Magic: The Gathering, tabletop games, and trading card games are experiencing a crossroads these past few months. There have been gigantic Magic: The Gathering MagicFests cancelled, huge Yu-Gi-Oh! tournaments put on hold alongside other conventions, sporting events, and political rallies also being cancelled. With all of that happening, our local game stores have been either closed, or operating with skeleton crews, with in store pickup only.
The next few weeks, many states will be entering phase one and two of reopening, and that means game stores will soon be opening, and potentially running tournaments in the following months. While we advise you to always follow the recommendations of your local and state officials, if you do head down to your local game store, we wanted you to be equipped with as much info as possible to help your community continue to succeed at social distancing and keeping the curve flat. Remember: Science Rules! (Thanks, Bill)
This is new and uncharted territory for many of us, and while it can be scary, we can all take steps to make things better for everyone in these coming months and years. It is estimated that the Covid-19 virus will be moving through our populations the next year or so, and when a vaccine is made for it, who knows if it will mutate into a different kind of Coronavirus strain.
Many of our local businesses will be suffering in times like this – the friendly local game store being one of them. If you can, make sure that you are still supporting your local stores so that they are able to keep their workers employed and keep product coming in for you to enjoy.
So! Eventually things will move back to normalcy and we’ll be heading back to our local game stores for some card game/tabletop action. Here are some tips, tricks, and steps you can take to make your local game store a great place for everyone and to prevent it from becoming a breeding ground for viruses and bacterial infections.
20 Tips and Tricks to Keep Everyone Healthy
1. Bring hand sanitizer and sanitize after every match. Masks and social distancing, even at events, will be key in the next year to prevent spread.
2. Don’t shuffle or cut your opponent’s deck.
3. If you need to read one of your opponent’s cards, ask them to spin it around facing you, so you don’t have to touch the card.
4. Make sure you’re using your own playmat to protect your hands and arms from the game store’s table surface.
5. When you’re done with your match, make sure you carefully roll your mat up and place it in a playmat bag – wash your hands afterwards.
6. Once home, pull your playmat out of the bag and remove the carabiner from the playmat bag. Throw both the bag and the playmat into the washing machine. You can wash them both on low and hang to dry.
7. Don’t bring food into your local game store and if you are someone that needs to eat, eat outside of the store and wash your hands when you are finished.
8. Don’t eat food at tables where players will be playing.
9. If there are dirty tables, ask one of your local game store’s employees to clean it. If they don’t keep a healthy, clean environment be sure to talk to management. If things still don’t get done, I would recommend not playing there anymore.
10. Do not shake your opponent’s hands before, during, or after the match. You can let your opponent know that it was a good game by a smile, head nod, and a, “good game!” after your match ends.
11. If you notice someone else is not practicing good hygiene, tell management to privately speak to this individual. We must hold each other accountable.
12. Make sure you bring your own dice, life pad, pen, and anything else that you might normally borrow from someone else.
13. Make sure you are bringing your own measuring device and other wargaming accessories so that you don’t have to borrow.
14. Do not touch other player’s wargaming models. Remind others to do the same.
15. Make sure you are bringing a wargaming mat from home to use on your local game store’s surface. Once finished with your matches for the day, be sure to roll it up carefully and place it in a wargaming mat bag. Once you get home, wash both the bag and the mat on low in the washing machine and hang to dry.
16. If you are playing multiple wargaming matches over the course of the day, bring sanitizing spray to spray down the wargaming mat between rounds – especially if a new player is joining the next battle.
17. It is not recommended to bring your trade binder. Trading cards is some of the most fun you’ll have while playing Magic, but trade binders are dirty, many people will touch them throughout the evening, and it is something that we shouldn’t do at this time.
18. During a match, if you must cough or sneeze, make sure you are using the proper technique of coughing/sneezing into your elbow. Be courteous of others around you. Be sure to wash your hands and dry them before resuming play.
19. During a match, be courteous that you are only a few feet away from the other person’s face. Breathing deeply, letting out a deep sigh, or blowing air inadvertently across the table happens from time to time in tabletop gaming. If you are someone that has a habit of this, break this habit. It’s never a good thing to do, especially now.
20. If you are sick, stay home.
If you have any tips and tricks that you have found to be successful, be sure to tell us in the comments! Until then, make sure you are practicing good hygiene, being mindful of others, and respecting all warnings from your government officials. We’re all in this together. Let’s make the best of this.
Mitch Gross, an employee of Inked Gaming, has a 4-year Public Health degree from Oregon State University and has a passion for epidemiology and mental health in addition to his love for everything gaming related.