dropping your phones in before you start. (set up an auto-response or send out a message to those trying to get through to you that you are offline except for emergencies during that time.  It’s the best way to model that there are times when it’s ok to let the flow of social media know that you are out of touch for a little bit.  It will pay off later.)  We have a bunch of games that are co-op…i.e. everybody together against the game that are good for different ages playing together.  And one of the best thing is one of the Legacy games.  These are board games that actually change with what happens every-time you play, so instead of “what will we play tonight” it becomes “what is gonna happen next?”.  A lot of these games work great for couples too.

We don’t tend to stock a million games, but we are pretty careful about the ones we pick and we have a number that we are putting in the spotlight this year that we stocked up on.

Advice gift guide for Magic/pokemon

Gift Guide

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

D20 Recommended Games

Recommended games  Who is it good for
Planet All , Families Image result for planet gameFrom the makers of Dr. Eureka and Photosynthesis comes a game that is like a 3d puzzle version of King domino (another recommended game)…simple yet pretty interesting.   see video review here  
Godsforge Tweens and up…anyone who likes MTG Godsforge Godsforge was Ben’s fav game at the last big game store owners show.  It’s kind of like Magic meets Yatzee. Extremely well designed and just a ton of fun.  Extremely highly recommended and a great game for magic players when you don’t know what they already have.
Tiny Towns Adults, Famlies, Party This is one of the first games I’ve seen where people can just enter and leave the game without it being a problem. Sort of like town building Tertris, the goal is to get the best score by making interesting combos of buildings with the block that the next person in line picks in turn. Want a better score, stick around a do another card.  Need to go check the pies, let someone else hop in.  The game is great and it is easy to imagine it being played by different people all day, with the top score on the fridge whiteboard.
Cover Your Kingdom (Cover your Assets follow on) All Image result for cover your kingdomWhen the all time fav game in the store (Cover Your Assets) gets an “absurdly ruthless spinoff”, you think it isn’t going on our recommended list?  Preview here 
Trekking the National Parks All
Mice and Mystics All Image result for mice and mystics Redwall meets self running D&D in this coop family game that is great to play with parents and kids together. More info here and here 
Coop games/Legacy Games 
Dark Souls Board Game
Mansions of Madness
Hogwarts Battles
Gloomhaven
Terraforming Mars

 

On Sale Reg Price Sale Price
Ogre $
Terraforming Mars

 

 

Thanksgiving Sales: Relax…go play…we’ll be here- ;-)

Enough…Thanksgiving is for being with people, not shopping….

(This is a mostly a repost…but hey…we’ve been doing the same thing every year)

New this year….We not be offering any savings for our sales this year…we’re doing Givings instead.  Instead of trying to out cheap Amazon, we’re opting for going for being good people.  There has been way too much of the opposite in the world these days.  And the best way I know to deal with selfishness and bullying is with fierce kindness.    So from now till the end of the holiday season, I’m gonna ask that you save a little chunk of your gift $$ to spend with us, and in exchange,  when you buy gifts from us, together we will give more gifts for those who are a little short of random kindness.  Spend $50 or more, put a $10 gift into the big box, $100 and put up to a $20 gift, etc.   We have a bunch of great games and goodies that we’ve hand picked for the holidays, including good games for getting everyone off of screens for both thanksgiving and the rest of the holidays.

We are Closed for Thanksgiving…Open at 1pm  on Friday the 29th. (maybe earlier depending on when I can get back…but that will be bonus.)

Black Friday =Family Friday
Every year. I do my traditional Thanksgiving thing, and stand up against the marketing Tsunami  and become a foolish business guy. 

I’m not going to be part of the industry that has done such an amazing job of implanting in our minds that it is SHOPPING time, that we have forgotten that this is a day where our family/friends have often traveled a big distance, are together and don’t have to go to work.   Don’t go shopping on Friday (or Thursday night, etc).  Not in the stores, not on line, none of it.

Go play!!!  Sure, I’m the board game guy, so that’s my auto suggestion, but go for a walk, hike, de-dust the football (and stretch first..those of us who’s memories of being 12 are a few times older then being 12.)  But go goof with each other, and have some (gasp) fun!  Relax, go back to the leftovers a bunch of times when no one is looking. Or just chill out.

I’m not saying we don’t want and need yer business.  We absolutely do.  Competing with the near cost prices of Amazon means that every sale from customers who appreciate that we are creating a home for community more then anything else is absolutely key for us.  (So save some of your gift money to spend with us).  But it does mean that I’m not going to make my sales last 45 minutes so you have no choice but to leave the house in order to get them.  We’ll be doing sales all week , but we’ll base them on how many we need to sell at that price so, you can come in this weekend, or next week, etc.

Our big thing is to make sure that we listen and can point you to things that will actually be fun to play and make people happy.  (And no fake reviews either.  Ok…that was a little shot at Amazon…couldn’t help myself.)

Coming…list to a page of our recommended gifts for this year, as well as any other special stuff.  But for right now, just think about special stuffing.  (Ok…if you come into the store today, you can get some great games to play over the holiday.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Throne Of Edraine : Who you calling a Gingerbread Man?

Throne of Eldraine

Throne of Eldraine

Prince Charming vs. the Gingerbread man?  Yep!  In this new set, you get to adventure in Fairytale land, till the quest is complete or your golden goose gets cooked. (Yeah, I went there…I have in will continue to assert my store owner given rights to tell really bad dad puns at will.) 

The set looks super fun, with enough different fairytale mythologies to give Shrek a run for it’s (gingerbread cookies.)  The new mechanics include

  • Beanstalk GiantAdventure, which is a creature that has an option of casting the adventure(an instant or sorcery, and then later casting the creature part from exile.
  •  Adamant: where casting something with lots of a particular color land isn’t required, but sure gives some nice bonuses. 
  • Food:  This created artifact always has the ability to pay 2 and gain 3 life, but can also be used to feed the effects of other cards in the set. 

    Note:  This will be the second time we are adding prerelease events to the Firday as well.  The first one is an event for kids 14 and younger starting at 3 pm (It’s ok to be a little later…they have between 3-4 to build their decks).  And we are doing an adult (14 and older, at 7:30).  Even though we are running more events, we have the same limit on the number of prerelease kits.  This  way, there is more space for the players over the whole weekend. (So sign up in advance as much as you can.  As usual, online sales end an hour before the events start.)

The new events. 

A Friday 3pm Jr. sealed that is aimed at kids 16 and younger. (We are doing the standard Date Night Magic rules that adults can play, but any prize they would win playing against kids goes to the kids)

And a 7:30 pm Grown Up (17+) only event that will be a little more expensive, but have double prizes.

Both of these events will be 3 rounds, win a round, win a pack (two in the case of the adult event).


 

Magic Core 2020 : Angels, Demons, Dragons & Knights (oh, and Leylines

Core 2020

 

Core 2020

The biggest news with the Core 2020 set is that they have changed the rules for the Prereleases and we can now do events on the Friday.  So we’ve added two events.  That also means a big change in terms of the number of people in each event.  We are going to limit the number of people in each of the events over the weekend more then usual.  We are running more events, but have the same limit on the number of prerelease kits we have,  and this way, there is more space for the players over the whole weekend. So sign up in advance as much as you can.  As usual, online sales end an hour before the events start.

The new events. 

A Friday 3pm Jr. sealed that is aimed at kids 16 and younger. (We are doing the standard Date Night Magic rules that adults can play, but any prize they would win playing against kids goes to the kids)

And a 7:30 pm Grown Up (17+) only event that will be a little more expensive, but have double prizes.

Both of these events will be 3 rounds, win a round, win a pack (two in the case of the adult event).


 

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