Games

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″

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

Zombie Conspiracy – A D20 Special

Zombie Conspiracy is A D20 homebrew special game.  We took Conspiracy, Wizards special multiplayer drafting set, and blatantly messed with the rules to make a game that is perfect for 3-6 buddies who just want to spend a couple of hours cheerfully womping the heck out of each other without all the waiting between rounds and not getting to play with yer buddies of regular magic.  Conspiracy was a cool idea, a draft format that not only was designed to play with 3-6 people all in one big group, but also had cards that messed around with the draft.

So here is the thing….We really liked the idea of Conspiracy…but when we played it there were a couple of things that just weren’t that much fun.

The first problem we found that was that as much fun as it was to play, if you spent all that time drafting a cool deck and got knocked out in the first ten minutes, it didn’t just make you “ah, I’ll get you back” mad, more the “don’t sleep with both eyes closed anymore, because I will kill you in your sleep” mad.  Second was what we call in Commander, the Fluffy Bunny Syndrome….people tending to hang out, doing their best “Don’t mind me, I’m just a harmless little bunny” impressions, trying to be the least threatening person at the table while waiting for enough stuff to come out to do their alpha strike.  Boring….

Enter Zombie Land—How our version works is that you get points for knocking out other players and if you are knocked out then, well, you rise from the dead and come back in.  We’ve played it a bunch and it works great.

How it works

  • 1 point for each other player you knock out.  You get a bonus of one if you never get knocked out.
  • If you get knocked out, you pick 2 lands to put in play and then take 3 rebuilding (no attacking or interacting with other players) turns and come back in. (If your turn comes up before you are back to rebuild, skip it until it comes back to you so other players don’t have to wait.)
  • Being milled out does not count as a kill unless you directly force the player to draw that last card.
  • The game goes on for 1-1:30 hours, depending on players preference (and how long the store is open.)  Players with the top half scores get bonus packs from a pool of 1 pack per player.

 

About Conspiracy.

Conspiracy Video

What are the Cards?

The Mechanics of the new set

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.)

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.)

Tiny Leaders-A new Magic format….

Welcome to Tiny Leaders.   We will be playing the format during Tiny Leaders Thursdays.

This is a new format of magic created by Bramwell Tackaberry (who still maintains a Facebook group dedicated to the format… in the spirit of Commander, but designed as a 1 on 1 format instead of for group games.

Here is the summary of the big rules:

Uses Commander rules-except:

  1. 50 card decks (including a “commander”)
  2. Cards must have converted mana cost (add up the total mana cost) of no more then 3.
  3. Players start with 25 life.
  4. 10 card sideboard-decks must stay at exactly 50 cards
  5. Best 2 of 3 game matches.
  6. Ignore Commander Damage rules
The Banned List: Our list is still undergoing changes, but the cards currently present are:
  • Ancestral Recall
  • Balance
  • Black Lotus
  • Black Vise
  • Channel
  • Chaos Orb
  • Contract From Below
  • Counterbalance
  • Darkpact
  • Demonic Attorney
  • Demonic Tutor
  • Earthcraft
  • Edric, Spymaster of Trest
  • Falling Star
  • Fastbond
  • Goblin Recruiter
  • Hermit Druid
  • Imperial Seal
  • Jeweled Bird
  • Karakas
  • Library of Alexandria
  • Mana Crypt
  • Mana Drain
  • Mana Vault
  • Metalworker
  • Mind Twist
  • Mishra’s Workshop
  • Mox Emerald, Jet, Pearl, Ruby, and Sapphire
  • Necropotence
  • Painter’s Servant
  • Shahrazad
  • Skullclamp
  • Sol Ring
  • Strip Mine
  • Survival of the Fittest
  • Sword of Body and Mind
  • Time Vault
  • Time Walk
  • Timetwister
  • Timmerian Fiends
  • Tolarian Academy
  • Umezawa’s Jitte
  • Vampiric Tutor
  • Yawgmoth’s Will
Additionally, these Legendary creatures cannot be used as Commanders:
  • Derevi, Empyrial Tactician
  • Erayo, Soratami Ascendant
  • Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary
Play Rules: There are no “free” mulligans.  Tiny Leaders uses the standard “Pairs mulligan” rule: the player shuffles his or her hand into their library and draws one fewer card than their last hand, a player may not mulligan a hand with 0 cards
If a commander would be put into a graveyard from anywhere or exiled from anywhere (so long as it is face-up or a player can look at it face down,) it’s owner may choose to put it in the command zone.
Each time you cast your commander, the next time you cast it from your command zone, it will cost (2) colourless mana more to play.Format Exclusive Cards: Three generals are available for use, to fill the colour identity holes left by no legendary creature existing with that colour identity and mana cost.

1. Mardu [Legendary Creature] WBR (2/2)
2. Sultai [Legendary Creature] UBG (2/2)
3. Jeskai [Legendary Creature] WUR (2/2)

 

Parents back to school Guide for Trading Card Games

Or how to send your kid off to school with their beloved trading cards and get both back happy and whole…

Private Note to (fellow) Parents: Ok…now that school is back in session, a few parent to parent bits of advice about collectible card games during the school year.  

First…what are TCG’s (Trading card games)?  Imagine making a game with baseball cards, where the what’s on the card can affect the game.  The games are played by putting together decks of cards to battle each other.

What is good about the games (from a parent standpoint?) If you strip down the fantasy elements and pictures, what you get is math, logic, motivated reading and a chance to get the kids face to face, not face to screen.   They are also great motivators for getting homework, chores and other needed carrots to counterbalance our sticks. See our other post, the Guide to Trading Card Games, for the full skinny.  But the rest of this is specifically to help us parents in understanding the deal, and getting ahead of potential issues that might come up.    (You may notice that we don’t include Yugioh in our list of these games. Yugioh is a very popular game, but we do not encourage kids to play it, and in fact have banned it at D20 Games, something we did not do lightly.)

  1. source chzbgr.com

    Trading Issues: 80% of issues between kids that come up with kids at school regarding cards have to do with what end up being unfair (either intentional or unintentional) trades between the kids. Some of these cards can be worth real money, and nothing makes a kid feel worse then discovering that an older or more experience player took advantage of them.  As we say to the kids: there is no piece of paper that is worth a friend.

    We have three specific bits of advice for the kids regarding this:

    • Trade-backs are ALWAYS ok.. Make sure that your kid understands to always make the agreement that it is ok to trade back cards within a week or so, provided that the cards are still in the same shape, This way, if they go back home and find out that it was a bad deal, like they got pressured, or if they just want their cards back, they can do it.
    • Check prices if you aren’t sure;  For Magic cards, we use Channelfireball.com for our pricing (though we do $1 min for rares and .50 for other cards). Or for Pokemon (and if you aren’t sure) you can always look on eBay. (BTW..always look at Sold listings, not regular.  You can see what people really buy things for.)  For Pokemon, we use the Sold listings on Ebay.
    • If bad trades happen, remember the feeling, and be a good guy: No matter what you do, there will come a point where there is a rotten trade that will make your kid feel just horrible.  Believe it or not, this is a key (and good) moment for them to have under your care. They have the choice next time to take advantage of someone like they were taken advantage of, or to make sure to never make someone else feel the way they felt.
  2. Avoiding Stolen stuff at school:  Kids will want to bring in their cards to both play with other kids and to show off their good cards.  Inevitably, when they aren’t looking, something will disappear, and much badness and sadness will ensue. A few ways to avoid this are the following.
    • Names in deck boxes….make sure to put enough info not only on the outside,but on the inside to make sure the decks can get back to you guys. (The outside tends to rub off)
    • Card sleeves…These cost about $4 and not only protect the cards (and keep decks from disappearing into the big mush of cards back home) but keep kids cards from getting mixed up with the person they are playing with. It also provides quick identification if a card starts walking away.
    • Side-Loading Binders:  Lots of kids bring their good cards in the same box as their deck. What happens is that while they are playing a game, someone comes over to look at their trades, and while the kid is distracted, a card or two gains feet.   Bringing in a small binder for the trades/show off cards is a better idea. We strongly advise getting binders that have what are called side-loading pages.  Rather then putting in the cards in slots in the top, and having the turn it over, dump out problem, these go in from the sides in a way that doesn’t fall out.  More importantly it is kind of tricky to get the cards out, making it MUCH more obvious if someone is being a little light fingered.  Remember, just as with the deck boxes, make sure there is enough info somewhere inside the binder to get them back to you.
  3. Keeping Score:  A huge number of silly fights happen between kids because they try and keep the score for the games in their heads. At some point, inevitably, you will get the “but you are at 6!  No, I’m at 13 argument that leaves each kid thinking the other is a lying jerk. Paper, Dice or even some special deckboxes with score wheels built in are a great solution to this.
  4. Losing is just fine: Reminding kids that every time they lose, they learn something new is great.  Kids will often get so tied up with the social value of winning that they get tempted to cheat, not really putting together how much worse the rep they will get for cheating.
  5. Packs are great homework/housework motivators.  Kids that are playing Pokemon or Magic are always seriously motivated by getting to open a new pack.  While my own kids may hear me with the “wah-wah” sound of a Peanuts parent, for other people, I’m the guy behind the counter at D20, a bully pulpit if there ever was one.  Give me a nod and I’m happy to back-up whatever you are working on.  Tying a pack a week to getting the homework done is a great way to do some positive motivation.  (We’re working on something more official as time goes on…keep tuned)

Guide to Tabletop Games# 2 Deck Building Games

 

If games like Magic and Pokemon (Trading Card Games) are games where you build a deck to go and play each other, deck builders are games where you start with tiny decks, and part of playing the game is competing to acquire the cards to make your deck better. Most people who like the trading card games end up really liking deck building games, though they may not realize it.  The other big difference with deck building games is that while there are usually expansions, there isn’t the collectible card component so when you buy the game, you are usually all set.

The standard mechanic in the game is to have a set of cards that are used to buy stuff(usually better cards that you then add to your deck)  and another that are used to defeat stuff (usually to gain you points).  A typical starting deck for these games is between 10-12, with have drawn and played each turn.  As soon as you acquire a new card, it goes into your discard pile, and when you’ve used all the cards you have, that pile is shuffled up and becomes your new deck.  The more cool stuff you acquire, the better your deck becomes. Another common feature of the games is that there tend to be factions of cards that help each other out, oh, and the really great cards tend to cost a lot more.  It is almost always a strategic struggle between decking to add cards that give you more of the getting stuff power vs. the attacking power.

The first major deck building game was the medieval themed Dominion back in 2008

Dominion

 

 

Other great deck building games include the Ascension series as well as the Marvel Legendary Deckbulder series.

Star_Realms_Game
Star Realms

The most recent (and store favorite) add to the game is Star Realms, which changes the attack stuff mechanic, to attack, well, the other players…very, very, very fun.

From Wired Review of Ascension

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.

 

 

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