Gen Con 2018 is here! We can’t wait to meet and interact with all of you. Come by booth 2741 to claim Merc Destroyer promos as well as complimentary Star Realms Steam codes.

Are you on the fence about traveling to a games convention? Two recent attendees were thrilled to share their  experiences.

Matt Elliot visited with us at the UK Games Expo, and Elizabeth Selman at Origins.

Matthew Elliot
We are Matt and Emma from Guernsey, a small island where the closest we can get to a gaming convention is a get together of a handful of like-minded gamers, and we even had to set up a group to promote that idea. Two years or so later, after mostly weekly board gaming meetups where we play all kinds of titles and genres, we – prompted by previous convention goers – thought it was about time we saw what it was all about, and the UK Games Expo this year was right on my birthday weekend. That was reason enough to go but to top it off, I found out that there would be a Star Realms Legends tournament too. With absolutely no experience of conventions or tournaments and varying levels of Star Realms experience too, we both dove into a lot of firsts with as few expectations as possible.

It was huge. Where do you begin? Emma was like a moth to a flame, where all the booths were bright and shiny flames, each more interesting than the last. I was trying to get my bearings, knowing very roughly where I needed to be, but otherwise just randomly turning around corners to see the next bright and shiny flame that caught our attention. Out of nowhere, I spy a Star Realms logo and Rob Dougherty teaching a guy and his son how to play Sorcerer. I stood back, pointing out to Emma which items on display I’d kickstarted, and at what stage in their production I thought them to be. “That’s Sorcerer, that’s the Star Realms big box, those are the Epic Pantheon things I was on about…” The next day would be the tournament, and spaces for it were filling up. We have, I told myself, very little chance of getting anywhere, but it’ll be a fun experience. It’ll be our first tournament at our first convention, in a game we’re familiar with on a semi-casual level. Anything we get out of it is a bonus, and as it turns out, we got quite a lot out of it.

My first match was a wipeout. My shuttle never left the launch pad and I had to mark up my first loss in what felt like the quickest game of Star Realms I’d ever played. I talked, briefly, about what happened with Michael, my opponent, but then we talked about how we got into Star Realms, and what else we were into, and other games finished around us and we were talking about which cities have great gaming scenes, and how the app plays differently to the physical card game… “Do you play the app?” “To pass the time, yeah. I’ve not gone online with it against other players” “Oh, you should, it’s great, and there’s a big community too” – and I was seeing that, first hand. Twenty or so Star Realms fans, each discovering shared interests and recommending others. While I was talking with my opponents, Emma was chatting with hers, and after an hour or two of gaming, we were to find out where we stood. I handed in my ticket to Rob. “Ah, four wins, that should be good enough for a top 8”. Say what now? I was good enough for a top 8 place? Nah. I did lose one and win the next four, sure, but I was playing against top players who knew their Star Realms. I must have fluked it.

Full of confidence that luck was with me no matter how I played, I went into the top 8 against an opponent I had faced before, Ian, who I think was my closest match in terms of skill level the entire tournament. It seemed like he was the kind of player who you could almost endlessly trade wins with, rather than one player usually always coming out on top. I had won earlier and won the opening bout here too, but it was close and it was soon tied 1-1. Trying to remember what happened in the games now is a complete blur because I can only remember winning that final game to take me into the top 4, and it not quite having sunk in that I was doing this well at a game that I still don’t think I’m good at. It wouldn’t be long until that was proven in a 2-0 thrashing by Vitalij. Towards the end of the game, Rob asked if there were any urgent questions he could answer before going off to grab a bite to eat. “Why did you write so many cards with ‘Draw a card’?” was my reply, because they were seemingly all in Vitalij’s deck, and they were all coming out again and again, and within a few more minutes it was 2-0, and that was my tournament finished.

I had such a good time with these guys that even though most had disappeared to see the rest of the convention, I had to stay and watch the final. Would I be able to say that I lost to the champion? After three long rounds, a handshake and smiles all around would see Tim take the win, a player who I’m almost thankful that I didn’t meet and get to know earlier in the day – I looked at his deck in the final round; “Did you have seven cards in your deck at the end there?” “Yeah, I did scrap quite a bit that game”. I turned to Emma and said, “See, that’s how I should have scrapped today…”

I’ve now got physical promo cards with stories to tell, and those memories won’t fade for a long while yet. We’ve been recommending everyone to go a convention at least once in their lives ever since, and we plan to go to more in the future. As for the tournaments, we might want to hone our skills a little first, if we want to do well, but even to just turn up and chat to like-minded players… that’s exactly the sort of community we wanted to have here a few years ago, and as much as we’re glad we’ve managed to make one back home, we’re excited to join larger communities wherever we find them abroad and online.

Elizabeth Selman
I didn’t know what to expect when Dan Rushe first told me about Origins. I’d heard it mentioned up at Mikes Comics and Games up in New Baltimore, Michigan, but really didn’t pay much attention. His excitement was infectious, and I started asking questions, and got a little excited myself. I’ve never been to a convention before, so I was a little nervous, but after talking it over with my husband made the commitment to go. I signed up for the Legends tournament (Dan Rushe made me) and I was super nervous! I am a very casual person, only really played in one real life tourney before, so wasn’t sure what to expect. I loved it! Everyone was really awesome to me, and patient, which I really appreciated. I got to meet a ton of cool people (Mark Stang, Ean Teague, Sean Gardner, Bryan and Phillip Le, Jimmy Mee, Joshua Newport, Tom Hamilton, and the guy who only played one game before and turned around and destroyed me!!! Man!!! It meant so much to me, that was the best part of Origins for me, the absolute best and favoritest part. I saw actual Star Realms sleeves for the first time at Origins, I’m using generic clear ones right now for mine, definitely plan on picking them up and re-sleeving ASAP! Have plans on attending next years Origins, and maybe (now that I know what I’m doing) dragging the family along and participating a little more. And of course making another run at Legends, and becoming a blue hero of healing and hugs! Much love to all! Elizabeth Selman, aka EMom69


We would love to see you at PAX West, Spiel Essen, and PAX Unplugges this year!