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My local game store spoils the crap out of me

I spent my Wednesday evening playing Magic: the Gathering from 5:00 PM to 4:00 AM. What did you do with those eleven hours of your life?

You probably spent half of them sleeping. Honestly, I can't blame you for that; I'm a rare breed, after all. What's remarkable about this experience, though, is the fact that I was not alone. Far from it, in fact; I was joined by eleven other people.

I'm lucky enough to live near several local game stores, each with their own unique customer base and quirks. Two of these stores are, for a lack of better words, not good. Their hours aren't the greatest, their selection is pretty bad, their reputation is down the toilet; you name it, they have a problem. One store, however, doesn't have these problems, although they were recently out of Elvish Mystic for some incredibly odd and random reason.

I'm talking about GameSwap, located in Mason, Ohio on Route 42. (The store's GM made me name drop.)

What's remarkable is the fact that this isn't the first time such an occurance has happened. One night we played Lords of Waterdeep until 4:00 AM. Whenever a new Magic set releases, events run until the sun comes up. Conspiracy, a multiplayer focused expansion for Magic: the Gathering, featured 17 draft pods that lasted until 7:00 AM. The very last pod was apparently free of charge from the manager's own box. I say apparently because I was exhausted and desperate for sleep. Sufficed to say, we all like playing games and ignoring a normal person's witching hour.

There's more, though. The store goes completely out of their way to make you feel welcome in the most appropiate manner. Every employee knows everyone's names. Given the volume the store has seen on busy nights, this is an incredibly impressive feat. Of course, there's plenty of good ol' fashioned ribbing as well. It wouldn't be the same without laughing at someone else's expensive. I promise you, dear reader, that it's all in good nature. One minute we're cracking jokes at each other and the next we're gifted a free pack because a joke cry for a "repairing" was granted and it resulted in me losing out on a first round bye and ending up with a round one loss because my deck decided it didn't want to win.

Still totally bitter about that, by the way. Thanks for nothing, deck.

The point is that I'm going to miss this place terribly when I move. It's become a home away from home, a place to look forwarding to going to. Not just because I get to play the games I love, but because I have a good time with like-minded people. Sometimes you just want to go where everybody knows your name. Where they're always glad you came. 

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Jake Valentine
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Tags: Magic the Gathering

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