Undercity Games Offers a New, Friendly Environment for Gaming
oh, and they have a card-sorting robot
James Johonnott, photos by Andrea Paulseth |
For gamers, and the gaming-curious, having a great place to learn new games, teach them, and gather to enjoy them is an essential part of the hobby. John Koenig of Undercity Games is looking to add a new gaming destination to the area.
Nestled on the second floor of Building 13 in Banbury Place, Undercity Games is a refreshing, friendly little game store. The space is decked out in original artwork from local fantasy artists like Mark Lone, pinball machines, and the latest in gaming product. Koenig, the owner and operator, showed me around the modern, well-lit gaming hideaway and gave me the lowdown on its offerings.
Before opening its doors as a gaming space, Undercity got its start selling trading card game (Magic: The Gathering, Pokemon, etc.) card singles online. That’s still a tentpole of Undercity’s business, but now they’ve opened their space as a family friendly, event-focused gaming space. “We’re looking to offer a destination gaming space,” said Koenig. “Our focus is going to be on events: organized play tournaments, birthday parties, tabletop nights, youth RPG leagues, and more.” Undercity is open limited hours to host these events, but is otherwise open by appointment.
We really want to provide a supportive, friendly environment for gamers of all ages
UNDERCITY GAMES, EAU CLAIRE
The shelves are stacked high with the latest card game products, but also some boxes that are bit rarer and more elusive. But on top of its classic offerings like Magic: The Gathering and Pokemon, Koenig pointed out a newer card game they keep stocked: Flesh and Blood.
Undercity Games prides itself as as the only local game store holding sanctioned, organized play tournaments for Flesh and Blood. “The game is quick to learn and moves fast,” Koenig said. The game was developed with organized play in mind and tournaments have become more popular following the ending of Magic: The Gathering’s pro tour leagues. Before I left, he taught me the basics and we went a few rounds. It lives up to the sales pitch, but more importantly Koenig makes learning it an easy experience. I was sorely tempted to finish our match, although I suspect John was throwing it so I could learn the ropes.
Catching my attention behind the counter was a glass case with robotic components, hydraulic pistons, and cards inside. John explained that the this card sorting robot can collate and identify massive collections of cards, useful for anyone looking to fully catalog their collections or sell them. If you (like me) just found a binder of old cards in your basement, their sorter will make short work of them, whether you’re looking to get back into the hobby or start selling.
“We really want to provide a supportive, friendly environment for gamers of all ages,” John said. I know I’ll be back; we need to finish our match of Flesh and Blood.
Undercity Games is on the second floor of Building 13 of Banbury Place (930 Galloway St., Eau Claire), Building 13, on the second floor. They're open on Fridays (9:30am-4:30pm) for retails hours, or during events, which can be found on their Facebook page or their website.