You are a powerful wizard. You’re going about your wizardly business – studying giant, dusty books and alphabetizing your crystals – when all of a sudden another wizard attacks!
“Ha ha,” you say to yourself, tugging your long white beard, “I know just how to deal with this guy.” You snap your fingers and summon a pack of wolves to bark at your enemy and bite him. But the other wizard knows one of your wolves’ weaknesses: fire, which he shoots out of his fingertips to roast the poor pack into ashes.
Photo credit: Adam Warner
He shouldn’t have done that. Those were your favorite wolves. Now it’s time to bring out the big guns, so you manifest several squirrels out of the æther and then enchant them until they’ve grown as large as mid-size sedans. Their horrifying, throaty chitters fill the smoldering battlefield as your opponent sends his newly spawned army of goblins to meet your rodents head-on.
Situations like these are commonplace when you play Magic: The Gathering, a collectible card game first introduced in 1993. Over 35 million people currently play Magic worldwide, but it can be daunting getting into a game which has more than 20,000 different cards to choose from. Fortunately Steamship Games in Uptown Minneapolis is here to help.
“Magic is literally the best game,” said Brandon Krussow, manager of Steamship Games. “It’s like chess, but with thousands of pieces to choose from there are infinite, constantly evolving strategies. Magic also shares some elements with military strategy, because the more you know about how your opponent plays and the deck they’re bringing to the game, the more you can adapt your own playing style. That keeps things fresh and hugely competitive, with new cards being introduced by Magic’s publisher every year.
“Our staff and I appreciate that Magic’s learning curve is steep. When you go up against an experienced player for the very first time, you’re pretty much guaranteed to get crushed. But we’re passionate about sharing our favorite game with new people. We’re always available to help a player develop their strategy, build a strong deck, and keep progressing in skill. You get insight from semi-pro level players in a friendly and inclusive space here at Steamship. That’s what the gaming community should be all about!
“The mail order business is Steamship’s lifeblood. Especially during the pandemic when people couldn’t come in to play, our online sales on TCGplayer, which is like Amazon for trading cards, have kept Steamship afloat. That’s why we get to offer this nice place for people in the Twin Cities to come and spend time in. That’s also why we have over 200 thousand cards in stock – all carefully inventoried, so building whatever kind of deck you have in mind is easy.
“We’ve also joined the Pokémon craze. Pokémon cards have been around since 1999, but demand for them has exploded recently thanks in large part to streamers doing pack opening videos on YouTube. A lot of people had Pokémon cards when they were kids, and they were shocked to learn the value of some of their old cards.
“We’re not just a place to play insanely complicated card games! We have shelves full of more accessible games that you can open up and play for free such as chess, Catan and Ticket to Ride, as well as good old regular cards. Steamship is like a community living room, where folks can share games, laughter, and the everyday moments that add up to something really special.”
Steamship Games is also a coffee shop in full. They cold brew their coffee Kyoto-style, which takes overnight and yields a cup of jamoke with all the sophistication of a glass of fine wine. They also have ice cream by Sebastian Joe’s, teas, and espresso drinks for wizards who are groggy after having spent all night summoning squirrels and other mythological creatures.
Steamship Games is located at 711 W Lake St, Ste 103 in Minneapolis. You can learn more about them and check out their upcoming events at steamshipgames.com.
By David Scheller