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Kingmaker Games -- a haven for gamers
RUMFORD -- "This is more of a club, like a pub. For a gamer, this is a second home, where everyone has something in common."
That is how Shannon Couture sums up his business, Kingmaker Games, located on 58 Congress St. He noted that he doesn't have a traditional business model. "I own the store, but it's not just my store. People dictate my hours."
Couture said they have a core group which has grown to more than 25 gamers. About 30 percent of them are lady players. And how often do you see an activity where a youngster at age 11 takes on an adult in his forties?
The most popular game played here is Magic: The Gathering game, the world's premier trading card game. It was the first of its kind, and it's still the best and the biggest.
In the Magic game, you play the role of a planeswalker — a powerful wizard who fights other planeswalkers for glory, knowledge, and conquest. Your deck of cards represents all the weapons in your arsenal. It contains the spells you know and the creatures you can summon to fight for you.
Trading card games like the Magic: The Gathering TCG combine collectable cards with a strategy game. You don't know what you'll get in a Magic booster pack. You just start a collection and trade with other players to get the cards you want.
The best part about a trading card game is that it's always changing. You design and build your own unique decks, and each Magic game you play is different. New Magic expansions are released a few times a year, and each new expansion brings new ways to stupefy and defeat your opponents.
Some people play Magic just for fun, coming up with great theme decks or funny combinations of cards to play against their friends. For other players, Magic is a highly competitive game of skill, with hundreds of thousands of dollars up for grabs in professional tournaments. To others still, Magic is all about collecting and trading cards that feature breathtaking original art from some today's premier fantasy artists.
The next tournament will be played at 6 p.m. on Christmas eve. Another will played on New Year's eve. The entry fee is only $5, which includes a booster pack of cards. The top four places win prizes. There are also random door prizes.
Also popular is the Wall of Fame, where winners get their playing names placed on the wall.
To learn more about the game, grab a friend and head down to Kingmaker Games. You can buy cards, meet some new friends, and learn more about the game. Couture said it's inexpensive and each games usually takes 15 to 40 minutes.
People can get involved in this game at any time because it's continually evolving. Couture said that every three months, a new card set is introduced and every two years, a set is retired. A special computer programs the matchup which helps to "develop friendly rivalries in the shop."
Besides the local games, there are tournaments are the state, national and world level. These shops are especially popular in college towns. There is one in Farmington and players from this shop have gone there to compete. Further, players from other shops have come to Rumford to play.
Couture said he grew up playing these games. Now his wife and children are also gamers.
To get introduced to the games, Kingmaker Games also offers a free night on Wednesdays when people can play another popular game called Dungeons & Dragons.
Kingmaker Games offers board games, card games, roleplaying and tabletop games. Gift certificates are also available. Holiday hours are noon to 8 p.m. weekdays, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends. Kingmaker Games can be reached at 364-9943. To learn more, go online to Facebook at Kingmaker Games.