The Importance of Tabletop

Today, I am going to write a rousing article today about the importance of tabletop gaming. I could simply tell you that nothing beats a night of gaming with your friends and family. That’s more than enough of an argument. No elaboration needed. But what kind of fun would that be? Let me take you on a trip down memory lane…

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When I was young, I was admittedly a video game junkie. I spent my days holed up in my room with my controller in hand and snacks nearby. Loud digital noises assailed my ears, bright pixels assaulted my eyes. And life was good. It was a solitary one though.

Jump ahead to high school, where I picked up Magic the Gathering. I found that there was a certain magic (forgive the pun) that came from spending my time in the school foyer playing with other social outcasts. (Magic was very much a niche thing back then.) It  was the gateway to a lifetime of tabletop experiences.

In college a certain little anime known as Dragonball Z was a big deal. This was the Toonami era. Students of all kinds stuffed themselves into lounges to watch the next exciting installment, and we usually hung around to talk about it afterwards. So, you can imagine my excitement when I visited a local game store down the street from campus, and found that they had a Dragonball Z role-playing game! I had never run an RPG before, but I figured that it would be time to learn. We got a group together and had a blast. And that was it. Tabletop gaming was now a passion rather than a hobby.

I still take time to play, as often as I can. Every week, my friends and I get together, head out to fill our bellies with local Kent cuisine, (Have you ever had a slice of Ramella’s pizza?) and we settle in for a night of gaming. We typically cycle through Dungeons and Dragons one week, and Scion the next, with a smattering of board games for good measure. It’s the thing I look forward to the most every week.

Why? Because there’s something just flat out magical about tabletop gaming, something you just can’t get from a video game or anything else. A group of people playing a board game aren’t just playing, they’re in a battle of wits. Resources are bought and sold, territories are conquered, and deals are made. It brings out our ruthless sides, as well as our benevolent sides. We eliminate our rivals, or we work together to defeat a malicious threat.

Togetherness is the point.  It’s all about being there, in the moment with your hearty band of adventurers. It’s about looking around the table and wondering which of your friends is going to go turncoat and knock you out of the game. It’s about an experience you just can’t get with a headset and an Xbox live account.

As long as there are people who want to play together, to have fun together, and maybe throw down some dice (together!), there will always be a place in the world for tabletop games.

Born of the Gods Prerelease: A Handy Guide

Okay, as you know, tomorrow  at 11am is the Born of the Gods here at Gaming Grounds. Sure, it could be anywhere, but why come to Gaming Grounds? Well, simply put, we’re freaking awesome. The folks here are typically friendly and helpful, and we kind of just let it all hang out, so to speak. Blunt at times? Yes. Wacky? Perpetually. Because gaming is NOT serious business. Just take a cue from Xenagos, and let’s make it a revel! (Except without all of the um..blood, sex and violence.) 

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His body might be TOO ready

So what’s a prerelease you ask? It’s basically a sealed event where you get the chance to play with the new cards from the upcoming set, and a week earlier than release! That’s pretty cool, if I do say so myself. You’ll build your deck out of the booster packs you’re given, and you usually get a sweet promo just for showing up!

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Sweetness results may vary

So how do I get involved in this shindig, you may ask? Well all you do is show up, pay the entry fee ($23, btw) and you’re in! We’ll give you a prerelease pack of the color of your choice, and it’s time to get building! You’ll want a minimum of 40 cards in your deck, but you can go higher than that if you’d like. 

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I’m not telling you to pick white, but Brimaz, King of Oreskos is AWESOME AS HELL

Inside this pack, you’ll find a few things: 

-3 Booster Packs of Theros

-2 Booster Packs of Born of the Gods

-1 Seeded pack, which has the Promo card, and a rare of the color you chose. And before you some people gripe, YES the seeded pack is ALL Born of the Gods cards, meaning you’re getting 3 Theros and 3 Born of the Gods. 

-1 Welcome Letter 

-1 Challenge Card (Do what it asks to win a tiny prize!)

-1 Hero’s Path card. (It’s a different kind of card that has neat effects that can be used in game, but don’t go in your deck. ) 

-1 Spindown Life Counter. (It’s like a d20, but not.) 

So you open all of this, make your deck, and take some lands from us to put in your deck! The promo is definitely allowed in your deck. In fact, you’ll need it there to complete your card challenge. (optional)

 

And then, you’re ready to play! You’ll be paired up with other players, and it’s time to play! Best 2 out of 3 takes the round, and if you get up to the upper echelons of play, you’ll earn sweet prizes! (First place takes home a booster box of Born of the Gods, 2nd gets half a box, 3rd and 4th each get 9 boosters, and the list goes on.) 

Will it be fun? Definitely. Will it be rad? possibly. Will I ever stop using 80’s expressions? NEVER. 

If you want to have a fun time, hit up a prerelease this weekend! If you want to have an AWESOME time, hit up Gaming Grounds for our prerelease! We’ll have a fun time, give away free swag, whatever strikes our fancy! 

 

 

A Little Post About Magic the Gathering

Hey, now, I’m going to talk about Magic the Gathering! You should know that game, right? Biggest CCG ever, makes tons of dough. You’d have to live in a cave not to know the game. Well I’m going to talk about it for a minute. Even if you’re not a Magic fan, stick around, because you and I, we’ve come a long way together, and you’ve read my posts so far, so read this one too. It might be entertaining?

Anyway, a little personal history: I’ve been playing Magic since Alpha was released. Yep. I’ve owned and sold and owned copies of all of the super holy grail cards back when they weren’t as holy. (But certainly still broken!) So you could say we’ve got a history. I remember the day before Planeswalker cards, before Eldrazi, before AFFINITY. (Boo…hisss)

In the day, you’d be amazed at what constituted a good deck. Brassclaw Orcs? Hell yeah. Ironclaw Orcs? Yes. These guys would be your go-tos in any red deck out there. Now? They’re not awesome. They don’t see love. Because much better cards have come along.

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We’ll always remember you, whatever your name was.

I won my first Magic tournament around the time of Urza’s Saga. four Gilded Drakes, a bunch of counters and bounce spells. Win. And I rolled people with that deck, made some money, and had a blast. And that was the key, having a blast. I continued winning locally, rolling every game store I played in. It might have been luck, it might have been skill, but I know that I was far too socially awkward and shy to be a jerk to anyone. I didn’t think I was awesome, I just wanted to play and have fun.

And then I went to my first BIG tournament. Hundreds of people (yes, you say thousands NOW, but Magic wasn’t as mainstream then.) And I was faced with an image pretty similar to this:

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You can hear the crickets chirping

Yes, it was a big hall full of people, but none of them seemed to be having any FUN. It was serious. Diehard serious. And while I did really freaking well, I walked away from it with a sense that I never wanted to do it again. Yeah, I won some stuff, enough to warrant my trip, but still. I was all smiles and sunshine, and most people just glowered at me from across the table. No, I’m not a chatty Magic player, and I respect that its a tournament, but it was still so intense.

Can I do intense? Oh yeah, watch me play a good fighting game online. I will swear up a storm and go white-knuckle. I get that. But with Magic, it was always about fun with me. So I slid out of the tournament scene like a ninja, and never looked back. I stuck to playing a few games here and there locally, and I kept up with the game for years, but as the game became more mainstream, more people came to it, treating it like a sport, which turned me away from playing them. (I mean, ESPN even covered Magic tournaments.)

Come a few years down the line, I’ve come and gone from Magic so many times, and amassed a collection that would make people green with envy. I’ll never talk about what lies in the darkest reaches of my collection, because well, it’s kind of like a time capsule of awesome in a way. I’ve really gotten into sets like Lorwyn and Kamigawa, because they offer up a different world, and cards based on European and Japanese Mythology. And that’s awesome. Theros is the current block, and it’s a Greek/Roman Mythology inspired block, with Hydras, Cyclopses, Gorgons, and all the big awesome tropes from those Myths. And I love the set.

I approach each set with a sense of wonder and excitement. I pick up cards that other people shun. I made a self-mill green blue deck in Innistrad that I played casually, and I never lost a match with it. It was awesome. Because after all this time, I can still build decks that surprise folks. And that makes me happy as a clam.

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Oh hi there! We didn’t see you come in. No, we’re not doing anything, don’t mind us…

And now we have so many new formats we didn’t have then. Planechase, Archenemy, Commander, Modern, etc. There are tons of ways to play the game. And sometimes, it still feels restrictive. Nobody typically wants to play Archenemy or Planechase, despite them being lots of fun. Modern is so based on money cards that it’s super restrictive. Legacy is too, but for some of us who’ve played for years, not so much. Commander is tons of fun, but people will always tell you there’s a giant pile of staple cards you HAVE to use. because they win games.

Well, don’t listen to them. The point of Magic, and any other game, is to find your own fun. If you’re a casual player, there are tons of fun cards out there to build with. If you build a fun deck, and go to FNM and get your head kicked in each week by hardcore players, you’ve got three choices: Play more meta decks, quit going or be creative and use it as a testing ground for amazing homebrew decks. If competitive play isn’t your thing, play casually with friends. March to the beat of your own drum. Do what makes YOU happy. If that means competing to win, then do it. If that means screwing around and having a ball, do it. There’s no right or wrong way to play Magic, and never let anyone tell you otherwise. This is true of all games, of course, because they all have both sides of the player spectrum. Have you ever played Candy Land against a person determined to win? That’s the stuff of nightmares.
If it was recently, and not with children, I’m a little worried about ya though.

But hey, whatever floats your boat.

 

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The humorist in me loves this, the Magic player in me looks at the card type line and cringes.

 

Stay frosty till next time everyone.