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Jeremy Black
Attended Santa Clara University
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Jeremy Black

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Another example of a non-transitive game is Rock, Paper, Scissors. Which is equivalent to the Red, Yellow, Green dice game (without any way to flip the order, unlike your cleaver one dice two dice trick). And Monkey, Pirate, Robot, Ninja, Zombie: a souped up version of Rock, Paper, Scissors. Which is equivalent to the Red, Yellow, Green, Blue, White dice game (again with out any way to flip the order). 

Jeremy Black

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My first game store reviewed, and the one closest to me, Black Diamond Games. When originally opened it was literally a block away. I could walk over to it on a whim. sigh I liked it better that way. It now resides next door to Concord’s (go Concord Blue Devils!) Fry’s. As long as you don't think “The Tattered Cover” or “Moe’s Books” when you think “major store”, Black Diamond Games is a major game store. Dice, tokens, dice bags, etc are all available in a good variety. It has reasonable selection of games, with all the obvious games available: D&D, Pathfinder, Rifts, GURPS, Hero System, etc. And a good selection of the more focused games like Paranoia and Traveler. They also have a reasonable selection of indie games. All in all a good gaming store for your most every day role playing needs. As a bonus they have a bookshelf of used games, so if your looking to get rid of some old books, or want a good deal on a grab bag selection of used games (I got Noblis, the big white coffee table edition, for five bucks there), this is a good place to go.

Of course the store also has a good selection for Miniature players, and a nice variety of board and card games if that's your bailiwick.

In the back is about six tables for playing Miniatures or what have you. Pathfinder society, or one of its cousins meets their once a week.

Annoyingly, it is now to far away from BART. At its old location it was a small but not unreasonable walk form the BART station. Now you would have to be quite desperate to walk to it. Busing is possible, annoying but possible.

So, as I said, a good solid all around game store.
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Gamer Group Type "Home"
There are three main "Types" of gaming groups. The first is the "home" gaming group. This is the most common, the group that meets once a week at someones home. By far the most common type of gaming group, its advantages include having an (almost) guaranteed place to play, some flexibly in its movement (if you have to move the game for an evening, as long as there some advanced warning, usually some ones else house will be available), a host (which can make life all that much easier), and people are usually a bit better about bringing food and snacks over to share (the host often being nearly compiled to do so for his or her guests). Also the rule of "One Game, One Room" is compulsory: if the host can't guaranty this, that house isn't suitable for gaming.

Disadvantages include being quite vulnerable to "DM No Show". When the DM doesn't show it can be quite difficult to substitute another game. The players are all there for that one game and one DM. Consensuses on a new or different game can be hard to reach, as there is usually not enough people to split into multiple groups to cater to the various tastes. Also, this is the type most like to suffer from player overload with the DM allowing a ninth player into the group instead of the group splitting up into a more workable four five setup. While homes can guaranty "One game, One room" they usually only have one room and one host to throw at the problem, making splitting the group, or hosting fully separate second or third groups, all the more difficult.

The fact that some people just don't like hanging out in other peoples houses is another potental problem. There could be reasons: if you are allergic to perfumes you won't be able to tell if your host's perfumed laundry detergent is going to be a problem or not untell you get there. Or if you are one of those poor unfortunates hyper sensitive or allergic to tobacco smoke, life can be difficult if the host has a smoking relative or just dose not mind people smoking outside by the front door. Getting all the parameters right can be quite tasking on a person and on a group. And gamers are not usually the most forwardly aggressive people when it comes to fixing problems in a social setting. There could be no obvious reason: some people just find going into another persons home uncomfortable. The host’s awareness, and ability to overcome, these problems tells you a lot about there hosting skills.

And finally, since many homes are not conveniently located near a store or a strip of restaurants, players are more like to be supplied with a few extras form the host, and/or everyone is likely to be asked to chip in for pizza delivery, which can be annoying if you can't eat or don't like delivery pizza. In either case, the host usually ends up with and extra strain on there food and kitchen. For some this can get annoying. For others, especially those that realty like to cook and host for people, it can be a blessing. Always try and show a little appreciation to your host for the courtesy of letting you use there place. (Don't go overboard. Some hosts feel it’s a minor thing allowing the group to game there and feel uncomfortable if the appreciation shown is out of proportion (in there estimation). But even for such as them a little bit of appreciation goes a long way. And if your host is the kind of person that really enjoys hosting a group, show lots of appreciation. These are the kind of people who put in lots of work when hosting a group, and much of that work is invisible. So throwing on that extra dollop of appreciation is quite appropriate, and the rewards are well worth it.

Now despite all the disadvantages, which are usually not so onerous as my above writings might imply, this is by far the easiest type of group to make, and by far the most common. In fact it is so common that all other group types can be considered unusual. If you are in a gaming group you are most likely in one of these. These groups can be stable for months or even years. They can fall apart overnight, or though slow bleed off, and they can be eternally resurrected as long as someone has a place they are willing to share and friends willing to play.
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Jeremy Black

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OK, I have returned from DunDraCon and returned with a roughly complete map of gaming in northern California. First off, I found the local gaming mecca. It is... Sacramento. If you don't live in Sacramento grab a friend and find a way to get up there because thats were the gaming is. Grab a friend take a train, take a car, or take the bus, because if you are not in Sacramento, as far as gaming is concerned, your are in hell and gone.

The next best choice, and this is not a good choice, is San Jose. Like with every thing else about San Jose there should be more going on down there then there is. The slight echo of a gaming pulse can be herd in the deep wilds of San Jose, but don't hold your breath, and don't stress your self out trying to find it. If you fall into gaming while your down there count your self lucky, and if you haven't do not worry its not worth the effort it would take to find it there.

As for San Francisco, Oakland, Berkley, and the rest of the East Bay, the whole place is a dead zone. There are gamers here, lots of them, but they just cant seam to fall together. Its like the air is premeditated with some anti-gaming force. In Berkley this force particularly strong: I have a line of between five and seven game groups depending on how you want to count them and non of them mix. They are all unrelated to each other, and hell or high water there is no force on earth that can get them to come together. Seven groups and its fifty fifty if I can get a enough people to play on any given weekend. Berkley is a hell hole. If your in there, take my hand and join me on my exodus to Sacramento because the trip is long and made easer by a friend.
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Have him in circles
13 people
Ted Rich's profile photo
Clifford Schwartz's profile photo
Alex Lerman's profile photo
Ryan Walton's profile photo
Steven Pine's profile photo
Keith Phemister's profile photo
Josiah Knight's profile photo
George Black's profile photo
Luke Gottlieb's profile photo
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  • Santa Clara University
    Mathematics & Computer Science, 2000 - 2005
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