April 17, 2021

BY CODY STEEVES
Kitchener-Waterloo is a gaming mecca, and the numbers are growing.
“Magic has always been the No. 1 collectible card game,” said Jason Schill, co-owner of Waterloo game shop J&J Superstore. “Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh are solid and have been around for a number of years.”
The latest expansion to Magic: The Gathering is Theros, which is expected to break records according to local shopkeepers. This won’t be the first time it happens either, as the fanbase is expanding dramatically.
Magic: The Gathering distributed by Wizard’s of the Coast, sells for $80 to $100 for a box of playing cards with other trading card games priced similarly. These boxes contain anywhere from 250 to 500 cards.
“Every time a new set comes out people buy new boxes,” Schill said. “Anyone (who) plays regularly in the tournament scene would spend easily $300 or $400 per set.
Just By Chance Games, located in Waterloo, has held trading card game (TCG) tournaments since they first opened their doors nearly two years ago.
Even Conestoga College’s students show support for the collectible card game (CCG) scene. Every weekday night at 4 p.m. there is a games night hosted in The Den, in which players convene to trade, talk and play. University of Waterloo also has a weekly Friday night event held by J&J Superstore.
However, even though Magic is a prominent factor in the local collectible card game community, it is not the only one. Yu-gi-oh tournaments are held at Just By Chance Games, located at 465 Philip St. in Waterloo, every Wednesday night.
“Every tournament we held went from practically non-existent to having 20 to 30 people showing up and participating,” said Justin Loomes, a co-partner of Just By Chance Games. He is a partner along with his wife, sister and brother-in-law. In just two years Just By Chance has gained enough support for their TCG tournaments to host nightly events that draw up to 30 people.
Loomes said the largest percentage of his participants are in their late 20s, which differs from the common age group of other collectible card game communities. The age groups always vary, but studies published on Konami’s official site, Wizards of the Coast, and TCGplayer.com suggest that the most prominent age group to participate in TCGs are in their early 20s. The second largest age group are in their early 30s.
Konami is the distributer of Yu-Gi-Oh cards and owns the rights to both the show and CCG.
Another promising aspect of the local card game community is the lack of negativity found amidst the different card shop customers. Players of TCGs normally show loyalty to a specific shop and it is common for them to talk badly of other outlets or events. In this particular community, that negativity is nowhere to be found.
The community in Kitchener-Waterloo, due to the size of the surrounding cities, is not a large community when compared to others such as the GTA, with Toronto actually holding regional tournaments for certain games. However, every year there are more participants locally and Loomes hopes that he can start drawing players from Toronto, either to play or to trade.
The size of the community isn’t what counts though. There is a genuine love for the games that are played in this area and people support that concept. Willingly accepting new players and teaching them the ropes is commonplace during local events. Even helping new players build their first decks or telling them what packs to buy is seen.
So even though Kitchener-Waterloo does not have the largest TCG and CCG community, it is expanding and also one of the most respected.