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[Victoria, BC] Gauntlet Games Impresses in Gordon Head!

15 Jul

gauntlet gamesBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

In the garden city of Victoria, British Columbia, Gauntlet Games is making an impact upon the gaming community living in the municipality of Saanich. Not only is the University of Victoria nearby for this operation to cater to students but also, lots of nearby residents find this place convenient to get to. When some folks do not want to travel into town or elsewhere to get their fix in Magic the Gathering (MtG) or Warhammer, this place is happening. It has been in operation for more than a month now.

In what I witnessed after successive visits is a very open and bright place to visit. In what I see during the evening hours are a dozen people, if not more, playing one type of game or another. Myself, I was here to try out a few role playing game systems I have not played before and tried my hand at playing MtG again. There’s only so much I can enjoy out of the electronic version (side note: the company is making a huge mistake by not completing the Amonkhet story in Magic Duels).

Brodie Cawdell is the manager of this operation. When he immediately saw that the area of Gordon Head did not have easy access to a game store, setting up shop was fortuitous. He got the best spot at University Heights Mall. People passing by can gaze through the large windows and see the fun going on inside. Some folks do not understand the gaming culture, and most of the staff and customers here can explain. They love to talk about the hobby and give tips when they realize that the visitor is new to the game (or rusty like me).

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Returning to the Fold: Playing Magic the Gathering’s Pre-release Hour of Devastation

9 Jul

mtg__hod_prerelease_product

By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

I have not played the customizable card game, Magic the Gathering (MtG) for a very long time. In the past, I enjoyed how this game played with the legends from an ancient exotic world or looked at a genre (especially horror) in new ways. The best legacy era expansion sets are Arabian Nights and The Dark. I eventually stopped playing because folks with plenty of money to buy those great cards made me feel I could not compete and I did not find the world they created for MtG all that engaging. Finding casual games at gaming stores was tough.

Also, I wanted Wizards of the Coast to offer a new Middle Eastern themed set. The legends and lore of Ancient Egypt are the most requested and everybody knew it. Twenty-three years later since the release of Arabian, this company finally delivered with Amonkhet. The subset Hour of Devestation looks great. I saw cards showing the designers were looking deep into to Kemetic lore get the mystique right. The first set only whetted many enthusiasts appetite.

Pre-release challenges at gaming stores occurred over the weekend and I thought why not, let’s jump in. I know the core game mechanics and I am playing Magic Duels. Hopefully, I will not suck going up against experienced players. At least the field is level in the sealed game-play format. I went to a store where I did not feel intimidated. Out of the four stores in town, only one looked hopeful. It was not an overstuffed operation and it smelled clean. I plan on playing again this coming weekend (July 14-17) when this expansion hits all retail outlets.

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[Editorial] Sounding off on the Nerdy Convention Scene in Victoria, BC

5 Jul

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

I have attended many pop culture style conventions in the past 25 or so years. Some took place in my home town of Victoria, British Columbia but more off island. I am sad not many local shows have a footprint of lasting more than five years. Attempts have been made to centralize all aspects of geekdom, but to pull it off needs a proper committee of dedicated folks. I’m aware most of the businesses along Nerd Row (on Johnson Street and Broad) are in communication with one another, but this community was not in place till the early part of this century.

In terms of history, a major comic book type event (which was a one-off) took place at the Empress Hotel in the late 80’s which had a who’s who of talent (from New York even), which Big Brothers and Big Sisters organized — my introduction to the scene — but since then, everything else which followed never compared. Van Isle Con is a step in the right direction, and although a short commute is required to get there, I’m wondering what’s next? Are there individuals willing to make something happen within the capital city?

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Ed’s Comic Book Diary – Impressions on Van Isle Con

13 Jun

17972139_290562181379367_7532591749511814314_oBy Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

Out of the many conventions I have attended over the years, some leave me wanting for more and others make me wish it could go on forever. With small events, the choices of what to do can leave me realizing I can take on most of the show in under a few hours and enjoy the sites from the city/town that’s hosting.  Van Isle Con successfully compressed down what felt like a weekend event to one day and left me wishing for more.

Well, that’s if you are not like certain buddies of mine who will remain nameless. One had a long work day the night before, and the other was here to work (sort of) but he does not understand these geek shows as well as I do. Although I did not get much sleep, as I’m a night owl by nature, I did not crash n’ burn or find myself mentally exhausted when I took a long bus ride to and fro to get to this show.

I did need time to write (and edit) to describe all that I have experienced:

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