Just like Obama

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Maybe not in the way you're thinking, I can't dunk a basketball or win an election, but Obama started out as a community organizer, and that's a role we can all benefit from emulating.

I am getting really pumped for GenCon because I plan to play Star Realms as much as possible. For those who tune out when I prattle on about it, Star Realms in a deckbuilding card game designed by Magic Hall of Fame members Rob Daugherty and Darwin Kastle. I was a Kickstarter backer and promoted the game a heck of a lot. Now that the closed Beta for the electronic version of the game is going full swing and I can play against others on the internet, including mr Kastle himself, I am playing non-stop.

When my LGS owner posted on facebook that he had a lot of the game sets in stock, I got a brilliant idea- why not organize a tournament in the store? Lowish buy-in to encourage non-players to pick the game up, a discount on entry if you buy or bring a copy of the game to use in the event, some of my kickstarter rewards as prizes- the whole idea formed almost instantly. The store owner is super on board and now we're looking at a calendar to pick a good date for the event.

All of which lead me to ask myself- when was the last time I did something like that for Magic?

And how hard would it be? My LGS would be just as inclined to let me organize 2 Headed Giant Sealed, you know, the format whose passing I lament every opportunity I'm given. He'd let me set up infi proxy Vintage or Legacy or a weeknight just for funsies cube draft. I could even invite people over to my house to jam a draft. I haven't done anything like that in forever.

I talk a lot about the need to assimilate with different groups to have a larger client base and to get yourself in a situation where there is money to be made shipping cards between the groups. But I am finding myself relying on others for setting up EDH night and I mostly stick to the store event schedule. Organizing stuff is a good way to get yourself more widely known in your community and that can't be a bad thing. It's all a matter of bothering to do it. I've mae plenty of selling opportunities just by asking, maybe it's time to give something back.

Especially if that thing is 2 Headed Giant.

I just have two questions for you - first, what is your current favorite non-Magic game, why is it Hearthstone, and how do I convince you to make it not Hearthstone?

Second, what are you going to do to give back to your community?

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Jason Alt

Jason Alt is a value trader and writer. He is Quiet Speculation's self-appointed web content archivist and co-captain of the interdepartmental dodgeball team. He enjoys craft microbrews and doing things ironically. You may have seen him at magic events; he wears black t-shirts and has a beard and a backpack so he's pretty easy to spot. You can hear him as co-host on the Brainstorm Brewery podcast or catch his articles on He is also the Community Manager at and writes the odd article there, too. Follow him on Twitter @JasonEAlt unless you don't like having your mind blown.

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11 thoughts on “Just like Obama

    1. Okay, I will bite. I have never played Hearthstone. I don’t plan on trying it.

      My second favorite game is Backgammon. Strange? Not to me. You can gamble, the skill vs odds curve is fun, and dramatic turnarounds happen frequently. I grew up playing Shesh Besh and it still has massive appeal to me.

      There you have it.

  1. Hearthstone. It requires such minimal time and money investment for a casual gamer and the client itself is a far cry from Mtgo/beta.

    I resisted Hearthstone but it eventually pulled me in as it was free to play and I found the quick matches addicting. Also, the Arena is brillant. No queue waiting, no deck building wait. You can stop midway through your picks or even choose to only play one match.

  2. I think you’re assuming people are going for electronic games? Think again.

    Recently I’ve been enjoying Smash Up a lot. In that game you basically choose 2 pre-built half decks, shuffle them together and play. Much of it plays a bit like Magic, but it’s a lot easier to explain. I also quite frequently play Aquarius, Bang! (theice game variant), King of Tokyo, Love Letter, Metropolis and Pirates when I get the change (Pirates is a game yet to be released on Kickstarter, it should be available on the 12th, I like how the influencing others and multiplayer diplomacy plays a lot like Magic does in multiplayer, so if you like that I highly recommend checking it out). I love the concept of the game Lifeboat, but I haven’t yet gotten many chances to play it and while I haven’t played it recently I’m always up for a game of Robo Rally (dibs on Twonky!).

    I organize a games afternoon every 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month (in Landsmeer, that’s right next to Amsterdam Noord if any Dutchies are reading, look for Spelletjesmiddag Vrij & Blij on Facebook). We attract between 5 and 15 people, usually 10+ and at the beginning and end of summer we do a BBQ that attracts around 30 people. Recently we’ve been working on promotion to try to get the numbers up. As a result we’re frequently seeing new people show up and it feels like it’ll only be a matter of time before we’re going to hit bigger numbers.

    I’m also fairly active within the Amsterdice gaming group that organizes events in Amsterdam Noord one Sunday a month and where I can often be found helping out the organizers either by running a few games (werewolf or explaining some of the many games I know) or like last Sunday by helping with preparing the food. When in June they are organizing a long weekend away I hope to organize a big cooperative game of my own creation outside the venue. I have plans to organize the same game in 3 other places this year.

    I’ve been a youth club board member for 7.5 years, I’ve been active in a study organization for the entire time I studied.

    I feel I’ve been giving back to the community quite often ;).

  3. Catan, its easy to introduce people to. Different skills levels all have a high chance of victory
    Cards against humanity. Smash up. Dominion. Betrayal at house on the hill.
    League of horribly under-dressed legends sometime bronze scrub.

  4. I agree with your love of 2-Headed Giant Sealed events…those are now the only pre-releases I play in…since my LGS is kind enough to hold those saturday afternoon it works doubly well….

    1. They did exactly one 2HG PTQ and one State Championships event. I really don’t understand why they didn’t do more – 2HG sealed was amazing, it’s not much harder to run than any other team event, events WOTC knows are retarded popular. My buddy and I got Top 4 of the PTQ and Champs so I was ranked 3rd in the State of Michigan for a while which sounded impressive to people because they didn’t know better.

  5. Hearthstone drafting gives me the same experience of my opponents always drawing the exact thing to screw my deck over in almost every match, for free, but gives me nothing to show for it afterward.

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