Games

Magic Mystery Loot bags

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

As usual, call first to make sure I’m around . We (I) will get ready to bring it for curbside when you get here. Hours are whenever I’m here, so just call.

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…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So why is Yugioh Banned at D20 Games, anyway?

I just got an email from someone looking for a place to have his 12 year old son to come and play Yugioh, and I was about to tell him the tale of why it is banned at the store, and why I recommend steering him away from Yugioh when I realized that it’s been a long time since I told the story and it was probably worth putting it where everybody could see.

Yugioh is one of the big collectible card games, and was a pretty big part of the store when I acquired it back in 2011.  We would get 40-60 people coming in on Sundays, and it represented about 1/3 the business of the store.  But I gave it a partial ban in 2012, followed by a complete ban after we had the big break in that almost killed the store.

The day D20 was broken into

So Why Ban Yugioh?

So with all due modesty, I’m a good guy, and have a firm but gentle touch with people, including tweens and teens. (I used to teach Karate to kids.)  I can pull people aside and talk to them about behaviors that are not ok without shaming them or making them feel angry or resentful. And I spent a lot of time getting to know the community, participating and getting to know the individual players.  But our Yugioh days contained 90% of the trouble we had at the store. It seemed any deck or cards left attended would be stolen the moment someone’s back was turned, we had a huge amount of issues with people taking advantage of others in trades, bad language and people getting really angry, sometimes to the point of fights over games.

After the break in, I went to a big conference of game store owners from around the country and was shocked to find out that the problems we had had were present at stores as far away as Philadelphia, and were only with Yugioh.  I spent a long time trying to figure out why this was…it was just a game, after all.  Finally I came to a theory, and the more I’ve thought about it, the more I became convinced it is correct.   There seems to be a fundamental design flaw in the game end’s up not only fostering, but training bad behaviors.  Those have become part of the tone/culture of poor behavior/ethics that riddles the Yugioh community.

Yugioh-Magic “fixed”?:  Yugioh was invented by a guy that was an old Magic player.  He hated the idea of what’s called set rotation. (Basically, only the last couple of years of cards are used in the most common competitive format.)  He wanted all the cards that were created in his game to be used all the time. The problem with that has to do with the nature of collectible card games.  See the cool part of these games is that there are basic rules, but the new cards get to introduce new rules that change the game.  That’s really great, but as you get more and more rules, if you aren’t careful, you get combos of the card that just came out with a card from 5 years ago that becomes powerful enough to break the game.   Games like Magic the Gathering and Pokemon spend a huge amount of time looking out for these kinds of combos, but Yugioh doesn’t do quite as good a job.  Add that by having all the cards available to play with, after a few years the game started to be defined by these game breaking combos.  What it meant was the best decks don’t just win, they utterly crush not so great decks.

Badly training the Young; So here is where things start to go wrong.  Imagine you are a 8 or 9 year-old, taking your first deck to go play with your buddies at school.  You don’t just lose, you get crushed.  You go home to your parents, tears in your eyes from the humiliation.  If your parents have means, they come to a store like we used to be and buy better cards so they don’t have to see that look again.  If not, the kid has several choices.

  • “This game is stupid, I’m not playing it anymore”.  Probably a good choice, but kids aren’t usually wired that way.
  • Trade for better cards.  This seems good on the surface, but the cards they need are worth many, many times what the cards they have are worth.  So they end up learning, at a pretty early age, to take advantage of less knowledgeable players.  This is something we deal with directly in all of the collectible card games, and when a kid gets taken advantage of, they can either decide to talk advantage of the next person or to never make anyone else feel as bad as they do now.  It is one of the fundamental building blocks to becoming an honest person or not.
  • Stealing: See the deck that beat them in the kids backpack….

This isn’t the majority of kids that end up down a bad path, but it is enough that starts to seriously influence the ethics of the community.   There are a couple of additional things about the game that complete the story.

  • Lotto Packs.  All collectible card games have the “oh, what’s in this one” aspect that has been part of collectible cards since baseball cards.  It’s true of Magic, Pokemon, etc. But Yugioh is an extreme with this.  It was well known that of a box of 24 packs had about 8 that were were worth anything at all.  It was totally common to watch people open packs, look for the ultra rare and throw the rest of the pack out if it wasn’t there.  With this level of gambling mentality, it affects how people view the ethics of trading.
  • Turn one win fury:  With all the combos that could win the game running around, it becomes almost a coin flip to see who finds their combo first.  If you’ve spent hundreds of dollars on your deck and your opponent gets his combo out first and locks you down, people tend to get, shall we say, cranky.  This is why we had so many near fights during tournaments.
  • “Dealing” trading cards:  Because the cards that make these auto win combos are so critical in playing, they become fairly valuable.  Add this to the culture of it being ok to take advantage of other people during trades, and you get people that are acting almost like the not so great version of dealers with the valuable cards.
  • Unclear Rules=different kind of players. The unspoken truth of the kids who really learn to play Pokemon and the Magic players is that it tends to attract fairly intelligent people.  Trying to figure out how to make different rules work together is a super interesting and challenging thing to do.  The rules on the Yugioh cards can be so difficult to understand and obscure that instead of people figuring out their own cool things, they hear from someone else how that new cool deck work.  That means that you get a fairly large percentage of the community that plays just for the chance to beat each other, or to try and make money off their wheeling and dealing for cards.   There is often a more aggressive group of players that joins then what you would imagine would be attracted to playing a non gambling card game.

Not all Yugioh Players are bad, but enough: I’m not saying that this affects everyone, or even the majority of players. But it does change the tone of the community, the ethics and how they treat each other.  I believe this enough that even though Yugioh was a full third of my business, I made the decision, as both a store owner and a father to ban the game utterly from the store.  This was not something I did lightly or without a great deal of thought and consideration. Not only no sales, but no Yugioh cards are allowed at the store, and I actively do my best to encourage kids away from playing the game. I’m sorry for the good folks who like the game, but after 5 years, I have never regretted it, and to answer a frequently asked question, will never bring it back to the store.  (I could use my access to sell it online and make a decent profit, but once I believed it was a bad influence, as a dad, I couldn’t do even that.)

But my kid wants to play Yugioh: For parents who’s kids (frequently Pokemon players who are looking to move on) are getting interested in Pokemon, I would strongly suggest gentle urging towards Magic instead. (You can bring them in and I’ll provide parental support.  I may be the Peanuts “wah, wah” parents to my own kids, but for other kids, I’m the guy behind the counter at D20.  I can use that bully pulpit to help with this so they don’t just end up seeing it as forbidden fruit.)   Magic was the first of the games, and has the good stuff of the collectible card games, (social interaction, really using your brain, etc.) without that level of negative side effects. Probably the best feature is they can do what is called limited play. (Basically show up and do events where they play with the cards from the packs they get as part of the event.  Everyone starts even, and it is a chance for them to play with the packs they collect.  There are even team events that can be played with a buddy or even parent.)  You still want to make sure they trade fair, and are get interested in the playing, not just opening packs, but it’s a good choice I have no problem recommending.  Tell you the truth, I hesitated talking publicly about my observations about Yugioh, because I didn’t want that to get generalized unfairly to the rest of the collectible card games.

D20 Games-Intro to D&D for Parents (and others)

By Ben Calica

This guide is designed as a simple, English translation for parents, significant others, and just those who felt curious as to what the heck D&D is all about.  We run D&D Encounters at D20 Games these days, and I’m old enough to have played the game with the first white books back in the mid 70s.  I’m also a dad of tween twin boys and a daughter who’s three years younger, so I can do the kid to parent translation pretty well. 😉

What is D&D?  Dungeons & Dragons is the game the popularized role playing.  Created in the mid-70’s,D&D was unique in casting one of the players in the role of the Dungeon Master.  A person who both kept the secrets of the world that the other players were trying to discover, and acted as a living interpreter of the rules, allowing players to try all sorts of creative solutions to problems they encounter, and not be limited by only what the original game creators set down on paper.  This was quite literally a game-changer, in that it really allowed people to use their imaginations to inhabit characters that they created and moved through the world.  It works best when the players access the freedom of their 8-12 year old selves and create characters that are ones they would have chosen to play on a playground.  (BTW…those of us who were around for the first round of this remember the media frenzy over kids in the sewers doing horrible things.  That was more made up then the game.  The truth was it was a bunch of us utterly harmless little nerd boys and girls being imaginative in the basement of our parents houses.)

D20

D20s-The rolls at the heart of role playing.  The D20 that is the name of our store refers to 20-sided dice, and are the key to most role playing games.  As much control as the Dungeon Master needs to have over the world that he/she is slowly unveiling, if they end up as the autocrat that just tells a story without any possibility of success or failure outside of what is ordained by them, the game becomes either stale or feels unfair.  Instead, based on a characters developing abilities  the Dungeon Master either consults pre-created tables of possibilities for certain types of actions (attacking with a sword, jumping out of the way of a dragon’s fire breath, getting a good nights sleep without being discovered by some roving band of creepy creatures), or makes their best guess for some creative idea a player has, and assigns a number that they must beat for that to succeed.  “I want to use my special agility to do a back-flip over my friends head to the back of the group.”  “Ok…you need to roll an 18 to make that happen.  Since you have extra agility bonus..you get to add 4 to whatever you roll.  Roll a d20!”  It is the mix of imagination and estimated chance that is the heart of what makes role playing games ongoing fun, and a story that even the Dungeon Master doesn’t know how will play out.

D&D as avengers


18 again, the birth of a character.
  The other key part of what makes role playing games fun, is the birth and evolution of your character.  A few different methods can be used, from the genetic randomness of rolling dice to determine the basic DNA of your character.  Are they quick  smart, wise, strong charming, or tough, or some combo of the above.  The first method involved rolling three six sided dice for each attribute, and then figuring out based on what you got what that character would be.

For example right now I’ll roll out one to show you.ac-muppets

Well…obviously this guy is going to be hiding in the back of the group, not swinging anything bigger then a stick.  But…with those Wisdom and Intelligence scores, looks like we might have a wizard or kind of skinny healer.
Using the more popular method of rolling 4 6-sided dice and throwing out the lowest one, we get a little better result.

This guy (or gal), could end up as a thief, or bard, or ranger, whose dexterity will make a bow sing in their hands.  How the characters start out is only the birth, because as they go out in the world and experience interesting things, they gain, well, experience.  and that experience directly leads to them increasing their levels, and with each of those new levels, their skills, toughness and abilities increase, so that the monsters that almost destroyed them in that first week of play, go running from them a few sessions later.  The greater the risks, the greater the rewards in terms of experience points AND goodies that they find along the way.  But those risks are very real (in the world of the game), in that if the hit points of your character (A number created based on your level, constitution, and what profession your character chooses), gets knocked down in battle to 0, then your character, well, dies.  Most often in the early levels, your playing buddies (your group), will drag you back to town, and find a sufficiently powerful healer to bring you back.  But that gets increasingly expensive both in terms of gold you’ve been able to collect, and eventually costing you some of those experience points you’ve been working so hard to gather.  Plus that fact that during the rest of that particular adventure, when the DM asks each character what they want to do next, the answer from you is “lying in the corner…still dead.”

DnD_Character_SheetThe DM–The guy that gets to have fun by not playing the whole time:  The Dungeon Master, or DM, has a very important and sometimes tricky role.  It is their  job to have either created or familiarized themselves with the world and adventure that the players are going to encounter.  They need to keep things moving at a good pace so people keep having fun in the world, and they have to strike a very careful balance between making the world so easy to defeat that there is no sense of real risk or drama, and making it so tough that the players feel like they are spending half their time trudging back to town to get resurrected   They need to make puzzles that are solvable, but hard enough to be challenging, and they need to be open to the players creativity taking the story in a direction they didn’t anticipate. Common mistakes are to become the great and powerful OZ, manipulating the players into doing things they really don’t want to do, or being seen as vindictive and mean..being the enemy of the players, as opposed to their guide to a world they have never encountered.   The best DM’s enjoy the story being told and it’s telling, and are open to knowing that the player’s creativity is a huge part of what makes that story fun for everybody, including them.

Pathfinder_RPG_Core_Rulebook_coverD&D vs. Pathfinder.  Both of these games were born from the original D&D.  While many people were kind of mad about D&D 4.0 (kind of an attempt to turn D&D into World of Warcraft) they redeemed themselves with 5th edition. It honors the best part of role playing games, the, well, role playing. Pathfinder is a game made by a different company that was founded by a number of people who used to work on D&D an has stayed very much in the spirit of the original D&D.  The reality is that both of these are brothers in spirit, and you can’t really go wrong with either.  There are also a host of other genres of role-playing that have been born from the same basic ideas and that speak to the different 8-12 year-olds in each of us.

Special notes from one parent to another:  First off…most any game that gets people face to face instead of screen to screen is a good thing.  Second, the game is jam packed with creative problem solving and social skills building opportunities.  The books are expensive (in the $30-40 range) and they will read them to the point of seeming obsession, but what is happening is that they are using the possibilities in the books to load themselves up with tools to solve problems when they play as well as doing creative thinking in their heads about what they could become.  The games can go from a couple of hours a time, to 2 in the morning when they get older.  It is the, “let’s just see what is behind that next door” that create that.    Obviously, the timing issues are different based on the age of the kid.

It takes a lot to get a group of kids together on a regular basis to play, and once a game is going and gets healthy it is worth encouraging.  Despite whatever “Revenge of the nerds” preconceptions there are about people who play, the reality is that the people who are drawn to the game do tend to be disproportionately bright, mostly because they don’t like the constraints that standard games place on their creativity.  The groups also tend to provide good social support.  The characters they create have different specific  ethical rules, and it is important for the player to stay true to those rules, making for a great chance to explore and understand those. For the kids who are bright but have social skills challenges, the role playing stuff is wonderful, both because it provides some set of written rules for social interactions, and because usually the DM provides a level of moderation for social issues that come up that makes the sessions mini-social skills groups wrapped in a big spoonful of sugar.

D20 Hot Game List…

D20 Hot Game List:
  • Back in stock…4 copies of Xanthar’s Guide to Everything–the special Edition!!!Image result for xanathar's guide to everything
  • Harry Potter Hogwart’s Battle-Cooperative Deck Building Game: We’ve sold through 3 orders of this great cooperative deckbuilding game that has you take the role of Harry or his buddies to battle to keep the minions of he who should…well you know the rest, from taking over different locations before finally defending the school itself.  SOLD OUT
  • Potion Explosion:  My favorite find at this year’s Comicon.  This game features a real life bejeweled affect 
  • Evolution,Evolution Flight, and Evolution Climate Change.  The first Evolution is one of our staff picks, a great game where you are trying to evolve the most species, eat the most food, or go carnivore  eat the most of your opponents
  • Star Trek Ascendancy…an amazing game where
    Star Trek Ascendancy

    players chose one of (currently) three factions from the Star Trek myhos and go exploring the galaxy in their own particular, how do you say, style. (The Federation gets their success from exploration, the Klingon’s can, literally, not back down from any chance at glorious combat, and the Romulans, slip around, not letting you know which way they decide to go.

  • The Pandemic folks have a slate of 3 great offerings beyond their normal great coop “Let’s keep the world cured and happy, despite itself” race against unpredictable time game.  Pandemic Iberia just came in yesterday.  And Pandemic Cthulhu is a great variation that  uses the same game play pattern, but somehow feels like a whole new, and very fun game.  And then there is probably my fav. game from last year, Pandemic Legacy.  Legacy games are this new concept that basically says “what if what happened in the board game we just played today stuck with the game forever…like the board changed, the rules changed, the world changed.” It’s not only super fun, but is one of the best games ever for building a regular game night.  There are twelve sealed packets or boxes in the game that get opened each subsequent time you play, so instead of “what should we play tonight” you get “man, what’s going to happen next?!?”  Just great…
  • Kill Doctor Lucky:  This is a great game that was out of print until the creator finally hammer-locked the rights back from an utterly disengaged publisher. It’s the exact opposite of Clue….take a minute and let that process. 😉  Yep, instead of trying to find the homicidal miscreant, you are trying to get alone with the wandering doctor where no one can witness your evil doings and grab those honors for yourself.
  • On top of all those, there are new versions/add-ons for
  • And honorable mentions to:
    • Fuse
    • Dr. Eureka-A fast and fun game where the “pour” can inherit the game….(it’s a great Dad pun….just gotta know the game)
    • Compoundedcomp_box
    • Mice and Mystics (back in stock)–great self running D&D game

 

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

 

D20 Hot Game List…

D20 Hot Game List:
  •  

    Harry Potter Deck Building Game

    Harry Potter Hogwart’s Battle-Cooperative Deck Building Game: We’ve sold through 3 orders of this great cooperative deckbuilding game that has you take the role of Harry or his buddies to battle to keep the minions of he who should…well you know the rest, from taking over different locations before finally defending the school itself.

  • Evolution,Evolution Flight, and Evolution Climate Change.  The first Evolution is one of our staff picks, a great game where you are trying to evolve the most species, eat the most food, or go carnivore  eat the most of your opponents
  • Star Trek Ascendancy…an amazing game where
    Star Trek Ascendancy

    players chose one of (currently) three factions from the Star Trek myhos and go exploring the galaxy in their own particular, how do you say, style. (The Federation gets their success from exploration, the Klingon’s can, literally, not back down from any chance at glorious combat, and the Romulans, slip around, not letting you know which way they decide to go.

  • The Pandemic folks have a slate of 3 great offerings beyond their normal great coop “Let’s keep the world cured and happy, despite itself” race against unpredictable time game.  Pandemic Iberia just came in yesterday.  And Pandemic Cthulhu is a great variation that  uses the same game play pattern, but somehow feels like a whole new, and very fun game.  And then there is probably my fav. game from last year, Pandemic Legacy.  Legacy games are this new concept that basically says “what if what happened in the board game we just played today stuck with the game forever…like the board changed, the rules changed, the world changed.” It’s not only super fun, but is one of the best games ever for building a regular game night.  There are twelve sealed packets or boxes in the game that get opened each subsequent time you play, so instead of “what should we play tonight” you get “man, what’s going to happen next?!?”  Just great…
  • Seafall: So speaking of Legacy Games….the next game from the one of the co-creators of Pandemic Legacy’s next game is a legacy game on the high seas.  We only have two of these in stock, so call if you want one.
  • Web of Spies:  So out of the blue, the creator of this game dropped one off to see if we might want to Image result for web of spiescarry it.  That I called him back as soon as I could and ordered twelve, should give you a notion of how much we liked it.  This is a blend of Star Realms like deck-building with a Risk like hunting down of the five spies of each of your opponents.
  • Kill Doctor Lucky:  This is a great game that was out of print until the creator finally hammer-locked the rights back from an utterly disengaged publisher. It’s the exact opposite of Clue….take a minute and let that process. 😉  Yep, instead of trying to find the homicidal miscreant, you are trying to get alone with the wandering doctor where no one can witness your evil doings and grab those honors for yourself.
  • On top of all those, there are new versions/add-ons for
  • And honorable mentions to:
    • Fuse
    • Dr. Eureka-A fast and fun game where the “pour” can inherit the game….(it’s a great Dad pun….just gotta know the game)
    • Compoundedcomp_box
    • Legendary-Firefly and Big Trouble Little China
    • Mice and Mystics (back in stock)–great self running D&D game
    • and, yes, Apex…a well reviewed Dinosaur based Deck building game.

 

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″
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