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What's He Building in There? spacer Issue 6
What's He Building in There? - Magic mon, North Street, Belfast
by Stephen Hackett
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Nestled between a chip shop and a bargain basement store on North Street are Magic Mon. The shop opened three weeks ago by a collective of role playing game enthusiasts. The organisation grew out of Quazar centre in Dundonald, they tried to network the computers and create a gaming community, When this closed three of group got together. They decided to see if they could make some money out of it to give the players a permanent base. In the past they had organised game sessions in local pubs but this had proved difficult for younger players wishing to come along and the environment was quite distracting. On the walls of the shop are posters from the Magic game franchise, twelve computers are linked along one side of the wall, there are three tables which allow customers to study cards and play in groups.
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The main activities of Magic Mon are computer gaming, card games, board games and war games. They identify the core audience as males 18-30, they recognise they won't have much of a female clientele unless games are made for them or that would interest them, the characters in the games at present consist of 'muscular men, spikes and orcs'. The lack of space in the shop perhaps denies them the opportunity to do figurine war gaming, a speciality of Games workshop in Castlecourt. This type of gaming requires large 3D maps with thousands of figurines. Therefore the concentration is on the card and computer games. The central card game played in the shop is MAGIC. Magic gaming is a sub division of the shop. The game as described as a kind of infinite chess involving millions of pieces to chose from, Roughly 10,000 different cards for the game have been printed over the years.
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The shop is also involved in Sanction tournaments; people basically come in, buy packs of cards for the game, make decks randomly out of the packs, drafting eight guys around the table.
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The idea is that you build the best deck you can and then you send it off to wizards (the designated Judges of the game) and then you get your world ranking, its very competitive, 200 play backed up by 'the wizards of the coast '. The best 100 players from the country come down for the national What's He Building in There?, then progress to international tournaments. The managers believe the shop is about getting people interested in game playing, with an eye to promoting the game for competitive reasons. Up to 30 people have been in for a tournament; people come from all round Ireland to play.
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The computers are charged by the hour, or you can block book, for £15.00 say will get you a whole night to play whatever games you want. Some of these competitive sessions can last all night. The service will shortly expand to online gaming.
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The LAN gaming is perhaps the bread and butter for the shop and will hopefully allow the managers to pay themselves a nominal wage. They also hope to set up a WAN server, this will allow them to play with other shops and organisations throughout the world. The business hopes to expand depending on the success of this shop. All three managers have invested personally in the business. They believe the business to be small scale, with a dedicated clientele, in their eyes the risks involved in starting the venture in Belfast is not so great.
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What's He Building in There? - Magic mon, North Street, Belfast
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