Bringing fantasy games to life

Students compete in a variety of games


Karla Solorzano

Ryan Ellinwood is maneuvering ships.

Karla Solorzano, Photographer

Clarkies participate in a broad spectrum of games such as deck building, board games and role playing games.

Deck building is a type of card game that uses building a deck as the main focus of the gameplay. It resembles collectible cards but players build their deck during the game rather than buying them in a randomized set. One example of deck building is Magic: The Gathering, where each player takes the role of a planeswalker, a fearsome, magic-wielding being. The game is played with two players or more, and each player may use their own deck.

Sophomore Zeke Stratton believes that the best way to ensure a victory is to outthink your opponent(s). “With thousands of cards to choose from, finding the perfect 60 to make a deck can be harder than playing the game itself,” he said.

Some classic card games that many are familiar with are Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game.

Pokémon Trading Card Game (two players) is based on the mythical creatures that can be caught by Pokémon Trainers (the players) and trained for battle. Junior Aren Shaginian is an avid player who regularly spends $50 on the game. “My favorite Pokémon is Charizard because his flamethrower is the,” he said. “I have been collecting the cards for a long time now but I’m running out of money.” The Pokémon Trading Card Game has sold over 21.5 billion cards as of 2014.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game is played by drawing cards from their decks and using them in the field. Each player may use a deck containing 40 to 60 cards and an “Extra Deck” (optional) that holds 15 cards.

65% of gamers play their gameswith a friend presentJunior Arka Khechoomian is a competitive Yu-Gi-Oh! player who owns two out of three of the God cards. “My favorite card would have to be Obelisk the Tormentor because it has 4000 attack and 4000 defense,” Khechoomian said.

Aside from card gaming is also miniature wargaming, which is a simulation game that generally deals with tactical combat.

In X-Wing Miniatures Game (which consists of two players), a person plays as a squad leader in space and may command a group of Imperial, Scum and Villainy, or Rebel pilots to battle his opponent’s ships.

“Playing X Wing is like immersing yourself into the movies,” said junior Ryan Ellinwood.

Warhammer 40,000 has on average 300,000 players. This game lets players assemble 1.1 inch scale figures that represent soldiers, creatures, and war mobiles. The figurines are collected to build army squads that can be used against the opponent which are moved around the table; the distance between the models affects the outcome. Junior Michael Kallas spends on average $1,600 every couple of months on his warhammer collection. “What’s most important is the time and dedication someone puts into wargaming,” he said. “Along with it, you get to meet new friends who have a lot in common with you which is how I met my best friend Ryan.”

Approximately 5.5 million people play role playing board games (RPG). Dungeons and Dragons is a fantasy RPG where each player is assigned a specific character to play.  These characters venture out into imaginary adventures within a fantasy setting. A Dungeon Master is the game’s referee and storyteller, who also maintains the setting in which the adventures occur and playing the role of the inhabitants. The characters form a party that interacts with the setting’s inhabitants (and each other). Together they solve problems, engage in battles and gather treasure and knowledge. In the process the characters earn experience points to become increasingly powerful over several play sessions.

Students can often be seen playing these games during snack and lunch near the science labs, in the 4200 wing, and at Game Empire throughout the week. This game room is located in Pasadena and allows serious gaming hobbyists to participate in a series of tournaments or casual games.