Monthly Archives: September 2013

Roleplaying Fun


Sunday’s pirate roleplaying event went off pretty well, with adventures on the high seas and of course, an expedition for treasure on a dangerous tropical island. The PCs were successful in escaping with the treasure, albeit with a 75% mortality rate…and one of the two survivors was afflicted by a terrible curse. Gravestones with cause of death are being posted in the store for the poor unfortunates who meet their end here.

For those who missed it, but would like to get in on future roleplaying, we’ve built up a pretty strong roleplaying crowd at the store. The wednesday pathfinder game is full at the moment with six players, we’ve got two friday games(one 3.5, one pathfinder), both of which are very decently sized groups, Pathfinder society is hosting a new player meet, greet and play event on the 25th designed to ease new players into PFS. Good folks, I highly recommend checking them out if you want to get some more PF playtime. I believe they were looking at a monday game, and Erik was considering starting a biweekly game at some point as well. All told, there’s some solid RPG gamin’ going on. For those interested in starting or playing something different, event sign-up sheets are at the shop for ya’ll to find out who else is interested in a given game, so don’t hesitate to try something off the beaten track.

I should also mention another excellent idea from Erik, the Fishbowl o’ Fortune. Every time you play or GM a roleplaying event in the store, you’re eligible to toss an entry into the fishbowl. At the end of every month, we’ll draw a name and award a roleplaying related prize. The more names in the bowl, the better the prize!

Castles and Crusades is Here!


Had a couple of shipments arrive today, and along with a selection of pirate games for the upcoming occasion, we received the full line of Castles and Crusades to add to our growing selection of RPGs. For those of you who prefer old-school D&D-styled adventures with simpler, faster char creation, etc, this should be welcome news, especially as a wide selection of adventure paths are included in this range, which are fairly easy to adapt to other retro-D&D games.

Our pathfinder range is also steadily growing in both new and lightly used books, and we have a smattering of 3.5 and 4e texts as well. Once a few books make it out of backordered status, I hope to get the full line of PF rulebooks and additional adventure paths, and of course, when 5e comes out next year, we’ll carry that as well.

We also carry a few less mainstream systems, including Exalted, Shadowrun, etc…and I’m considering adding Deadlands(the non-D20 version). Thoughts?

MTG: Introduction to Drafting

After my last post, it occurred to me that some of the terminology used was unclear, and many people have never drafted at all. So, today I’m going to go over how a normal draft works, and what some of the variants are.

A standard draft goes like this; you show up, pay the entry fee, and take a seat at a table(for large events, seating is randomly assigned), and you receive three packs, often all from the same set, though late in a block, it is common to draft one pack from each set. Each player opens a pack, removes a card from it for their use, and passes the pack to the left, face down. Do be careful not to place a pack of cards on any other stack of cards, as this causes confusion. Repeat until out of cards, then do the same with the second and third packs(passing right, then left respectively). In many areas(including central MD), it is traditional to remove the tokens and non-foil lands before selecting your first card. If the token is one you want, just keep it, if not, toss it in the center for someone else to take. Cards are only passed around a single table, even if it is a multiple table event.

Once everyone has their cards, each player constructs a 40 card deck. In addition to the drafted cards, any number of basic lands may be used. Normally, the store will have a supply of loaners or freebies if you didn’t bring any.

Most drafts are three rounds in length, though particularly large tournaments may add additional rounds. Pairings are assigned randomly initially, then semi-randomly for following rounds to prevent any pair of people from playing twice. If there is an odd number of people, a random person will receive a “bye”, which means they do not play in that round, but automatically count as winning that match. Each round consists of a “best of three” match between the two players, and winnings are typically distributed at the end of the final round. Distributions vary widely between stores, and are typically listed for an eight person draft(known as a “pod”) in order of placement(as determined by total number of match wins, with ties being determined by game wins). For instance, 6/1 would indicate 6 boosters for the first place player and 1 for the second, with no prizes for the other six. Sometimes, additional promo cards or boosters are drawn for randomly as door prizes.

Single Elimination - As normal, but instead of winners being determined by total number of games, the loser of each match is eliminated, and placement is determined by how long you avoid elimination. Elimination is used heavily at larger, prestigious tournaments.

Swiss - As normal, but instead of formal placement calculations, a smaller prize is paid out for each match win. This is considered a good structure for those new to drafting, as they offer a much better chance for a modest win and more playtime for the entry fee than elimination structures.

Rochester Draft - Instead of passing the cards around the table, only one booster is opened at a time, and is spread face up on the table, so cards picked are public knowledge. Deck construction and play is unchanged. While much slower than other draft formats, it can be a good way to teach people the art of drafting.

Four Booster - Instead of passing cards around, you simply crack four boosters, then continue as normal. Variants of this exist with sealed deck play, etc.


Now, after all that is said and done, it’s not nearly so complicated as it may appear. If confusion exists about what to do in a draft, just ask those around you. Your fellow players and the tournament organizer are normally happy to help you, and you’ll be cracking packs and playing in no time!


Draft Talk


Last night’s draft was pretty fantastic, and something a bit unusual happened. Everyone playing managed to win at least one pack. It’s one of the reasons I like swiss drafts, one bad game doesn’t kill your chances at prizes. 2014 is, IMO, an excellent draft set, and while blue is the strongest color, awareness of that is now high enough that we’ve got a pretty good balance in practice. We also had some pretty solid casual gaming going on both before and after the draft, so I suggest bringing a coupla decks with you drafting if you want to get some casual gaming in. We’ve got really good stock of 2014 at the moment, so while we’re all waiting for Theros to release, I’d like to do another 2014 swiss draft next friday.

I’d also like to take a minute to talk about drafting in general. I’m a big draft fan, and as such, I plan to hold a draft event every friday. Typically, it’s going to be one of the newer blocks, since those are invariably popular, but we’re not limited to just doing the usual stuff. If you and your buds want to show up on a thursday night and draft homelands rochester style, we can totally do that. Custom drafts, including classic sets, are totally doable. You do need a minimum of four people to make a draft work, and eight is best, and if you want to draft something unusual(ie, further back than about 2012 or special sets like modern masters), pop us a message to make sure we have/can get the product for you, but if you can’t find your favorite format being played, let us know, and we can make sure it gets created for you.

Heads Up – Free MTG on Xbox

As part of their Games With Gold program, Microsoft is giving out Magic 2013 for free on Xbox Live until Sept 15th. Long as you have a gold membership, you’re good to go. It’s too late to get the promo cards from it, I’m afraid, but still, a free game is a free game. Long as you have a gold account, you can just pop online and grab it. Cheers!