In the cards: Big day for gamers

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LEWISTON – Zimmie’s owner Joe Loubier will turn his comic book store over to fans of “Magic: The Gathering” on Saturday in honor of the dueling card game’s release of its 10th-edition set.

It’s a worldwide event, organized by manufacturers Wizards of the Coast to promote the game.

“They had a similar event a couple of years ago to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Dungeons and Dragons,” Loubier said. “It turned out so well, they wanted to try it with Magic.”

The game is one of the oldest dueling collectible card games around. Players purchase decks of cards – each card depicting a magic spell, a fantastic creature or a powerful artifact – and pit their collections against opponents.

“They know what they have in their deck but not what their next card will be,” Loubier said. “Say your opponent has a dragon. You might draw a card that kills all dragons on the board, or you might not.”

The game draws on the same fantasy elements as role-playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons, but plays more like a traditional card game. With more than 8,000 varieties of cards available, the rules and possible combinations are complex.

The first 32 people to sign up for the event at Zimmie’s will win an exclusive event card and a score pad.

Loubier opens his store at 197 Main St. to Magic players every Friday night, regularly drawing about 100 contestants. He estimated that the Twin Cities’ population of players is much greater.

“I’d say there’s more like 1,000 in L-A,” he said.

He hopes Saturday’s event encourages many of them to come.

The festivities kick off at 10 a.m. with mini-matches for players. A tournament for real prizes begins at noon, with the winner receiving a special backpack.

Loubier also is giving away a backpack to the winner of a sponsored scavenger hunt. Longtime players are encouraged to sift through their collections and look for old boxes, cards, magazines and special cards. He’ll judge the winner at 3 p.m.

“If they’ve played the game for any amount of time, they probably have some of that stuff just sitting around in their room,” Loubier said.

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