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D20 Games 10th Anniversary Events start Aug 6th…

Ok, somehow, some way, we not only made it to 10 years of me having the store, but we also managed to survive last year!!!  So in August, we are gonna party like it’s… (ok..a little like it was last year, cause we are having to go back to masks indoors).

Big note…we’re gonna keep the events sized nice and small to make sure everyone has plenty of room, so sign up fast, cause these will go quickly once everyone knows they are there. If we have a lot of people who can’t get in, we’ll add more events if we possibly can.

Oh…and one more thing before we move onto the “what are we gonna do for the 10th anniversary month”.  We did finally get the bigger loan (eep).  But that means that we are really in need of some great people to help us do some major improvements for the store.  That includes installing a serious skylight/vent in the place, a great interior design/set design person to help us make the place interesting and gorgeous, and an electrician that can handle a very confusing bit of upgrade on an ancient system.  (If you know of any great electricians that also love magic, I’m willing to do some amazing bits of barter so we can make it happen.)  We also are looking to do some high quality after-school programs, so we are looking for great people who can run D&D adventures for kids, and someone to potentially run a chess program.  These are D20 kids we are talking about, so we are really looking for top notch folks, and we will be doing full livescan/background checks.

So what are we gonna do?
  1. Magic–Every weekend is a prerelease that we missed last year.  (we have more than we can stick into only one month, but this’ll get us started.  We are gonna do 13+ events, Jr. events, and events that are carefully mixed.  Fun, sure…but also keeping safe.  And we are gonna do giveaways for just a ton of promo cards…all winners this month.
    We are gonna bring back one of our all time fav events, Two Headed Giants.  This team version of Magic is perfect for buddies, couples, and parent-kid combos.  It is a great way to get to share something that you (or your potential partner) loves in a very low pressure kinda way. These will be Saturdays, Starting at 3 pm.  These will be with each of the “Prerelease” events till the last of the month when we do the higher cost Modern Horizons 2 events.  For that THG Sat, we are gonna bring back one of our all time most popular events, Fat Pack Wars.  (Each team has a member reach into the mystery box and pull out a pack that matches with a Fatpack from up to 7 years ago.  We make sure the number of packs reaches 10, and they open all of those to make their two decks to play together.  These could be Born of the Gods to Strixhaven…its all up to the fickle fingers of whoever pulls the pack.) (we will be bringing back single sales in the next week or so.  We are also looking to start playing modern, commander, and standard as well, but those will start in a bit.)
    (Oh yes…in terms of FNM…we are gonna hold on drafts until the safety settles down.  In its place will be the sealed events.)
  2. Pokemon…We are just working on getting packs in stock for the kids to buy that aren’t snapped up by the adult collectors.  We will bring back the Pokemon league in a month or two when it is safe.
  3. D&D..we will start doing regular events again after this month, but we will do some special events for the anniversary, including a special all day event on the last Sunday of the month.  This will have 4 tables of adventurers all working to an epic battle together at the end of the event.  We did this once before, but it was back in 2013, so I think we are good to repeat it. 😉  We are also extremely well stocked on dice and D&D goodies that have been sitting there, waiting for people to come back in the store and find them, including full dice made of actual gemstone/semi-precious stone.
  4. Board games... oh my do we have a bunch of games we’ve saved up.  We will have some serious quick sales on games from Cover your Assets to Gloomhaven.  Keep an eye on Facebook and the D20 Twitter feed for our equivalent to Blue light specials.  (if you’re a kid, ask your parents.  If you are a parent and don’t get the reference, don’t tell me so I won’t have to admit my age. 😉  We will also be having a used board game mega sale, as well as a return of the mystery game loot bags.

All kidding aside, we are incredibly grateful for people having helped us make it through all this.  Now we will really need your business on the regular as much as possible so we can truly survive, and pay off the loans etc that let us make it through. And it really is important to try and keep the family/friend game night as much as you can.  For those of us who are fighting the battle of keeping people face to face, not face to screen, it was a tough year.  But there were some cracks in families starting to see each other again, so I’m a big advocate for turning the night you toss the cel phones into a basket and play together into a regular habit.

(If you need to make room at home for more games, consider donating them to the women’s shelter or any number of the hospitals, etc.)

I’ve missed the hell out of seeing you all!
Warmly,
Ben (yer store owner dude)
Here are some of the events coming up this Month…

 

 

 

Open(ish), and doing MTG Events!-Real Reopening first Weekend in August.

We meant to reopen at the beginning of August to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the store.  But they went and released a new magic set that combined Magic and D&D so we snuck open early to be able to run some events.  We are doing events all through the weekend of July 24th.

So here is the scoop with magic events through the end of August:

  • We have missed 6(!!) in person prereleases during covid lockdown…we’re gonna do them all over the next month (and we will do them again till the next set comes out!
  • Starting on the last week in August when we do Core 2021 prerelease events all weekend.
  • Bringing back Two Headed Giant! This is my fav form of magic….great for buddies, couples and parent kid combos)

Keeping things safe. (really)

  • We’re gonna do Sealed instead of Draft for all events including FNM till the end of August. Both because we got all these fun prereleases we didn’t do, and because I want to be overly cautious and not have people passing cards around to each other.
  • Vaccination cards required for everyone 13+ for events in the store. I’m really not kidding about this. I’ve spent the last year an a half making choices to keep people safe, including waiting to open up.  I’m not gonna be a place where variants get a chance to bounce around.  Anyone who disagrees can feel free to email me and I will politely discuss it with them.
  • 12 and under and 13+ events.  Because there is no current way to get kids under 12 vaccinated, the best solution is to separate the events.  Each weekend there will be at least one event that will be set up for the younger crowd.  Adults (parents, etc) are welcome to attend, but will be advised to wear masks and MUST have their vaccination cards with them. PS, I  know there are a ton of kids that have both the skill and temperament to play with the adults…they will get to do so again when things settle down.
  • Smaller (but more) events.  To keep the airflow good and give people much more space between each other, we are going to do much smaller event sizes.  To help with making sure that no one shows up to not be able to play, we will have event tix available online.  (We’re trying a new POS, so this is gonna change in what it looks like, but not what happens.

Adventure in Forgotten Realms Events

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sooo Rusty (mini opening this weekend! Yay!?!)

Oh my god are we rusty at this!

So we are trying to do a dress rehearsal reopening for a prerelase of the new Magic set (the first blend of Magic and D&D).  Not only will this be the first time we are open beyond the length of a phone booth on end,  (Ha, figure that one out, ya rascally youngsters.) but it will be the first live/face to face events we’ve done since the shut down, sometime in the early ’50s.  Turns out that we have a new system that doesn’t work as well at the events as we thought, and the guys from Wizards had that new tournament system that came out after we closed that we have NEVER had a chance/need to use before.  We are working on getting the events for the weekend up and ready to go, but the first attempt did not work so well.

Opening Slooooowly (Practice open on the 16th…real open later in the month) :

We’ve been extremely slow to open, because what we do is perfectly designed to be bad for a pandemic. The soul of the store is getting people to play face to face, not face to screen.  But sitting down across from someone else 2-3 feet away, is kind of the very last thing that should reopen.  We closed early and never tried to push the limits because I knew that if someone came and said “you could keep your mom alive if you close your store for a couple of months” that I’d do that in a heartbeat. And if that was true, how could we not do the same for others.  I was very zen about it in the beginning, but became decently cranky when the time got extended because people where being willfully stupid. (I stay fairly neutral in my politics, but if anyone has been anti-mask, anti-vax, I’m more than slightly grumpy about that.*)

Yeah..right…I guess we didn’t say which year…

The other thing that slowed down our reopening was ironically the same loan that pretty much saved us.

We survived..(thanks to life rings tossed)

I won’t lie…it was a very close thing.  You guys kept me alive for the first 4 months or so with some awesome support via the loot bags.  Our landlord helped big time by cutting us a big break in the beginning  and then taking a hit by reducing our rent for most of the rest of the year. (Pain spread out between all of us made it possible for us to survive).

Keeping safe with curbside…

Right after Xmas was the closest moment.  I remember thinking that I didn’t know if we had enough money left to declare bankruptcy.  (That is something they never talk about…saving the money you need to declare you are out of money…sheesh.) We got two grants, one from the county that I didn’t even remember applying for, and another from the state, that meant we were probably going to be able to make it to the beginning of summer.  I’ll be honest…my zen started fading big time.  I started feeling depressingly depressed, to the point where I went for help. (Pretty hard to find a therapist.  For some reason they were in high demand at that time. )  I was diagnosed with “Adjustment Disorder, which basically means things are so spectacularly sucky that it finally really gets to you.  It was particularly good to go to the weekly meeting with the other small business owners in Alameda, if nothing else to know that all of us were feeling this way.  We were seeing something that we really loved and spent years building get chopped up like a Lego tower under the crashing butt of a falling baby brother.

Can I pay you Tuesday, for a remodeled store today?  (adventures in loan land.)

At the beginning of the year, the big lifeline came, in the form of a pretty good loan from the SBA.  It is sort of exactly the opposite of a retirement account, but I knew that right before the pandemic hit, we were starting to have our best year ever, and I might actually be able to turn the business into something that didn’t just need love, but something great that might actually be able to give me some of that love back.   We put together some plans to do upgrades for the store.  And then the worst best (best/worst?) thing happened.  In the new relief bill, there was a provision that would let us take 4x the original amount of the loan.  That changed everything, so we threw away the smaller plans and started working on the big upgrade.  I carefully responded within an hour of getting the letter saying I could apply for the added amount.  I found out a few weeks later that the email they sent had a bad mail to link that added a period and keep the response from getting to the right place.  It made me grumpy because it could be almost a month before they got to it instead of a few weeks.

The “nope…keep waiting” sign every day. ;-(

That was April 6th.  (For those counting at home, that is over 3 months ago.)  Turns out that those folks who got their applications in on those first couple of days, got their loans approved within a couple of weeks, but anyone who’s request came later got in line with what turned out to be 35 million plus overdue refunds, and a massively understaffed IRS who couldn’t actually do so much at home as everyone thought.  I call every week and try to be nice to the SBA folks just in case something actually gets sent.  What it has meant was that the big remodel that I was(am) planning to do is on hold, waiting…waiting…waiting…. (sigh…see, zen returned..sort of).

What’s next?

So this weekend we are going to (try and) run the events for the new Magic set.  And we are gonna have a few changes while we wait for the big upgrade to happen.

  • More events with less people in each.  (No more maxing out how many people we can have sit on the shelves with the elves.)
  •  Specific times for us to buy cards so we make sure we have enough people around to do it.
  • More specific events, including regular after school events. (Looking to add chess tournaments etc, more D&D, etc.)
  • We know we need to charge more appropriate prices (combo of costs going up and making sure this place is making enough $$ to survive and thrive.) I’ve been struggling with this, because I know for some people the last year is hard, and I don’t want to make something that gives them joy too expensive. They thing I think I’m going to try out is this.  If, for example, we raise the price of FNM to $20, if someone just can’t afford it, they can just say so and pay the old price.  If you can afford it, we need the the income, particularly since we are going to be making sure the events are smaller/more comfortable. We will try this for the next 3 months and see what happens
  • Keeping the place/world safe.  There may be (probably will be) folks who disagree with this, but I’m using my prerogative as a store owner to say no shoes, no shirt, no vax or mask, no serviceFor events, for the foreseeable future, anyone over 12 will need to bring vax card to participate in any event. (We will have special events for those under 12) Having unvaccinated people interacting in public, creates a lovely little breeding ground for more dangerous variants. Anyone is welcome to disagree, and we will happily bring things to the front door.  But I just almost lost my business, and a whole lot of people died in pretty horrible ways, or are left functionally disabled with long hauler symptoms, because of what I can only account as willful ignorance.  As I said, if you disagree, we can do so respectfully, but not in my premises.
    We agree with this Bar…

More to come…gonna go back and dig into the event listing hell….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kaldheim: the New Magic Set that Thor Would Play

Prerelease: 1/29/21(prerelease kits/boxes)
Release: 2/05/21 (everything else)

Hammer or Ax?  Set in norse mythology, this is clearly the set that would finally get Thor to join in on the weekly Magic draft.  (Ok, Cap clearly leans to white, Tony goes for a combo of red for blast damage and blue for control, Widow goes for the life stealing of black, and Hulk…well, lets just say Giant growth is right up his ally)

Been playing with the set for a couple of weeks using DraftSim and the set looks like the most fun of the last year.

D20 Webstore (to Buy the stuff)

Here is the good stuff:
Mechanics
Cards

The big chase card is this bad boy (6 mana, trample haste and doubling the number of counters put on any permanent.)

Since we are still in covid land, the best way I can recommend to play to get the most fun/pack is to do an at home sealed league. (Basically, take the 6 packs from a prerelease kit, make a sealed, and then add another pack per person every few days.  You end up keeping things varied since you can build a number of decks before too long, and each pack you open is not just interesting for the rares, but for every card that might help build something else fun.)

 

D20 – Ha…no shipping now Amazon!!!

Hey folks…lets see…we want/need you business! And unlike online…were are right here for curbside pickup!

All the stuff is on our online store. https://d20gamestore.com/

We will be open for pick up:

  • 12/23. from 10am-8 pm
  • 12/24 from 10-4, but if you are in Alameda, we can do a drop off if you really need it for the first 20 people requesting it.

And we now have digital gift certificates that get sent to your email for last minute stuff.
Plus we will be throwing in stocking stuffer bonuses based on how big the order is.

I will be adding recommendations to this post throughout the day, but we have some great

We have lots of staff picks and will be updating them all the time.

In terms of particularly hot/Hard to find items items

Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything...Great New D&D book for all players

Charms and Potions expansion for the great Hogwarts Battle Deck Building game

Limited amounts of Pokemon Vivid Voltage and Champions Path

And for Magic, we got lots of good stuff, including a new batch of Commander Legends, and the deceptively fun JumpStart (two packs each make playable randomized decks and are a total blast).

And for D&D players…we have two extremely excellent new things.

The Warlock Tiles…think a blend of D&D high quality doll house and legos.

And some beyond amazing Dice, both a great collection of the Die Hard Metal dice at around $50 to a limited number of actual carved gemstone dice at around $80. I’ll try and get these on the site, but they may be a bring them to you at the door to look at kind of thing.

These pictures don’t do the dice justice…it is like looking into a dark night of stars.

Thanksgiving-D20 Needs Help (biz) to make it to next T-Day

Yep…shockingly enough, this has been a tough year.  We’ve been working super hard to keep afloat till things get to something vaguely resembling normal.  In the meantime, this year, we need as much of your holiday business as you can spare.

Part of that is a good thing both ways.  Instead of focusing on gifts to open basically at the end of x-mas, think about gettting some game to play with the family/friends during the time you are together (or needing something good to keep from missing what the holidays normally look like.) To that end, we’ve hand picked a number of games that we know will do the trick.  These can be ordered online and curbside pick up is Tues-Sunday, 4-6 (0r more when we are around…you can always call the store to check.)

The big thing we will be offering/need to survive next year is monthly business.  To that end we’re creating a number of D20 Clubs, for D&D, Magic and Family(friend) Game nights to join on a monthly basis.

Holiday Games (to play)

At home Halloween Creepventure Recomendations

Ok, we’ve had over a half a year of skeleton holidays and rain-checked birthdays and celebrations.  And now we have to give up Halloween?  Not on my watch, at least not having it be another disappointing memory.   I’ve picked out a number of appropriately creepy, but more importantly interesting and engaging games, so we can give a good shot at transforming this from being another in the disappointment memory collection to being a night (or weekend) full of actual, face to face fun.  

A bunch of these games are coop games to play with each other against the game, and a few are big, epic adventures that will be the game equivalent of page turners.

Oh, and one more thing.  I know trick or treating is canceled, but every bag that is sold this weekend will come with a heaping (and well sanitized,) handful of Halloween candy. 

(Besides…it will be good to have a break from the constant checking of the election polls.)

Email us at info@d20alameda.com to arrange pick up or drop off of your stuff, and I’ll be around from 12-5 Thursday, Friday and Saturday for pick up (probably more, but at least that.)

Pick up your (loot) Baggage (bags) at the Curb. Our unofficial curbside service. And update of new stuff.

Here is the official unofficial way we* are doing things at D20 (for the moment) that is designed to keep everybody safe, give people a way to keep from going nuts that doesn’t involve screens, and trying to keep in business. 
*(not we, ok there is really nobody here but me and the pooch.)

What: Mystery Loot bags and specific game requests, We have Game Loot Bags, Magic Loot Bags, and D&D Loot bags.

Where: delivered to your car or at a distance outside the door

When:  Pretty much whenever I’m here, which is a fair amount.  Just call and check (510-522-2109). 

I’m not going to do regular hours because I don’t want to have any “time” I open up that might get more then one person hanging around at a time.   Call first and I’ll get things ready for when you get here.  

We are doing cash and credit cards and I’m rounding up the amounts so we don’t exchange any cash.  To keep thing safe for everyone, no customers are coming in the store, so that means no singles, either buying or selling.  Normally we spend a lot of time trying to help figure out what games are good for each person.  I’ll do that on the phone if I can, but the real way we are dealing with that are the Mystery Loot Bags.  Having said that , we are making some that are for younger kids vs adults and over, and if you let me know if there are a bunch of you or just two, I’ll see what I can do to help. 

Family Game Night-making a habit worth keeping.

Ok…we all know it is a painful  time, going stir crazy trapped in our homes with our kids/parents, desperately hunting for things to do to make the time move a little faster without getting on each other’s nerves. So lots of us have been pulling out projects, puzzles and board games. But in a time with all the old habits thrown up in the air, can we take one of the good things, family game night, and turn it into something everyone wants to keep around?

The thing of it is that this moment we are all going through has done something interesting and important that is worth thinking about. We’ve all had to basically blow up what we thought was the way life had to operate, and when this is done, we’re gonna need to put it back together differently then it was before. So maybe, we can use this to sneak back in somethings that were just too much of a change to get everyone to buy into before.

Old picture of a family playing games together

See I own a game store, so I get to see a lot of families come in, and I know from the tips of my toes to the top of my massively in need of a haircut head (remember when we used to be able to get haircuts, in the “before times”? Ah, the exotic luxury of it.), that the families that had regular family game night were bonded in ways that were just different from everyone else. I won’t go through the details on the case for board game nights again since I did that once upon a time in my store blog, but it’s an idea that almost every parent intuitively knows about as well as they know how exquisitely impossible it is to get going once screens and phones lodge into our kids brains. Getting this “quaint” idea going, with people who are able to fill every bored moment, is almost impossible. I will also not go into the details of why I’m deeply worried about the serious issues around the “Digital Nicotine” aspects of many of the things passing through smartphones/tablets, (So I’m Addicted to Cell Phones Too, Ben Calica). However, I will say that I’m much, much more worried about the danger of the literally physical addiction aspects of smartphone/screen problems right now, to the point where they could be much more difficult to deal with. Let me be clear, I’m not Luddite guy looking to throw all the glowing Satan boxes into the river (though there have been times when I wanted to take my own kids phones and lovingly put them under the tire of my car and just drive slowly back and forth for a little bit. I will put huge money that there is not a single parent of a kid with a phone reading this that isn’t nodding right now.) For learning, for communicating with loved ones, for opening the whole world of knowledge to us, these are amazing tools. But there are thousands of really smart people out there that have been paid a great deal of money to tickle those parts of our brains that keep us coming back to give them our eyeballs, and they know where the endorphins are kept locked up in the cupboard.

So now that things have got blowed up nice and good and we are face to face to face, at least with the family that got down in the tornado cellar before the big virus twister hit, how can we turn our shelter experience into a regular family habit that becomes a regular part of our lives?

The Elements of Successful Family Game Night:

Pick Carefully: The first and most important part of a successful family game night is what game are you gonna play. When I have couples come into the store to find a game, the first thing I ask them is how do they do playing against each other or with each other. There are some people who love the joy of getting to stretch their minds and skills against each other, and others who feel picked on or condescended to or just feel under pressure to “play right” and therefore don’t feel like they like games at all. If you have a family, what are the age differences in the kids? Will the youngest feel over-matched or left out? Is it a game of speed that leaves the Grandparents feeling left out? Is the game too complicated for people to be patient to understand the rules, or too simple and feeling random for more sophisticated players.

Generally speaking, the best thing to do is to start with simpler and more successful games and then let the games get richer from there. For those who don’t like feeling left out of behind or the pressure of understanding all the nuances to be successful, look at some of the really great cooperative games. The best ones aren’t Pollyanna crunch fests, but have the game as the “bad guy” opponent and source of challenge/tension. Other things to watch for is games that involve everyone as quickly and immediately as possible. Games where one person takes their turn for 5–10 minutes while everyone else waits around tend to kill a game night but good.

The Game/Rules Master: Once you’ve selected the types of games you want, each family game night, someone should be preselected to be the Game/Rules Master. One of the things that kills games nights but good is a lot of time where everyone is trying to battle over the one rule book to figure out how the stupid game works. Most games are pretty straight forward to play after you’ve muscled through the first game, but figuring out the basic setup, object and how the game works turn to turn isn’t always obvious the first time through. The game master is the one who gets the game the day before and who goes ahead of time to set the game up and to run through a practice round or two on their own to figure out how to play the darn thing. They are gonna be the ones who explain the game play to everyone else. You can also have them be the one who picks the game for the night. But if you do so, they need to have the goal of picking a game that they think everyone would like. (If you wanna be really cool about it, have them pick a game that they think one other person in the family would most love…kid picks game that they think mom would love, mom picks game that dad would love, brother picks game for younger sister, etc. If you do that, then they feel great when they see someone else in the family love the experience. It shifts the focus outside themselves. )

Big, big hint for the Game/Rules Master when they are teaching the game!!! Have the least amount of time possible between the time you start talking about the game and everyone is starting to play. The natural tendency is to go through the whole game, but people are getting bored off their rocker listening instead of getting to it. Better to be a little more basic in your description and let people ask you if they don’t understand something, then to take a lot of time describing stuff that people probably get already. And if there are complicated variants to how something happens in a particular circumstance, just say that there are some rare exceptions and move on. Once people get into the flow, you can get to that. What you need to explain to get started is:

  1. Objective-i.e. how do you win the game. (Collect the most X, get to the end of the board, be the last mushroom standing..). If it is complicated, give a basic view first and point to the part of the manual that has it for people to look at. If it is super complicated and the game doesn’t come with reference cards for everybody, consider making a copy of those pages for everyone playing.
  2. Set up– Ideally have this already done or have the place in the rules about this underlined and ready to describe. (“everyone gets 7 cards and 3 caterpillar tokens”)
  3. Basic steps to a turn: What does each player do in a turn. Again, top view and let people ask you questions if they don’t get it.
  4. Practice round!: This is really important if you can possibly do it. Run through how the game works by having people do it, but let them know the first round doesn’t count. That way people won’t feel under pressure or get grumpy cause they “never would have done that if they understood”.

Rules of the Table
What do they say, “good fences make good neighbors.” This is more then true of the table rules for game nights. Some of these work well printed out on the table to make sure that it is fun and not hurt feelings that rule the night, and others are examples to set.

  1. Phone Basket: Family game night is a sacred, phone free time. Make a big deal of putting your phones in a basket and even letting other people know that this time every week is time you don’t respond unless it is an emergency. Model the hell out of this. It is like sabbath, an electronics free zone.
  2. Family rules: You guys own the games. If you come to a rule that you guys don’t like as a family or you prefer a different way, agree and then change it. The big stack of cash under free parking in Monopoly wasn’t in the rules originally, but we always thought the game was way better with it. )
  3. Smack Talk/Shaming: This is a tricky one. The shaming is obvious, but extends to telling someone that they made a stupid move…just shut that stuff down, and I’d print this rule up. The smack talk is a different issue. It can be lighthearted and part of a family/friend dynamic. (I sure did it with my best friends in high school..the epic battle on who was better, Richie Rich or Scrooge McDuck took on an epic level of smack talk that makes me smile to this day.) But we have a rule against smack talk in the store because, well, the whole idea of smack talk is to try and get just a little under someone’s skin. The problem is that with teens and tweens in particular, their job is to not show when they get feeling hurt, so someone could be really hurting someone without realizing it. So just to play it safe, we just don’t allow it in the store. This is a call you gotta make for your own family, and I don’t know em enough to know if they have a good handle on that line, but I’ll include it in the list later and you can blame me if you need “aw Ma/Dad” cover.
  4. Food at the Game Table: Ok..I know I just got done with this whole thing about you knowing your family best and making your own choices but, YES…food at the gaming table. Let me make this simple: Hungry=low-blood sugar=crankiness/short tempers. Keep out that bowl o’snacks. Sure, make it grapes and pretzels and not Cheetos, BBQ and powdered donuts if you care about keeping the game clean, but snack ’em up. There are reasons that the image of D&D players in their basements included boxes of pizza. 😉
  5. No Know-it Alls (Table Captains), or Rules Lawyers: Table Captains is usually the older sibling who understands how the game is played and starts ordering people around like they are extensions of themselves. This is most often in cooperative games. It takes away the fun of playing from the other players, even though all they think they are trying to do is help. A little talk about being their to support the other players and asking the question “would you like a suggestion” and actually waiting for the answer goes a long way.
    I need a private moment with the game playing dads…(I’m gonna say something a little hard to hear. It is super likely that you are doing this too and don’t realize it. It is the single thing that makes their spouses not want to play with them. They may not get the pattern as fast cause that isn’t what they’ve done a lot, but they are pretty damn smart and it is way better to give them space to ask questions, then to over explain. It comes across as condescending and you are pushing off the person you most wanna join in.
    The second type of playing to be careful of is what is called Rules Lawyer-ing. This is playing gotcha with the rules, calling someone on a mistake they made because they didn’t understand or missed a nuance of the rules. Don’t, just don’t. If someone can take a move back because they didn’t get something, let them. It is way better to play a great game and lose it, then to make someone feel like they can’t try and learn a new game because they are afraid to be made to feel stupid because they misunderstood something.
  6. It’s Just a #%$ing Game: The slogan for the store that grace the back of our tee shirts and hoodies is a graphic representation of “Win with Grace, Lose with Style, and Play for Fun”. This is about the most important part of a good family game night. One thing to do is to make a winners trophy that rotates from player to player that is so epically stupid that it makes it clear the nature of winning and loosing in this house. (Right now, I’d probably take a roll of toilet paper and stick it on an old trophy to indicate the value of family triumph. Although that may be a little too valuable at the moment.) One word about modeling winning and loosing to small children that is a little counter intuitive. This works particularly well with coop games when the game wins. We tend to thing that acting serene and accepting a loss is what we need to model for little kids. The problem is that just make us alien beings to them, ones who just don’t have the same emotions they do. It is actually better to show starting to get frustrated and then taking a moment to breath or in some other way calm down and get to that “ah well” state. That way we are modeling something for them that is much more accessible, how to have those feelings and then manage them. Even with the older kids, if you get frustrated in a game, say so, and then talk it out. As adults, we often get frustrated with games, particularly if the rules are complex and we feel like we have more important things to be doing, and if this isn’t fun, then why are we bothering. Believe me, the kids will pick up on that frustration and walking away. But what we are walking away from is working out a problem that they were part of rather then expressing our feelings and trying to work it out. Much better to stick it out and work it though on this much safer ground, so when it is much bigger issues, you’ve had some successful practice rounds. I think this may be the very heart of why those families who got family game night into their regular pattern of life have this different feeling about them.

That seems like as good a note as any to end this on. This seems like play time, but it is some of the best parenting time that you can invest in. It isn’t easy, and is kind of like teaching a teenage dog to do new tricks (they already know all the tricks, and why should they listen to you anyway, dumb dad/mom dogs), but it is worth it. And this is an absolutely unique time to take the shattered pieces of the old life and maybe build something a little better from the pieces.

The Family Game Night rules

  1. Electronics Free Zone:
    No phones at the table, (unless the game requires it.)
  2. No Commenting on someone else’s dumb (or more clever then you realized) moves.
  3. No Insulting/Shaming other players, or teaming up on anybody besides Dad. (Ok..he deserves it.)
  4. No Rules Lawyer-ing…if someone makes a dumb mistake, let ’em take it back already.
  5. Don’t Cheat: Losing with grace is pretty cool and you learn and get better. Cheating just robs you of having people believe you when you win later.
  6. Oh yeah, remember the three magic words:
    It’s A Game.

Win with Grace, Lose with Style, and Play for Fun

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…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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