Guardian Games: The gathering place

You might remember a while back when we discussed Geek Chic, and the transition from nerdy to cool that gaming has undergone in recent years.

You might remember a while back when we discussed Geek Chic, and the transition from nerdy to cool that gaming has undergone in recent years. One of the spots we mentioned as a place with one of the best gaming communities Portland has to offer is Guardian Games, located on SE 3rd Ave. Well, we’re back to tout their virtues a little more; in particular, the magic that is their weekly Friday Night Magic event.

You’re probably heard of a game called “Magic: The Gathering.” After all, it’s estimated that it is played by six million people in over seventy countries. If you haven’t heard of it, now is the perfect time to get acquainted. “Magic: The Gathering” (MTG) is a fantasy card game developed by a mathematics professor and introduced by Wizards of the Coast in 1993. Wizards of the Coast is the game publisher best known for bringing us the Pokémon card game as well as Dungeons & Dragons. MTG was called the first example of the modern collectible card game genre, and is still going strong after 18 years.

MTG is traditionally played by two or more players in a sit down competition format, however the popularity of “Magic: The Gathering Online” also deserves mention. Each game represents a battle between the two players, who are powerful wizards known as Planeswalkers. Players use the cards in their decks to cause damage to their opponents. These cards can be spells, magical items, creatures or land cards, which provide the magical energy needed conjure the aforementioned elements. Players start out with 20 life points, and play continues until a player is reduced to zero or fewer lives, acquires 10 poison counters, or doesn’t have any more cards to draw from.

Friday Night Magic has been a fixture at Guardian Games for quite some time. There are two distinct events on Friday nights for MTG players. The first is the MTG Draft play, which begins at 6:30 p.m. and ends at 10:30 p.m. This is definitely an event for the more experienced players. The entry fee for the Draft play is $15, but for that you get the three booster packs needed to play along with two booster packs that can be put into the prize pool. Setup begins with competitors seated at a table with other players, each opening one booster pack and choosing a card. They then pass the open booster pack to the player on their left, for them to choose a card. This continues until all the cards are drafted. Players then open their second pack, and the routine is the same, only the packs pass to the right. After the final packs are drafted (this time, again to the left), each player has 45 cards with which to build their 40-card deck, along with unlimited land cards available to borrow, provided by Guardian Games. Cards are given out as prizes for players who come in first and second, as well as two random finishers. Additional swag may also be given away sometimes, which comes in a variety of forms including promo cards, life counters, logo bags, deck boxes, spindown dice and playmats.

The second MTG option on Friday nights is the standard format, wherein players bring their constructed decks. It’s $5 to enter, with money going to prizes, which are essentially the same as the Draft Play prizes. Play hours are also the same as for draft play.

If Guardian Games’ Friday Night Magic events seem a little intimidating to you, then stop by from 5 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday nights for Open Play League, where you can play any form of the game you like, earn swag points, booster decks and sharpen your skills, all for only $7. ?