AMSTERDAM-Joe Bauer reviews his cards silently, looking as Eric Andrzejewski plays his hand, while Cole Mead plans his next move.
Before them sit their card armies, waiting to beat their opponents. The game eventually ends with Mead winning, beating out his two friends in the collectible card game Magic: The Gathering.
The three are part of a community of people ranging from 10 to 50 years old who play table-top games, card games, and more at local gaming shops.
From left to right, Joe Bauer, Cole Mead and Eric Andrzejewski sit in Professor Bond’s Emporium in Amsterdam playing the card game Magic: The Gathering. (The Leader-Herald/ Arthur Cleveland)
Sitting in Professor Bond's Emporium, located in the Clock Tower building on Prospect Street in Amsterdam, the three say they come often to the store.
"I've been coming here for a couple months," Andrzejewski said.
Andrzejewski had nothing but good things to say about the local gaming community.
"There's always stuff going on. There's always someone there to play a game," Andrzejewski said.
Many games are played in the local community, said Alexander Barker, owner of Professor Bond's Emporium. Games range from table-top strategy games like Warhammer, and Warhammer 40,000, to board games like Chess, and trading card games like Magic. Barker explained the game of Magic as a resource management game where players collect cards and build decks to pit against each other.
It's a game that is incredibly random, Andrezejewski said
"You never know who is going to win," he said.
Professor Bond's Emporium opened last year on the second floor of the Clock Tower building.
"We make money mostly on the sales of the games." Barker said. He went on to say that any money that was made from fees to enter tournaments went to paying off the prizes they would sell.
Barker went on to say that these businesses were dependent on keeping customers happy.
"You gotta be respectful, take what they say with a grain of salt and be nice to them," Barker said.
Jim Vanvalkenburg, 39, sat in RK Sports and Crafts, using a sculpting tool on a model to his Warhammer 40,000 army.
Both RK and Professor Bond's offer tables to play strategy games in the store.
"Its like chess with explosions," Vanvalkenburg joked.
The tables are used for many different games, such as the dark fantasy war game Warhammer, which pits different races and kingdoms against each other, and Malifaux, a fantasy game with heavy elements of sorcery and steampunk.
Steampunk is influenced by the works of authors Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, and Mary Shelley.
The standard setting is a world where steam power is widely used and technology is far advanced for the time period. An example would be the American Civil War with steam-driven tanks or steam-driven carriages in Victorian England.
"Steampunk is essentially modern technology in the Victorian times," Barker said.
Another game popular with the community is Dungeons and Dragons. Debuting in the 1970's, D&D is one of the most popular role-playing-games on the market.
What these stores offer is more than supplies and products. Barker explained these stores offer people a place to play.
"Sometimes games like Dungeons and Dragons and Magic are played at libraries or things like that, sometimes they can put stuff together to do," Barker said. "But, mostly the only place [to play] is either, as terrible as this sounds, their mom's basement, or a kitchen table."
"It's a place for people to get together and hang out," Vanvalkenburg said. "It's a place to get together with friends and share a common interest."
Barker's plan was to establish a place for people to play. Already he is hoping to expand his business to have a tournament area to fit upwards of 300 players.