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A Trip to Totalcon 32

This past weekend Cards and Counter team member Gary visited Total Confusion. Gary has 38 years of gaming experience both as a player and as game runner. With 8 years as a professional, taking the gaming experience across the country to large and small conventions; including Gen Con and Origins Game Fair. So I would say he knows his way around the table top and here is what he has to say about his weekend.


Total Confusion or Totalcon for short. Totalcon The convention has grown since its origin in 1986 and is always held the weekend after Presidents Day in February for 4 days ( Thurs-Sun ). It is now one of the largest gaming conventions in New England. Totalcon caters to a very large selection of games.

Totalcon 32 had a pirate theme for the weekend. Convention goers dressed in various modes of “Pirate”, from a ren-faire shirt over jeans and sneakers to full blown outfit with boots, pants, shirt, long coat, hat, eyepatch and skeletal bird perched on their shoulder. On Saturday night there was a costume contest for the best pirate outfit.

The bulk of events are RPG’s of one sort or another. With the vast majority of those being Dungeons & Dragons of one edition or another. Other RPG’s included Call of Cthulhu, 7th Sea, Doctor Who RPG, Shadorun, Brass & Steel and Kobolds Ate My Baby.

Most tabletop RPG’s are played in four hour slots, though there are some that run only two hours and some that run eight. The majority of these games are similar in that you sit at the table and the person running the game hands out pre-generated characters for use in the scenario. This has the advantage of making sure that the party has all of the necessary skills, abilities or powers that will be required to complete the adventure. The other games allow you to bring your own character to the game, and to use them in other games that take place under the umbrella of one organization or another. The two that I can currently think of are the D&D Adventurers League, Wizards of the Coast official games; and Stormgate a local game to be played at New England conventions and at participating gaming stores.

I spent the majority of my time this year playing Stormgate. This was the inaugural year for this ongoing campaign. It is a Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition game. We started at first level and at the end of the weekend we had attained 6th level. The full set of Stormgate games consisted of six games, played out over twenty-eight hours. To me this was all well worth the investment of time. I may be looking for Stormgate events at Gaming stores.

Prepping for the game was easy. The rules for making your character were to use the point build in the Player’s Handbook to determine your basic stats, with maximum hit points at first level. The only book available for use was The Players Handbook. Other books will be opened for player use during or after Stormgate events.

Board Games included: Aquire, Arkham Horror, Empire Builder, Talisman, Fury of Dracula, Puerto Rico, Settlers of Catan (the winner of the weekends tournament won a trip to Origions for the national championships), Diplomacy and Blood Bowl.

Necromunda, Warhammer 40K, Battletech, Formula De and X-Wing were represented in the miniatures area. There were even events set up for young gamers.


Here is the link to take to Total Cons site. Make sure to watch out for next years schedule.


And always be sure to watch Great Stories events schedule for up and coming new games and plans at the shop.


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New at the Shop: Wings of Glory

Recently the players at the shop have been introduces to Wings of Glory. A game that lets you relive the aerial combat of World War I and World War II by using miniatures and their assigned cards to represent the airplanes and their maneuvers. This is a two player plus game where players will take to the skies to engage their opponents in aerial combat by dueling in dog fights, or by trying to accomplish specific missions.

Here at Great Stories we started meeting every other Thursday for a campaign night with the World War 1 version of the game. This version of the game has fun, fast pace game play which you are able to start playing within minutes of cracking open the box. The easy to understand game mechanics and all of the different airplane miniatures with different flight capabilities keep the play fresh and exciting while still keeping the flow of the combat simple and fun.

To get into the game, it is very affordable and the product is easily accessible. The best way to try it is to purchase a Duel Pack. The Duel Pack comes with the basic rule book, all of the counters, damage ruler and 2 airplanes and their damage/maneuver decks. This way you and a friend can either jump right into an aerial duel, or try one of the scenarios/missions that you can find within the rule book.


At the beginning of the turn each player chooses 3 maneuver cards. All maneuvers of each play are done simultaneously. To do this, take a maneuver card from the deck assigned to your plane and first, line up the center of the card and the center of your base. Then “maneuver” the entire plane and base to line up over the arrow on the card. Your plane can fire once per turn when in range. You will know when you are within firing with the measuring tool. (Pictured below)


The most stressful part while playing the game could be while taking damage you not only count the hit points you are taking but also the special damage that can comes with drawing from the damage deck. On this example of a damage card, you are counting the 3 damage and the symbol here indicates that your pilot has been hit. This comes with special conditions that must be met.


I have found this game while being incredibly entertaining, it can be pretty educational too. If you love airplanes or just war and history in general, you will find joy in this game. For me, it’s the history behind everything. With each miniature that you purchase and collect you will receive historical information about that plane and a veteran pilot you served in that era. Then if you ask someone like Ben from the shop, who introduced us to the game. “I just love airplanes, and I want to share that passion.” And that my friends is why I come to Great Stories. You not only meet great people and play great games; you also find a community who just share their passion for gaming, comics, movies and more. We have started something great here at the shop. We already have 8 to 10 people on a regular basis to come and play “Wings” and anyone is welcome to join. Come down to the shop and ask about “Wings” night. If you are into games with miniatures; I recommend this to you. You can also ask about all of the other great events going on around the shop. This is a place that is always changing, always adapting. Don’t miss out on all of the fun.

Until then my fellow gamers,


See you across the table


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From the Video Screen to the Table Top: The Oregon Trail

There is nothing more nostalgic than seeing something that you grew up on now as a card game.


For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, The Oregon Trail was a series of educational computer games that taught kids what is was like in the mid 1800’s. Just like in video game, the card game introduces you to all of the trials and tribulations of the treacherous journey from Independence, Missouri to the destination of Willamette Valley, Oregon.


This is a 2 to 6 player table top game that will last from 25 to 30 minutes and has a range rating of 12+.


I met up at the shop with local legend and fellow gamer Timothy Cox to crack open the box and learn how to play this instant classic. Both Tim and I agreed that the more people you get the merrier the game play is. Mostly because our first game Tim died second round by freezing to death… We immediately started over so I wasn’t playing the game alone for the next 30 minutes. So right off the bat, Tim was in love with the game… cough, cough…. You can watch us playing and learning in our live video from the shop


The object of the game is to have at least 1 member of your party survive the trail and make it to Willamette Valley, OR. The competition of the game is who can survive the longest. There are times where you feel that you need to work together to get to the finish, but you also may need to let a party member die in order for the rest of the party to survive. But if one person makes it to Willamette Valley, OR, everybody wins the game. To reach the destination, the party has to lay down 50 trail cards.


The game-play is pretty simple and I would recommend this one for everyone to try, whether with just family or friends. To start off everybody is dealt Trail Cards and Supply Cards.

For your turn you either play a Trail Card or a Supply Card or if you are unable to play a Trail Card, simply draw from the Trail card deck and your turn ends. You must follow the instructions on the Trail Card that you played.

You are most like going to be instructed to draw a Calamity Card and yes, this is where the fun begins. The Calamity Cards will cause instant death or within a round or 2 you will be able to remedy the Calamity situation with your Supply Cards.


As Tim and I learned fairly quickly, you need to have good management of your Supply Cards throughout the game. That is until you draw a Thief Calamity.

What makes this game so fun is the people that you’re playing with. The best part about this game is the surprises that will happen along the trail and getting to watch everyone’s reactions and see how they will figure out their next move to either save themselves or help another party member. When you play this game, you have to play smart. Always know what your other party members are doing and be prepared for what they’re going to do next. But always remember, have fun and good luck on The Oregon Trail.


If you have any interest in learn/playing, purchasing or just trying any of the featured games in a Cards and Counters article, on the Great Stories site or at the shop; all you need to do is ask one of us there or get a hold me and I would gladly meet you there and grab a table.


The Staff at Great Stories is always more than willing to help you get what you need or teach and try anything new.


Until then,


See you across the table

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Uxbridge Monthly Game Fest Presented by Great Stories

There has been a lot of talk around the shop lately about this Saturday’s Great Stories Game Fest Aug 26th. This is a great event for all ages and levels of gamers. Whether you are new to table top games or a veteran, it is a fun time to be introduced to new games and new friends.

This event happens on the last Saturday of every month at the Solomon’s Temple Lodge in Uxbridge, MA (aka the Mason’s Hall). So if you happen to miss us this weekend don’t worry, there will be plenty more to come. The event runs from 3pm to 9pm and tickets for all day gaming are only $10. If you ask me; that is a great deal for the amount entertainment you get within a six hour period. There is also a fantastic concession table run by the masons.

I was able to ask a couple of the avid gamers around the shop to see why they love attending the game fests. The most notable answer I got was that events like these are awesome because it gets you out of the house to meet other true gamers like yourself. There is nothing that is more fun than rolling dice and hearing it hit the table seeing everyone’s reaction to the outcome. Also, it’s great to be able to disconnected from the tech in our lives and just talk face to face people and actually see a person across the table instead of a computer screen.

Each month there is a new game that is featured at the event so that everyone can get a feel for a new game that you may or may not have heard of. But fear not, if you’re not interested in that game there are plenty of other games to play. At last month’s Game Fest we had a group of people playing Munchkin, another group was playing the Dark Souls board game and others were playing Magic the Gathering. Just that right there, you can tell the variety of games that takes place.

At this month’s Game Fest, Great Stories will be featuring the UnRivaled Tournament Games. The UnRivaled Tournament was the summer event that players competed for a chance to win a trip to Nationals in Las Vegas. For this game fest these games will be running at certain times.

Villagers and Villains at 3:00 PM-4:30 PM

Nevermore at 4:30 PM-6:00 PM

King of Tokyo at 6:00 PM-7:30 PM

 Epic Spell Wars at 7:30 PM-9:00 PM

I’ve had the joy of trying King of Tokyo in the shop and playing Villagers and Villains in the tournament making it to the regional tournament later this summer. Both are games that relay on a lot of strategy and paying attention to what all of your opponents are doing. Each game recommends a minimum of four players. After hearing pleasant reviews of Nevermore and Epic Spell Wars from around the shop I am excited for this Saturday so I finally learn them. I would also recommend any of these four games to anybody looking for a new game to play.



For any more information on the Game Fest please visit the Great Stories Facebook Events page and remember to reserve your seat get your tickets ahead of time.


Until next time fellow gamers,


See you across the table

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New and Releasing Soon: Dragon Ball Super Card Game

What’s new fellow TCG players? I am very excited to talk to you about a brand new game coming to us this summer.


On July 28th Bandai is releasing the new Dragon Ball Super card Game’s first set release called “Galactic Battle”. The game will be featuring characters from the ongoing Dragon Ball Super anime while including past characters from the Dragon Ball universe. It is a competitive two-player trading card game that lets the players experience an exciting Dragon Ball battle.


This past month I was able to sign up for an early promotion to receive demo decks of the game to get a first look into this new adventure and to learn how to play. So first thing I did was get together with my good friend and YouTuber, Duke from “DeebzHub”. He covers mostly anything that is gaming and Dragon Ball. If you’re a DBZ fan go check him out here. We both came to the conclusion after playing the first few games and learning together that this is a fast paced, very different kind of game. Yes, there have been several cancelled Dragon Ball card games in the past; but this one is the one to stick around. This game deserves to be given a chance by any card game lover even if you’re not a fan of the show. There is already a national Facebook group with over 2000 members and growing quickly, even though the game has not even been officially released yet. Duke and I are in agreement that Bandai is doing a wonderful job at promoting and creating interest in this game. In-between the promotional giveaways and hype & tutorial videos on Bandai’s website they really seem to want to cater to the the Dragon Ball fan community. Even with the upset about the cancellation of Panini’s DBZ TCG, this new Dragon Ball game is going to be a breath of fresh air.

Now let’s get to what you all came here for:

The mechanics are fun, easy to learn yet very involved with card interactions. A deck consists of 3 different card types.  1 leader card of a character to lead the battle, which is the core of what you build your deck around. This is a two sided card that when you are low on life you “Power Up” to become stronger, and to turn the tides of battle around in your favor.

Start the game on your unawakened side, waiting to unleash your potential…
…then activate “AWAKENED MODE” after taking significant damage in combat, and unleash your TRUE power!



Then 50 battle cards that allow you to attack, defend and combo your opponent into oblivion!

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Of the few games I have played so far it is so amazing how much strategy there is in this game. My games have lasted between 5 to 7 turns back and forth and on average anywhere between 15 to 30 minutes which means that every decision you make in your early game is crucial to your late game play. On the flip side, as you take more damage you gain an advantage for your next turn. Let me tell you, the first time that you awaken your leader is when the real excitement kicks in. Your attacks become more powerful as you pummel your opponent. Don’t get a big head just because you’re in the lead; this game can go to either player at any point in time.


So grab your dragon radars and lets start an adventure and dive into this new game and fight it out in a Galactic Battle of SUPER proportions.

On July 26th come down to Great Stories for a demo day and walk away with your very own half deck and a promo leader card. You can also enter into Cards and Counters very first raffle for some DBZ merch.



Don’t forget to comment and discuss. What should we try next? What new game would you like the see come to Great Stories?

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Cards and Counters: Taking Care of Your Card Collection

The information in this week’s discussion may be common knowledge to must folks, but I would like to talk about trading/collecting card care and storage. Why not protect the collection that you invest so much time, effort and money into while at the same time keeping it organized and accessible. Collecting cards is a fun hobby and with it comes buying, selling and trading whether it’s with your local game shop or a friend. There are too many times that I have seen people try to sell or trade damaged cards just to be told that no one will buy from them with cards like that. It kills me to see the disappointment a younger players face when all they want to do is trade up for better cards. It is up to us older guys and gals to step in and give tips to people on the best ways to keep their collection as in good of shape as ours is in.

It’s worth protecting if it’s worth collecting.

It’s important to take care of your cards in order to keep their value up. I will say that for any card no matter what it cost. I’m also very ocd when it comes to any of my collections. Even if you play with your cards there are ways to use them and keep them safe. There are many affordable products and different ways to protect your cards. Ultra Pro is probably to cheapest and easiest way to get started.

Every time I rip packs I sort the new cards by rarity and by foil. The common cards will go into a 1000 card count box and then the rares and foils will get sleeved up and but into an Ultra Pro deck box or into a binder. All of these supplies can be found at your local game store. For any cards that I use to play with I tend to double sleeve, but that’s really for the way it feels when shuffling double sleeved cards.

The 1000 count boxes are the best way to store and to keep your cards well organized and accessible. Just be sure that you are going to keep everything stores in a dry place. It’s the worst smell in the world opening up a box that has been sitting in a damp basement for a couple years.


Binders are the best way to show your collection off. The 9 sleeve pages are pretty to look at, especially it filled with foils and organized by card number. It’s best to put the card in a card sleeve before into the page sleeve. This provides extra protection while having a snug fit so your cards don’t fall out of the binder.



These are just some recommendation for caring for your cards. Get down to your local game store for all of these supplies.

Let me know what you do to protect your cards. Are there any products out there that I should be using and maybe reviewing for others to try?

Meet me at Great Stories and let’s try something new!

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New Finds: Final Fantasy TCG

New Finds is all about finding a new game and jumping into a new world. But brace yourselves for this one gamers…  There is a new TCG out for Final Fantasy produced by Square Enix. Yes, you heard that right. Let the nostalgia pump through your veins because all of your favorite characters, heroes and villains from the Final Fantasy franchise are here. Even if you have never played any of the FF video games you can still find this TCG enjoyable to play. The mechanics of the game are different and seems confusing at first, but as soon as you start to understand the rules of the game and play it, it all starts flow easily.

With two sets released the game has already made an impact in the TCG world. “Opus 1” was released to North America this past October of 2016, Opus 2 was released in April 2017 and Opus 3 coming out on July 21,2017. So far, I have not been disappointed with this game and there is already a well-balanced player base in the MA/RI area.

The biggest problem with learning any new trading card game is that everyone compares it to Magic. Please stop it. LOL…. Games are way more difficult to learn if you don’t use that games terminology. For example, instead of mana for the cost to cast something, in FFTCG it’s called crystal points to play a card. The mechanics for paying something to play a card is completely different than what the mechanics are for MTG. So if you start to compare something new to MTG, new players usually tend to say that the mechanics of the new game don’t make sense because of what they’re used to. So I find that the best way that you are going to learn anything new is to start your thought process with a clean slate. Read through the rules/instructions thoroughly, and then sit down with your best mate and play.

A FFTCG deck consist of exactly 50 cards and you can have up to 3 copies of the same card. There are 3 different cards types: Forward (your attackers), Backups (provide your Crystal Points aka CP and other abilities) and Summons (uses abilities and are used in response to an action). The game is played as best of one and is won by attacking with your forwards to deal the other player seven points of damage. There are eight different styles of cards within this game that are referred as elements. Each element is focused towards different kind of players and their play style. So far I have found success in Water, Fire and Earth Elements.

When first looking at FFTCG I opened up a starter deck with a Final Fantasy 8 theme. This means that most of the character cards are categorized as that game title and they all will compliment each other for in-game abilities. Names like Cloud, Biggs, Vincent and Wedge. Here is Cloud, one of the main focuses of the deck.


No matter how many times I play this deck, once I get this card out things start to go my way. The cost required to play Cloud is reduced and then each forward gains +1000 attacking power.IMG_0335

And then having Vincent out and attacking with 8000 fist strike can help chip away at your opponents forwards.


Now this is just the starter decks objectives. We have already seen tournaments in the UK and the way they have taken off with the deck building gets me even more hyped to dive deeper into this game.


This has turned out to be a new favorite game to play. I highly recommend anyone to give this game a try. If you are interested, swing down to Great Stories and ask about it. Ask me. Or you can try the below sites for information to get started. Also, make sure you check back with GSI’s Facebook page to see when the next events are.


For more of a national/world wide scene on Facebook:

To look up cards of the game:

For a Reddit Group:


Remember to comment and let me know what other games we should try. Come down to the shop nerd out with us.

Till next time… Catch ya’ at da shop!








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Cards and Counters: Release Reactions of Spring 2017

In this segment of Cards and Counters called Release Reactions, we will give a brief look at what’s exciting about the new sets of Trading Card Games that were just released. Due to great timing and scheduling this Release Reactions will discuss Magic’s Amonket and Pokémon’s Sun & Moon Guardians Rising.  Below are some quick highlights of cards from each set that I find attractive and that I will most likely be playing.

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Pokémon, Sun & Moon Guardians Rising:

Released 5/5/17

In the wake of the Sun & Moon base set we were introduced to the Pokémon GX. With the release of the Guardians Rising expansion, we have been given an even more powerful and fun to play Pokémon GX. Some people may believe that the GX’s are just too OP and that you can’t play the game unless you run a GX in your deck. These points may be true in some cases, but what I have found is that the Pokémon GX have brought a level of balance to the game play that the EX’s have tried to offer up to this point. I say that because the EX’s are mostly basic Pokémon and are fairly easy to get out into battle. As for the GX’s, some of them are basics but the majority of them are the top stage of an evolutionary stack. This means a player will have to do a little more work to get a GX out.

And if you think that you can’t fight EX’s or GX’s with normal Pokémon think again. There are ways to get around even the most powerful of Pokémon.

One example that has worked for me when facing either a EX or GX with a basic Pokémon is Kangaskhan from Sun & Moon. With 130 HP it can and has lasted me two turns against higher damage attacks. With the Hurricane Punch attack you have the potential to deal up to 200 damage. For me, this card has cemented itself with at least 3 spots in my standard deck and has gotten me out of quite a few pickles.


With the play style that I have found myself growing into, the combo that I am most attracted to out of Guardians Rising is Lunala and Lunala GX. First, I look at Lunala and see Shatter Shot; this does “40 damage times the amount of psychic Energy attached to this Pokémon”. Then the attack Wings of the Moone; 130 damage and “Move all energy from this Pokémon to your benched Pokémon in any way you like”. So with Lunala as your active Pokémon and having to remove all of your energy from it to go to the bench, this will slow your game down immensely. But in your next turn by using Lunala GX’s Psychic Transfer ability you are able to get right back into the fight. “As often as you like during your turn (before you attack) you may move a psychic energy from 1 of your Pokémon to another 1 of you Pokémon”. Then if you get stuck and need to retreat either one of them, as long as you have the Stadium card Altar of the Moone, you will have a free retreat cost. This combo has the potential to be a great back bone to any psychic deck in the 2017 standard.






One game play change that has come out of Guardians Rising so far is for the Special Condition Burned. The rule now reads: “Between turns, put 2 damage counters on a Burned Pokémon. Then, the Pokémon’s owner flips a coin. If heads, remove the Special Condition Burned from that Pokémon.

I can see this being a great rule change and should bring play balance to the special conditions. We’ll have to wait and see.



MTG: Amonket:

Released 4/28/17

So about a year ago I stopped keeping up with MTG to focus on other games and find new things within the TCG universe. You could say that I had a stale period with the game, but with the buildup of Amonket, the game started to catch my eye again. This is definitely the set to bring me back into the game.

After a friend of mine played in the pre-release event, I asked him about what he was most excited for in Amonket and he had only one word…. Zombies! So I started thinking about a straight zombie creature deck within the standard format and how fun it can be. I am really enjoying how much more graveyard management can be done with the newer cards from the past year or so.

The cards for a zombie deck that I would like to discuss are Dread Wanderer (Amonket), Stitchwing Skaab and Prized Amalgam (both from Shadows of Innistrad). These interactions can be very fun to play with the potential of being difficult for the other player to defend against. With the hand management of Stitchwing Skaab and with Dread Wanderer constantly triggering Prized Amalgam, it’s pretty awesome not having to worry about your hand size or top decking what you need. Just being able to keep playing creatures right from your graveyard is even better. Setting this up should be fairly easy and the game play should flow fairly quickly due to the low costing creatures and abilities. I am excited to see what players will come up with to answer this type of deck.



So at a glance I will say that both games added a lot of great stuff with these new sets. If you’re looking for somewhere to play or just need some inspiration with play and deck building, don’t forget to come down to Great Stories on Tuesdays for Pokémon and Fridays for Friday Night Magic.

Don’t forget to comment here or just meet me down at the shop. Let me know what you want to see reviewed or played. Is there any new games out there that I should play?


Till the next adventure….    Count your mana


MTG Joke

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Cards and Counters: Welcome

Welcome to the first of many adventures with Cards and Counters. Your one stop for all things nerdy and fun!

Here we will be diving into the many worlds of all Table Top Games that are old, ongoing or new/releasing soon. Whether you are a veteran, new player or have no idea what I’m ranting about; you will find that this is your local source for game stories, news and more.

Personally, I get hyped about any strategy game like Magic the Gathering and Pokémon while at the same time any role playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons Libary(just to name a few).  I have always been into comics and everything related to comics. But for the past 5 years or so I have been deeply into D&D and many TCG’s. The card game addiction for me started with Magic, but has grown and reached many others. I am always willing to try anything new to me and I am open to suggestions. Also, I am not above playing the good old fashion family game night board games (Monopoly, Risk, etc…). There have been many nights that I’ve spent playing monopoly until 4am. But those stories are for another time.

As of right now I’m invested in playing Pokémon and I play every Tuesday night at my local comic shop. And of course there is Friday Night Magic basically anywhere they sell booster packs. As for D&D, I am part of a game with a bunch a work buddies with a campaign that has gone on now for about 2 years. Granted, I don’t always make it to every game. But I play with great group of guys and one very patient DM.

No matter what game I am playing or where I play, the best part about table top games is the communities of players, imagination and competitiveness. I can’t count how new people I have met playing card games around New England by either traveling to locales other than my own or at conventions and tournaments. I have met some folks that live a couple hours away in different directions but they have became my closest friends all because we got to bond over doing what we love.

When you immerse yourself into one of these games you’re really jumping into a new diverse community of people that you easily become friends with and then later start to feel like family.

If you like to meet new people and like being competitive, just jump down to my local Great Stories Inc in Uxbridge, MA and find a table top game that suits you. It’s a great, reliable place. And someone is always there that is friendly, knowledgeable and supportive. Go see their gaming schedule and join us. Ask me questions, leave comments here and let’s start a conversation about strategy games. I am here to help in any way I can.  I’ll meet up and introduce myself and one of the many games that I love to play. Or if you have a game to introduce to me to, please do! Table Top games are here for fun, to escape to other worlds and to find new friends that you can just nerd out with!

Till the next adventure….             Roll for 20’s