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Browsing articles from "March, 2017"
Mar 31, 2017
Comments Off on MTG:Great article about staying relevant! Just like us:)

MTG:Great article about staying relevant! Just like us:)

Photo courtesy Wizards of the Coast

Magic is secretly, not really … it’s not one game,” head Magic: The Gathering designer Mark Rosewater told me. “It is actually a bunch of different games that all have a shared rule system. Every time I make a card set, I’m making the game for everybody, but for each person, it’s a different game to them.”

Designing Magic to be playable by both professionals and casual groups of friends is one of the numerous design challenges Rosewater confronts on a daily basis. As a Magic designer for 21 years, and head designer for the last 14, Rosewater is one of the main reasons the game is surging in popularity, and why it has stayed relevant while nearly every other collectible card game launched in its wake has since collapsed. Rosewater might just be the best game designer in the world.

“Richard Garfield was the creator of the game,” Rosewater responded when asked about the game’s staying power. “[Garfield] talked about Magic being a game that’s bigger than the box. The idea being that most games, when you sit down to play the game—take Monopoly as an example—like, you know what you’re going to get. Because every time you play Monopoly, it’s the same pieces. You’re not going to be surprised. It’s the same board with the same 40 squares. … But Magic doesn’t do that. Magic, each person, what they have of the game is different. And that part of what makes the game the game is that aspect of exploration.”

 While it’s easy to speak of Magic as an open and exploratory experience in the abstract, it’s far more difficult to design gameplay to ensure it. One of the terms that comes up with an almost mantra-like frequency throughout Rosewater’s design process is elegance: Finding the simplest and cleanest way to do something. “As Magic adds things to it, if we’re not careful, we may get farther and farther away from the base level person who has never played before,” he said. “And so a really big part of trying to make Magic is figuring out how to find … the depth in the simplicity. How do I make nice, simple, clean things that people can understand, but when you add it all together, it’s something that there’s depth to?”

As Magic matures and grows—almost 17,000 cards have been released in the game’s 24-year history—repeating card mechanics or even functionally reprinting classic cards from older sets simultaneously creates a nostalgia for the early days, while serving as guideposts for newer players to steep themselves in the history of the game. “We have to be willing to embrace simple things that we’ve done before,” Rosewater said. In this way, repetition serves to both ensure discoveries for players new to the game, and keeps existing players invested, allowing them to use old and known cards in new ways.

Of course, a game would get boring and predictable if it simply rehashed well-worn cards from the past. In an effort to keep finding new space to explore and keep an ever-growing player base guessing, Rosewater was adamant that risk taking was an essential skill for the design team. He brought up one of the chief mechanics from the set Innistrad—doubled-faced cards, which had another card on the back instead of the regular card backs every previous set had—as a choice to venture into uncharted territory.

Magic, for many, many years, you know, it had one face,” said Rosewater. “The back was always the back. And then one day we said ‘whoa, what if that wasn’t true?’ And we were able to make a whole bunch of new cards because we’d never mined that space before. And that’s something we might not have been willing to do 10 years ago. But five years ago, we were.” Many tournament winning decks incorporated these cards, and they were also flavorful and evocative of the gothic horror setting of Innistrad, which is more important than it might seem.

Another of Rosewater’s design principles is resonance: Beyond finding new and flashy things for cards to do, there must be contextual clues and reasons for doing them. The double-faced cards introduced in Innistrad changed based on an in-game event; werewolves flip from human to wolf depending on whether it is night or day, for example. It is easy for a player to grasp the how and the why, and subsequently easier to understand the in-game ramifications of the newer card. Rosewater used the mechanic of flying—creatures with flying can only be blocked by other creatures with flying—to make this point.

A double-backed card from Innistrad. Images courtesy Wizards of the Coast

“If I wanted to teach you flying, the reason that’s easier to teach you than most mechanics is, it just does what you think flying would do,” he explained, before coyly revealing some of the resonant ideas from Amonkhet, a soon-to-be-released set with Ancient Egyptian undertones. “What would people expect to be in an Egyptian-themed set? Mummies? Yeah! Let’s have mummies. Pyramids? Let’s have some pyramids!” These touchstones not only inform the mechanics of the set, but also the overall flavor and stylistic decisions that help players understand the constant amount of new information being thrown at them.

 In constantly devising new mechanics, the biggest pitfall Rosewater and the designers must avoid is power creep, the game design equivalent of the disease of more, when the need to create ever-more cards results in newer cards being more powerful than older ones, throwing off the delicate balance of the game as a whole. To avoid power creep, Rosewater attempts to design the game as an M.C. Escher stairway. “Is there a way to create the illusion that the game is always getting more powerful, when in reality we’re not changing the power level?” Rosewater asked, before continuing. “So the secret is, what you do is you change some things, and you put a focus on the things you’re changing, and then meanwhile, other things you depower.”

It’s a delicate operation, and one that doesn’t always work out. Sometimes it is a single card at issue, like the legendary creature Emrakul, the Promised End, which was showing up in nearly every tournament deck at the end of 2016. Sometimes, it is an entire new mechanic, like affinity during the mid-2000s. The most extreme tool to rebalance the game is to ban or restrict certain cards, essentially admitting that the designers made a major error. (Emrakul, the Promised End was banned in January). Powerful cards, like all cards, also eventually rotate out of functionality as the most popular tournament format—known as Standard—only allows decks constructed with the last two years of cards.

But while the design team has an obviously huge role in shaping Magic, so to do its players and the culture writ large. “We went from gaming as a thing that some people do to gaming is a thing people do,” said Rosewater. “And the way that I try to talk about it is, movies went from a similar procedure where, early in movies’ life, certain people would go to movies, but it was a special thing like, you were a movie enthusiast. And then at some point it just became a thing. Like it’s not who goes to movies, everybody goes to the movies.”

 Rosewater was also quick to point out that computers, phones, and the internet—which allow for more widespread gameplay—are also extremely helpful in terms of allowing him to interact with players, and see how his designs are being used in the real world. “Richard’s original vision was, it’s a secret,” Rosewater remarked with a chuckle. “We’re not going to tell anybody. You have to explore. We’re not going to share the card lists, we’re not going to tell you anything. You have to find out by going and playing other people.”

Now, of course, there is an entire online industry devoted to covering tournaments and analyzing cards, with articles on theory and technical play a mouse click away. But competitive play is just one subset of the Magic fanbase, a split into niche interests Rosewater finds beneficial. “It used to be, ‘I’m a Magic player’ or ‘I’m not a Magic player,’” he said. “Now it’s like, ‘I’m a Magic player.’ Well, what kind of Magic player? What format do you play? What about Magic do you enjoy?”

Which brings Rosewater to his description of Magic as different games with a shared rule system. “To some people it’s a competitive game about playing, you know, the last two years of cards and going to tournaments,” he said. “And other people it’s about sitting with their friends at the kitchen table playing a 100-card commander deck. For other people it’s like playing cards from way, way long ago and doing crazy things that are so way powerful that we could never do them again. Different people want different things out of the game, and so one of the challenges of designing the game is designing it such that I make something for everybody.”

 This need to serve a diverse player base is a design challenge, but also Magic’s greatest strength, and what Rosewater attributes much of its success too. “I’m a biased person, but Magic to me is the best game ever made. It is an awesome, awesome game,” he said. “And it is a game that does something that very few games do, which is, it lets you be the game designer.” Every year hundreds of new cards are released, unleashing untold deck-building possibilities. But as those decks are being built, the design team has already moved on to the next set.

Rosewater is excited for the challenge. “This year, in October, I will have been here 22 years,” he said, with a noticeable amount of pride. “And people always say to me, ‘Well don’t you get bored? Don’t you get bored doing the same thing?’ And I’m like, ‘I’m not doing the same thing. Every year I’m making a brand-new game that I’ve never made before for a wider group of audiences that want lots of different things.’”

“It is not boring. It’s challenging, but it is never boring.”

Mar 30, 2017
Comments Off on MTG: Duel decks: Mind vs. Magic are here!

MTG: Duel decks: Mind vs. Magic are here!


These look great! Drop over, bring a friend, and let loose the dogs of war!

Spoilers ahead!


Posted in Feature on March 20, 2017

By Nicholas Wolfram

The battle of brains and brawn is one of nature’s classic recurring struggles, and at the core of this struggle is time. Does brains have enough time to concoct a clever plan and outwit brawn before it gets pummeled into an unrecognizable mess of disappointment and viscera? This conflict that can easily swing in favor of either side with just the slightest change in circumstances, which is what makes it such a gripping competition. If you’ve been looking to play out the delicate balance of this rivalry in a Magic game, then look no further: it is the spirit of this eternal battle that spawned the upcoming Duel Decks: Mind vs. Might, and you’ll see that spirit come through every time the cards hit the table.


The face of “Mind” is appropriately Jhoira of the Ghitu, one of the greatest minds we’ve seen spring from Dominaria (which is saying a lot, given that both Urza and Teferi call the plane home). As a former student of the prestigious Tolarian Academy, Jhoira is a master artificer and was even the original captain of the skyship Weatherlight. As such, she is known for her skills at inventing new devices and tinkering with existing ones. Due to her experiences at the epicenter of some significant temporal disasters and her background with time mages Barrin and Teferi, Jhoira also harbors a deep understanding of chronomancy, the magic of time manipulation.

These talents with chronomancy are center-stage in Mind, an instant-and-sorcery-matters deck with ridiculous levels of synergy woven throughout its constructions. With no artifacts present, Jhoira’s skills as an artificer take a backseat in this brew. Instead, the deck focuses on controlling the tempo of the game and auto-generating an army of nuisances until it can execute one massive, game-shifting turn that either leaves the opponent completely destroyed or in enough of a mess that it only takes one or two more turns to clean up the rest. And when I say that turn is massive, I’m not exaggerating.

With the combination of suspend and storm, along with just about every nonland card in the deck either caring about instants and sorceries or being an instant or sorcery, this deck can have some absolutely bonkers turns when it survives long enough to set them up. Fortunately, we’ve packed in plenty of blue-red card advantage to make sure that unleashing the turn of your dreams is a real possibility. With multiple copies each of Reach Through Mists, Peer Through Depths, and Sift Through Sands, you’ll be able to easily filter through your deck and get to the meaty cards you want easily enough that summoning The Unspeakable will really just feel like a freebie.

Once you’ve set up your hand and warded off any attacks with your army of free tokens, you’ll be ready to send your opponent straight into the eye of the storm. Thanks to some suspension from the likes of Shivan Meteor, Deep-Sea Kraken, and of course Jhoira of the Ghitu herself, you can easily build up a storm count of over six and cast Empty the Warrens, Grapeshot, or Temporal Fissure to pave the road for an easy victory. Trust me when I say these turns can get absolutely ridiculous in the best possible way. And if you’re wondering how you could possibly accrue enough mana to afford all of this, Goblin Electromancer and Desperate Ritual are on-call to help answer any questions.


Leading “Might” is another denizen of Dominaria: Lovisa Coldeyes, an imposing warrior who fights with a shield and a massive axe. As chieftain of Balduvia, Lovisa is a natural leader of Barbarians and Warriors from all backgrounds, and her mere presence on a battlefield is enough to inspire a surge of strength and vigor in her allies. In short, Lovisa is an eminent combatant and a fitting symbol of brawn for the face of this deck.

Fittingly, Lovisa’s deck aims to deliver a constantly escalating beatdown. As +2/+2 lord to Barbarians and Warriors (she also helps Berserkers, but they are absent from this brew), Lovisa Coldeyes can be a devastating drop when played as part of a steady curve. And it doesn’t stop there; the deck also packs some mana acceleration with Rampant Growth and Burning-Tree Emissary to make your front lines that much more intimidating early in the game. To exemplify the tribal nature that Lovisa brings to the formula, Coat of Arms can join the party and support your Barbarians and Warriors even further.

The deck rewards players well for a relentless beatdown. You can use Firebolts and Beacon of Destruction to clear a path for your growing army. And with a few bloodthirst abilities and a number of spells sporting flashback (most of which spawn you a cost-efficient creature token), you’ll be swinging in each turn while escalating your board state until your opponent is scrambling to keep up with their defenses.

Once you’ve got the opponent on the ropes, it’ll be time to hit them with your finisher. The one-two punch of Increasing Savagery with Sylvan Might to make any creature into a trampling monstrosity should be enough to finish off anyone who has lived long enough to see you accumulate enough mana to make it happen. Not that you’ll even need trample if all your opponent’s creatures are Cowards.


Of course, these decks don’t get to execute their plans without interruption. These are Duel Decks! They were made to interrupt each other’s plans as much as they were made to carry out their own.

As Mind tries to build up mana, mount a defense, and sneak in with a few fliers, Might is ready to disrupt that as much as possible. Cloudcrown Oak serves as an excellent, cost-efficient blocker for any Drakes or Chimeras that may try sneaking in for early damage, and with 3 power, it is more than capable of attacking when that isn’t necessary. At the same time, Zo-Zu the Punisher helps whittle down the opponent’s life total as they try to reach their mana goals for that wonderful dream turn they keep moving toward. However, Might has one last savage answer even if they do hit that majestic turn: Guttural Response. There’s nothing sweeter than stealing one of blue’s most classic tricks and turning it against it at the game’s most pivotal moment.

On the other side of the table, Mind will be trying to slow down Might long enough to get to that sweet (hopefully uncountered) finale. Between tempo advantage from Snap and more permanent burn removal from Rift Bolt, Mind can often keep the constant threats at bay long enough to gain the upper-hand. Nivix Cyclops offers up a strong, longer-lasting means of defense as well, and can often keep the opponent from swinging in due to the fear of a buffing combat trick (since any instant will do). Finally, Mind has a couple late-game board swingers in the forms of Volcanic Vision and Sage-Eye Avengers. If these hit the stack, Might will need to conjure up a quick answer or the game will be done soon.

After playing several games on both sides of the table with these decks, I can safely say that this is one of the most engaging and balanced Duel Decks releases I’ve played yet. Neither side dominates the other consistently, the matches are frequently tense, and the big tricks of each deck happen often enough to satisfy. Even after a dozen or so games, I’m looking forward to more.


Mar 30, 2017
Comments Off on Save the Vidiot! Last Week goals and the big push!

Save the Vidiot! Last Week goals and the big push!

​Hello all,

First off, we made our emergency goal! We couldn’t have done this without all of you!

I believe however, that i made a mistake when i help the community funded folks set up my campaign.

I said we needed 75k to pay off a sudden note that had come due and some other expenses. These expenses, if paid would result in our debt free continued day to day operation.

The construction was rapidly draining our  reserves and we came up with the quick 10k goal to get us through.

We decided to  start with the quick smaller goal and use the others as “stretch goals”

The Campaign site shows us as just over our goal of 10k. When in reality, we raised 10k towards our 75k goal. Amazing by the way!

It seemed many people had not seen the ultimate goals. Oops, my fault entirely.

I decided to send you, the supporters,this note.

Thanks so much for pledging and sharing! I still can’t believe we have come so far.

So I ask again that you share our campaign, and add any comments as to why you helped us.  I will repost this on Facebook and via email and hope the community sees the correction I am trying to make.

Thanks again,

The Vidiots


Mar 28, 2017
Comments Off on New Releases:3-28-2017

New Releases:3-28-2017

Here you go!










Mar 27, 2017
Comments Off on Save the Vidiot! Monday the 27th 11 days to go!

Save the Vidiot! Monday the 27th 11 days to go!

Hey all,

We cleared the emergency goal over the weekend! We are now focused on the end goal of 75k that will keep the Vidiot going for years to come!

Thanks to all of you our there that shared, donated, or dropped in to rent or just revisit us.

It has been a great ride so far.  We are loving the visits and stories the community has shared with us so far.

Just a quick note. I’m getting so many questions about why I do this, keep a business running through adversity and changes in how we view or consume entertainment.

I do this out of love for movies and what they can do to affect change in the world around us. When I see the state of the world today, I need to retreat sometimes. I do this with movies.

I just watched a new one called “A Monster Calls” It is an amazing, beautiful, powerful story about impending loss and growing up. It was to me, the most touching and heartbreaking film I have seen in a long time.

If we lose our video store, you may lose the chance to see this flm. It may be too non-commercial to be on a streaming service, you may not find it on a Redbox because it’s foreign and small box office. In short, no video store will lead to very limited selection.

This is why I fight to stay open. Supporting art in any form keeps us alive inside.

Thanks for reading, keep working with us and the community to fund our goal, and keep watching movies!


Scott “Vidiot”




Mar 26, 2017
Comments Off on 10k Emergency Goal broken! Let’s get to work on the final goal! 12 days left to pledge.

10k Emergency Goal broken! Let’s get to work on the final goal! 12 days left to pledge.



Amazing work you all! If you can reach your back, give it a huge pat for us.

Just had a walk-in that upped their support to get us over the 10k hump!  This was the emergency construction motivated goal that we set to help carry us  through the road closings. You have rallied around us and as a huge group, we did it!

We must now focus on the 75k final goal.  We have only 12 days left to pledge!

Once reached, we pay off our bank note, make improvements to inventory and focus on running an almost debt free store!

We can do this together. We have done so much in such a short time.

Spread the word, take the next step and we will be successful!

As before, every 2.5k raised is projected to let us run a solid month more with improvements as we go.