Sunday, April 4, 2010

L5R Draft Tournament

For the first time in my life, I attended a CCG (collectible card game) tournament. I was worried that I would be instantly pwned, since I am so new to L5R (Legend of the 5 Rings), but my friend who was running the event encouraged me to play. About once a month I had been attending a local meet-up at a game store, to improve my skills, so I figured I'd give it a shot.

Somehow, I missed the "Magic: The Gathering" CCG phenomenon. L5R is the first CCG game I have played and I love the variety of options for game play and victory. I've already begun to see that having the resources and determination to acquire rare cards for one's deck can be quite an advantage, so I am starting to understand that common complaint against CCGs. Being an avid gamer and someone who has attended GenCon for most of the past decade, I must admit I had also heard rumors that CCG players had a tendency to be a bit... fanatical.

I had a really great time with the tournament, I think because it was a "draft", where you build your play deck from a set of cards that everyone is sharing. This eliminates the chances of playing someone who has spent thousands of dollars on their deck, making them near impossible to win against if you are a casual player. During the event, I even won a game! Which I was quite proud of.

There are times when I forget how much older I am compared to this new generation of gamers. I have been gaming since before many of them were born. I'm in my mid-30s now and was playing against young men (only one other woman in the event) that were at least 10 years younger than me. Needless to say that the volume was a bit overwhelming, all these guys were talking very loudly, often talking over one another in boastful ways, and no one really listening to one another. In order to be heard across the table, one had to yell. It made me feel kinda old. "Oh, these kids these days, all yelling all the time... I blame MP3 players for making them all half-deaf!" says the old fogy. My friend running the competition reminded me that they ARE young men, pumped up in a competitive environment, and their nervousness is expressed through volume. He was right and that reminded me to relax.

Being that this drew in players from all over the metro area, I was a little anxious about how some of the players might be. And it happened... "Oh, dude, don't be gay!!" What to do? I've been "out" for almost 20 years, so one would think that my skin would be super thick, but it's not. Every time, it stings me to hear that kinda stuff. I turned around and asked the guy if he would not say stuff like that out of respect for me, his fellow gamer. The two guys that were sitting there said okay. They weren't ever able to make eye contact with me after that, but they were good to their word.

These CCG players are total geek gamers, like the rest of us. I did not find them to be "fanatical" (in the bad ways), but rather passionate, intense, and excitable. I would happily join their company for any future draft tournament... even though my noob self would mostly be fodder.

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