The Bulwark

News and Events from Blythe's Bulwark, Chico, CA

The Tournament of the Hand!

July 09, 2010 By: Blythe Category: CCGs, Leagues and Tourneys

Tomorrow morning history shall be made! The local knights and scions the powerful lords of Westeros will gather on the field of honor. Alliances will be made and broken, young warriors will clash with the old while power and intrigue takes place in the shadows of our great stadium. This is the Tournament of the Hand, and this day will decide the fate of the great Battle for the North.

For the last 5 weeks our players have been vying for position as leader of our Monday Night A Game of Thrones League. As the League closes a winner will be decided. Tomorrow will culminate in the day’s champions vying for total power at the final table. The schedule is below.

We will be seeding first round tables in a group format based on league performance.

10:00 Open
11:00 First Round
1:00 Lunch Break
2:00 Second Round
4:00 Third Round
6:00 Final Table

Also the current standings of the league are below as well.

1st Sir John Deatrick the Bountiful
2nd Sir Andrew Flicker, Scion of the Exiled
3rd Sir Ben Blythe Scion of Lannister
4th Sir James Stremel, Scion of Winterfell
5th Dame Margo Franks the Hound Mistress
6th Sir Andy Able the Furious
7th Sir Ian Allen the Fruity
8th Sir Don Boucher, Scion of the Rock
9th Sir Ryan Huber, Scion of King Robert the Drunk
10th Dame Jess Thomas the Fierce
11th Sir Phillip Sexton the Victorious
12th Sir Dirk Walls, the Upstart
13th Sir Joel Snow, of the Wall
14th Sir Chris Patzner, Keeper of the Tolls
15th Dame Malinda Miller the Mild

The Young Wolf – New Players Let Westeros Burn

May 18, 2010 By: Blythe Category: CCGs, Leagues and Tourneys

Last night The Bulwark hosted a newbie night for A Game of Thrones the Living Card Game. This fantastic game pits players against the other great houses of Westeros in a dangerous game of politics, power, and displays of military might. Each house has their own unique feel, and the game thrives on group mechanics and chains of victories instead of hoary combos that win the game in a few turns.

The local community is happy to welcome several new players into the hobby, who each assumed one of the core houses of Westeros. Margo Franks as house Stark emerged victorious after house Lannister over extended themselves and allowed Stark to press the advantage.  In the adjacent room, on the Jared Gilmore Memorial Table the Bulwark Vets had a dragout two and a half hour game end in a Targaryen victory (lead by Drew Flicker) with Martell one challenge from victory (played by Karen Hechel). “If Drew would have made me loose that stupid challenge I would have won,” Karen lamented. Oh well Martell, maybe next time.

We are happy to welcome all the new players to Chico’s premier A Game of Thrones Living Card Game league as we start up our second season.

Casual Magic – 15-Card Highlander

March 22, 2010 By: Blythe Category: CCGs, Leagues and Tourneys

Sunday, March 28th, Andrew Flicker is hosting a night of casual Magic at your favorite FLGS, the Bulwark.  He will be running a “15-Card Highlander” tournament. This is a popular format at Kublacon, as games are fast, dirty, and full of powerful combos.  Last year Team Chico swept several M:TG events at Kublacon, lets get ready to do it again!

Decks are composed of 15 cards only, including land. You may have 3 additional cards as your sideboard. Like other highlander games, a deck may have only one (1) of any given card in the deck, except basic land (which may exist in any number). Gameplay proceeds normally, but you do not lose the game from failing to draw when required. (Instead, nothing happens and the library remains empty)

Deck Construction will use Standard (Type 2) rules for Magic: The Gathering. Games are usually quite fast, and decks include popular archetypes like land destruction, mana-dorks, board-sweepers, graveyard manipulation, and milling.

Players are encouraged to come and hang out, play casual games (including traditional Magic and other variants) during the event, but a small double-elimination tournament will also be ran. As with all casual nights, there is no entry fee just bring a rare to throw into the rare pot instead for prize support. If you have any questions email Drew at

Kublacon – The Khan of Cons

March 22, 2010 By: Blythe Category: Leagues and Tourneys

Every Memorial Day weekend for the last three years, I and a small sortie of friends have sallied into the heart of Burlingame beyond the Bay Area for what I feel is the perfect con. I like to think of it as a “Goldilocks” con, it’s not too small and it’s not too filled with people, it is just right.  Kublacon has enough people to keep you busy with diverse events, and a small enough crowd that you can actually get into these events.

My first year I went for the OWbN LARP event, and traveled with someone who was excited for the Harry Potter Card Game tournament that was going on, I didn’t even know there was a Harry Potter Card Game at the time.  The next year I met some great guys at a keep-and-kill for the Wiz Kids Battletech game and wound up winning a whole lance of mechs; I didn’t own any so the organizer lent me some minis.  Last year I was introduced to the RPGA, and played in a Fallout LARP of all things. The whole convention is a mixed bag, and you often run into games you have never heard of that are a lot of fun. Everything is represented here, from the hard-line commercial games like Dungeons and Dragons and Warhammer, qualifying games for international Diplomacy and Catan tournaments, and a smattering of the independent publishers who worked hard for little pay on something they love.

Each year Kublacon is held the Friday before Memorial Day, up to the holiday on Monday. This year it takes place at the same time, opening registration begins on the 28th and the convention closes on the 31st.  It is held at the Hyatt Regency in Burligame, right next to the airport.  The Bulwark will be offering members a reduced price in registration as we qualify as a gaming club.  For only $30 you get an entire weekend of gaming, a full schedule of events can be seen here.  Please be sure to register before April 15th.

Over the next few months, we will be announcing events leading up to the Bay Area gaming convention. Feel free to jump into the excitement as we go to a con with a little bit of everything.  Our community has more to offer than you may think and now is the time to come together and get ready for the tournaments, events and excitement of one of the largest cons on the West Coast.

Casual Magic – Elder Dragon Highlander

March 16, 2010 By: Blythe Category: CCGs

Ian Allen will be hosting an afternoon of casual magic as he assembles a gathering of immortals for a Magic: The Gathering variant called “Elder Dragon Highlander”. In this Magic format large creatures are the driving force of your deck which can only have one of each card. Meet up at 1:00 at the Bulwark on Sunday the 21st, game time will begin at 2:00, the game will take place on the Jared Gilmore Memorial table. Full rules are posted in the link below the link below, if you have any questions you can email Ian at

Welcome To Westeros – A Game of Thrones Living Card Game

March 15, 2010 By: Blythe Category: CCGs

Ever get tired of getting your butt whooped by someone who has spent way too much on a hobby?  Ever want to throw your cards out the window because some guy with more discretionary income than the GDP of an island nation had four legendary rares in his deck?  Situations like this are prevalent in most hobbies, someone will always have more time to devote to a hobby, or throw more money at the game than you. Finding a game, especially a commercial one, that rewards frequent buyers but doesn’t punish the casual player can be hard. These situations often rear their head when it comes to CCGs.

Thankfully in A Game of Thrones Living Card Game, Fantasy Flight Games has solved this problem in a very clever way. Instead of producing sets of 300 cards that are used for a few months, Fantasy Flight produces Chapter Packs which contain 20 new and unique cards which are released once a month. These packs cost about $10 – $30 and contain every card in the miniature set.  This means you don’t have to buy two boxes and hope you get that Jace Beleren, but instead open up one pack to get a good mix of cards for well rounded decks.

The game itself is very balanced.  There is no mana flood and you can’t get “mana screwed”; the game’s resource, gold, is produced by your plot cards as well as location. Each turn these plot cards make broad sweeping changes to the table by manipulating rules or affecting cards in play, as well as changing your turn order and the damage you do with a successful attack. Meanwhile changing titles confer bonuses to the player while forming a relationship between the Houses your opponents have taken control of.  The game goes on until a player achieves 15 victory points, but getting there takes an understanding of not just your deck but a political savvy and understanding of the climate of the table.

Each Tuesday the great houses of Westeros gather at the Bulwark at six o’clock to play A Game of Thrones.  We will be happy to lend decks to new players, and the starter pack is readily available for $40.  When you purchase a starter pack you get four decks, and the play set which includes “gold” tokens, “power” tokens, a board and plastic title icons.

In the infamous words of Cersei Lannister “When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground.”

Unboxing a Game of Thrones LCG Core Set

February 27, 2010 By: Blythe Category: CCGs

The shop has acquired a copy of the core set for A Game of Thrones the Living Card Game. Now all we need is people to start playing! I am looking forward to getting into this game, and I know some folks are looking for alternatives to Magic. The Living Card Game format offers a good break from a CCG. LCGs do not have booster packs, rather sets are released once a month through a “Chapter Pack” which contain all the cards in the sets. This means, no more rare chasing! Instead the players can focus on deck construction and core strategy rather than buying booster boxes to get that Planeswalker card.

After the unboxing, the decks will be on sale for $10 a piece. The accessories will stay at the shop for open play.

Casual M:TG – Worldwake Draft

February 01, 2010 By: Blythe Category: CCGs

Don Boucher will be hosting a casual night of Magic the Gathering at the Bulwark. Don has been regularly hosting launch parties at his house, and we are glad to host his next gala. If you are new to magic, or an old hat this new set has it all. As someone who personally wanted to see a return to the core principles which made Magic a fun game to play, this set gets a thumbs up.

Don has listed the price for your packs as below, and has offered a discount to Bulwark members. He has slots for 18 players, but people are welcome to bring their own 4 packs (BYOP).

Member: $12
Non Member: $15
BYOP: $3

Again this is a casual night of gaming with good people, the tournament is not DCI rated, and folks are encouraged to come, relax and meet some new faces. This tournament will take place February 21st at 1:00 PM.  Don has promised prize support, and a big thanks goes out to Chico Magic for the product.

Vampire: The Eternal Struggle Demo

January 07, 2010 By: Blythe Category: CCGs

James Proffer will be hosting a Vampire: The Eternal Struggle demo this Sunday at 3:00.  If you are interested in picking up a new TCG that has some great party play mechanics and several play styles this is great game to try. James has volunteered to bring his stack of cards and teach people how to play, so if you are interested all you have to do is bring yourself, and a smile!  If you want some more information about V:TES check out the wikipedia entry which has a fantastic breakdown of the game.