I’ve Come to Game: Miscellaneous Tools of the Trade
Every game has its own requirements, but most games have a lot of overlap in what materials are needed. Markers or tokens, usually designated with marbles, coins, specialized gaming counters, or even special cards are a card game staple. Tokens are used to designate special status effects, new creatures that have entered play, and many more individualized purposes.
It’s always a good idea to have a handful of dice on you. Whether you’re determining who goes first by rolling the highest or have specific cards that ask you to roll a die, it’s a good bet that it will come up throughout your games.
You might want to invest in a pad of paper and a few ballpoint pens, too. While you can keep track of life totals on a calculator or dice, in tournaments, the only thing that matters is the written record. Even if your opponent is keeping score, I urge you to do the same and check in frequently to ensure you’re on the same page. That will help you avoid a dispute later on requiring judges to get involved. Having said that, if you have a disagreement with your opponent, there’s no shame in calling over an assistant judge and/or appealing to a head judge. That’s what they’re there for.
Gamers that use calculators frequently often invest in calculator cases. Some retailers sell specialized cases with their logos.
A quick note on binders: when I started out, I kept all of my cards in a giant binder. My collection, worth well over $10,000 at any given time, was out for all to see. That invited unwanted attention. If I were to start over, I’d recommend keeping the big binder at home and carrying around smaller binders with dispensable trade stuff to my local events.
And once you’ve got all the materials you’re going to need, it’s a good idea to invest in a nice backpack. You’ve got lots of long weekends ahead on your card gaming adventure and your backpack is going to be your best friend. Make sure it’s secure, snug, and that the straps won’t break easily. It’s going to hold some of your most prized possessions; don’t skimp on it.
Last but not least, if you’re going to trade a lot, make sure to download a few key apps. Life counter apps, randomization apps, coin flip apps, and apps that tell updated single prices are all well-worth downloading ahead of time. Remember my note about writing down life totals, but life counter apps for friendly games are fine.
Alright! Heed my words, dear Padawan, and you’ll have no trouble whatsoever at your first tournament.
The author recommends:
Ian Spiegel-Blum has worked in the game industry for ten years, first as the manager of a local game and comic shop, then as an independent online retailer, Director of Operations for The Spoils Trading Card Game, and most recently a consultant to start-up game companies. He has seen the game industry from the inside and out and is excited to pass on his knowledge to the next generation of card slingers.