Friendly local game stores and their owners are to few and far between. I think when a game store has to close down, for whatever reason, it affects us all in the gaming community. It does not matter how faraway you are or how close you are to a game store. If one closes its doors we are all adversely affected one way or another.
Most of you will have no idea who Dave Estes is. Truth is, I didn’t know him all that well myself, but the man had a positive impact on my life. Because of that, I think he is worth being remembered for all that he did for the hobby and the community.
Juneau, Alaska does not have much in the way of gaming or comic book stores. If you have ever been to Juneau its pretty easy to see that just by having a hobby store like the one Dave ran in this part of the country is a hard thing to keep afloat. Throughout the years that he owned his store, Collector’s Hideaway he did his very best to cater to the changing needs of the community.
Dave loved gaming and he showed it by the way he ran his store. He held Magic The Gathering tournaments almost weekly. He would teach kids new to the game how to play or pare them up with someone he though could help them learn the game better. He also dabbled in table top role playing games. Even through he never sold a lot of gaming books or minis he still manage to do the special orders that a couple of us in town asked for. He would often e-mail me with specials he heard about regarding role playing games or I would e-mail him about some special run of minis Wizards of the Coast was doing and he would go out of his way to try and get them for me.
Back in March of 2010 I wrote a story for Stargazer’s World titled, Gaming In Remote Locations: Juneau Alaska. In that story I talked about my own personal experiences with gaming in an isolated placed like Juneau. I also used that story as an opportunity to interview Dave Estes about his locally owned store. We spent most of the time talking about the most popular game in Juneau at the time, and I think still is, Magic The Gathering. As we chatted he would stop to help out a young kid who walked in with his mother who wanted Pokémon cards but had questions as to which pack he should buy. He even offered to help the boy get in contact with other Pokémon players in town.
The gaming community has lost a good friend in Dave Estes. He will be missed and remembered upon fondly. As the latest chapter closes on this small town we sit and wait with our dice and cards in hand for the next one to begin.
Based on recommendations from more than one friend and reviews I had been reading on the Internet, (or “tubes” as we say in Alaska) I ordered three Castles & Crusades books from Troll Lord Games. The Players Handbook, Monsters & Treasure and Castle Keepers Guide. I have heard nothing but good things about this game and I wanted to make sure I had a copy sitting on my book shelf for when my group and I where ready to play it. So I ordered it.
Two weeks later the game found its way to my hands. That’s a little more time than most RPG orders I make but, not a big deal to me. Like I said, I wanted the game ready for when my party was ready to try something new.
I picked up the C&C package from my post office yesterday and was a little worried because the box that the books where shipped in was looking a little beaten up. I tried not to let this bother me. In the past I have ordered RPG books from other companies that have come to me in beat up boxes, but the books where perfectly fine. My luck must have run out however, because these books where not in what I would call new condition.
When I got home I opened the box to discover that the packing used to protect the books – wads of brown paper – was only covering one side of the books as you can see in the picture below. The other side was resting against the box. So any bumps, dings, or bangs that the box encounter on this ride to Alaska would effect at least one of the book’s hard covers. Compared to my experience of ordering the Mutants & Masterminds 3rd edition book and Gamemaster’s Kit from Green Ronin, it seems like Troll Lord Games must have a troll in some dark and dusty basement doing all the packaging and mail orders. Green Ronin really set the bar high for how products should be shipped. Amazon.com does not even do it as good as them.
Generally my Dungeons & Dragons game starts at 1:30pm on Saturdays. Sometimes not everyone can make it. Sometimes enough people can’t make it that we opt out of D&D all together for some other game to play. Last weekend was one of those days for me. The game we chose to play was a pick by my Fiancé’s. It was a Wizards of the Coast game called Guillotine.
This easy to learn card game was a lot of fun.
Game play, for two to five players, takes approximately 30 minutes. Game equipment consists of two decks of cards, “Nobles” and “Actions”, and a small cardboard structure representing the guillotine itself. This is mostly symbolic, though it can serve as a convenient indicator of the direction of the “line” of face-up Noble cards played on the game table representing condemned persons waiting to be guillotined. The Nobles cards carry points values and are collected by players after execution, while Action cards allow the player to perform various acts including rearranging the order of Nobles approaching the guillotine, steal Nobles or Action cards from other players, enhance the point values of certain categories of Nobles (see “Noble Types” below) and so forth.
I could not help but think of the card game Munchkin while we played this. I hate Munchkin, but I really liked Guillotine. Some of the cards in the Action deck of Guillotine are pretty crazy and can change the game around at any moment. For a quick need-a-game-in-a-pinch, Guillotine with it’s easy to learn quick to play rules fits the bill perfectly.
A Roleplaying Games blog
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