As a young Magic the Gathering player, coming into the game around Fifth Edition and the Tempest Block, I spent a lot of my time hanging out at the local game store, White Cap Comics, the place where I first found and lost myself to gaming. There were a lot of us younger folk there, most of us, like me at the time, in middle school. Then there were the older gamers, men I consider great gaming influences on my life, the "Titans of Gaming." Ben Hyde and Daniel Rowland were two that stand out in my mind, along with Larry the DM (which is another great story). These guys, Ben and Dan, set up tournaments, were willing to teach and chat, and were always willing to build up the local gaming community (I even still have copies of a newsletter they put out). One thing they did for me was help start my crazy obsession with the X-Files CCG.
They had returned from some gaming event (Gen Con?) and brought with them, like vikings returning from o'er the grayed seas, treasure in the form of a little CCG inspired by an amazing television show, whose creators sadly went under. This game, X-Files of course, was to be a staple in the store for many months after. Tournaments and introduction sessions were scheduled. Starter decks and booster packs were made available at very, very reasonable costs (especially for a kid with pocket change). We had an X-Files gaming community that seemed to spawn overnight. I was soaking it up, enjoying not only the fact that my favorite show had been brought into my favorite hobby, but that the game was fun, simple, and probably the most fun I've ever had collecting a card game. It gave kids like us another reason to enjoy those beautiful Saturdays of our youth.
I was in deep. I picked up as many decks and packs as I could, considering the little money I had, and I fought to make sure I could attend every scheduled event. A local grocer/department store had been carrying, in their collectibles and games section, old, shrink-wrapped boxes of sports cards and obscure games. It was to that store that I, a newb to this awesome game, was directed to pick up a booster pack box of the X-Files game for a mere $20.00!! For anyone who doesn't know, these boxes come with thirty-six packs of fifteen cards per pack, and generally CCG booster boxes tend to hold price tags of somewhere around a hundred dollars plus. It was the jackpot in every sense. I can remember the shock of having that many cards from a game I loved so much and the awe of opening every pack, especially when I stumbled upon Ultra-Rares representing the characters I knew and adored. Wowsers, I was over the moon!
Unfortunately, as fast as the game rose in popularity, the folks playing, being gamers who naturally break down their hobby into strategy and killer combos, played the game out and interest waned to nothing. Suddenly the store was back to its old games and no one cared to play a pick up game. That was the beginning of the end for that benchmark point in my gaming youth. From there the guys, the Titans, broke apart, moving and letting life relocate their interests and time. The kids were left with fond memories and our own gaming interests to pursue. Many a night I'd sit on my bed and sort through the cards, begging my sister to play a game with me, which she did now and then.
Then we come to the present, this weekend actually. While visiting another local shop, a comics and collectibles store, I discovered a large quantity of this rare, out of print game that I loved so and that meant so much to my youth. I grabbed a few packs and a starter deck for old times sake, worse case scenario I'd have more for my collection. When the time came to check out, one of the clerks at the store asked if I was really going to buy those and I answered with a resounding, heck yeah! He then proceeded to ask if I'd like to buy one of their remaining, sealed booster boxes. I, of course, accepted. Walking out of that store, box tucked under arm, I couldn't help but grin like an idiot. It was a reunion with childhood that I think everyone could use in their lives every now and then.
Now I'm spending my free time sorting out the set, placing single cards in protective sheets, and assessing the gaps I still need to fill. Oh, if you're reading this and have some free time, let me know. I've got this great game to show you.