Tracker Pixel for Entry

​Turning the Tables

by Ben Haugmo | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Culture | April 5th, 2017

Photos courtesy of Steve Maul of Little Big Wars

Across Fargo-Moorhead, an invisible conflict plays out. Wars between great armies, both familiar and fantastic, are waged across well-worn battlefields. Noble knights and cunning mages plunder the depths of the world’s hidden places for untold treasures. Strategists and conjurers pit their monstrous servants against one another in a bid for supremacy.

These fearsome clashes between warlords and adventurers take place, not where bystanders are put at risk, but in the vistas of the mind. The battlefield is not strewn with the bones of the fallen, but with dice, and soaked, not with blood, but with maybe a spilled soda or beer.

Tabletop gaming, be it a roleplaying game ala Dungeons and Dragons, or a tile-based board game like Settlers of Catan, allows players to experience the sense of escape that video games provide while allowing for greater chances to interact with other people. Gone are the days when groups would have to congregate in isolated pockets at their respective kitchen tables. The gaming venues in Fargo-Moorhead provide spaces for gamers to gather while nurturing a sense of community.

Growing a community was exactly what Steve Maul had in mind when he took his store, Little Big Wars, off of the web and into a physical storefront in North Fargo. From the beginning, Maul’s mission has been to not only sell games, but also to give players the room they need to participate in the games they enjoy.

“Back when I was a kid, or even a young adult, there really was no place to game. My goal in opening the store was to dedicate half of the space to game tables, and not just be another retail store, but to be more of a community for gamers to come together.”

Little Big Wars’ focus is largely on miniature war games, which involve painted figurine armies controlled by players.

“We primarily have a pretty active group in miniature gaming,” said Maul. “There’s lots of genres to choose from: You can be the general of a fantasy army, a Star Wars army in science fiction -- or a historical army, if you want to run Romans, Civil War, or tanks. We offer all that stuff in miniature.”

It’s not just about the fighting, however. Maul says that some of his patrons like miniatures for the artistic aspect.

“There’s people that don’t really play a lot but they love painting the models and building and collecting the art. I’ve got one guy who comes in all the time, he’s a great painter, and he hardly ever puts his figures on the table.”

Little Big Wars features card games as well, including popular titles like Magic: The Gathering and Yu-Gi-Oh. New games are being demoed and previewed all the time, too. For example, Maul recently got a chance to learn the Lord of the Rings card game.

Little Big Wars also has a Dungeons and Dragons night every Wednesday, which offers a casual, accessible environment for those who want to get a couple hours of adventuring in.

Maul has also begun an initiative called Little Big Wars Gamers Connect, which allows gamers to discuss the tabletop games they’re playing and more easily find groups in the area. The group can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/735331559973173/

Another choice for gamers is Paradox Comics-N-Cards in downtown Fargo. Richard Early began by selling comics at conventions, but leapt at the opportunity to establish a store of his own. The summer that Paradox opened, Magic: The Gathering was released, and it’s been a key feature of the store ever since. Paradox also features demos and events for different games every day of the week.

Anyone new to a game who stops by Paradox will find that the community is willing to help them learn.

“At monthly tabletop night,” said Early, “we demo 3 games as part of the action. For something like Magic or Pokemon, players are usually expected to arrive with a working knowledge of the games. We are always happy to teach and inform and usually a Youtube search will find demos by the games manufacturers.

“Our community here locally is actually quite special. It's filled with leaders and great people.” Paradox’s community also gives back to the wider community by raising money for Sanford Children’s Hospital during their gaming marathon, Extra Life.

“We game for 24 hours,” said Early, “livestream, giveaway games, provide food, and generally make this event the center of the gaming world for one great day. That's the ultimate place for people to experience what tabletop gaming is and give to a great cause.”

Anyone looking for a more casual experience can find it at Front Street Taproom. Not only do they offer thirty locally brewed beers, but they also provide games for patrons to enjoy. Aaron Templin has been gaming for much of his life, and considered it important to incorporate that in the Front Street Taproom.

“We have had a couple of board game tournaments, and they’ve been somewhat successful, some more than others. Those happen kind of sporadically as time goes on. We’ve done a Carcassonne tournament, and Settlers of Catan. We also did a Scrabble tournament. Things like that, games that people are familiar with. Nothing too intense.”

Front Street Taproom also offers a card game meet-up, where players can enjoy traditional playing-card games like hearts, pinochle, spades, whist, and poker.

Whatever your play style, whether you prefer to arm yourself with sword and sorcery, or to have an army at your beck and call, the Fargo-Moorhead area has ample accommodations for tabletop gamers of all types.

Recently in:

FARGO – Water sizzles against scorched stones piled in a shallow pit center of Fargo’s only Indigenous sweat lodge. Faces gleam briefly before the glow fades, and the Native songs begin. Packed side by side, Anishinaabe, Spirit…

One of the most annoying things on the web is advertising that interrupts what you are doing. I’m talking about the pop-up ads, the videos that start playing as soon as your browser opens the page. You get the idea.Well, it seems…

Thursday, February 22, 7pmFront Street Taproom, 614 Main Ave, Fargo The jazz musician and independent songwriter, making music for 20 years and performing for 10. Interesting, arranges in a dynamic and unorthodox fashion. On tour,…

Editorial

Go ask ALICE

by Sabrina Hornung

I was 14 in 1999 when Columbine happened. I remember feeling the shock, horror, and overall sickness that comes with a national tragedy of that caliber.According to a February 15, 2018 article in The Washington Post by John Woodrow…

When will we learn to share wealth?Last week I wrote about how many predictions made by Aldous Huxley in his 1932 book "Brave New World" were beginning to come true in 2018.When I read the toll to travel on Interstate 66 in…

Although the temperatures were sub zero last Sunday, the crowd and competitors were certainly on fire at the Holiday Inn in Fargo for the 5th Annual Bartenders Battle.This event has become a highlight of the year for the service…

By Melissa Martin, Ph.D. Melissamartincounselor@live.com Emotional eating refers to a range of behaviors in which individuals eat for reasons other than physiological hunger; and eating is an attempt to self-soothe emotions.…

Music

​New Direction Fest 7

by Jack Stenerson

The New Direction had no shows booked in January 2012 so one of our co-founders, Charley Wang, decided to put together the First New Direction Fest out of complete necessity. He reached out to 18 local bands to play our little…

Hungarian filmmaker Ildiko Enyedi, whose 1989 debut "My Twentieth Century" won the Camera d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, achieved another career highlight recently with an Oscar nomination for her most recent feature. "On Body…

In my tenure at the High Plains Reader, I have devoted a lot of column inches to promoting the local music scene of the Red River Valley. However, I would be doing an injustice if I didn’t also bring your attention to another…

By Nathan Roybardsdream@gmail.comYou are absolutely right. The title is not “To be or not to be” from the famous Shakespeare soliloquy in "Hamlet." I won’t be talking about Shakespeare particularly. I will expound the…

Fargo has its share of people who are passionate about stand-up comedy, even if the success of clubs devoted to it has been mixed. Despite the fact we have seen places like Courtney’s Comedy Club and Level 2 Comedy Club close…

“What are some of your favorite bottles of whiskey?” is a question I get asked quite frequently and is often harder to answer than one might think. One of the great rewards of my profession is getting to sample some of the…

Essential oils. They are all the buzz lately. It seems everyone has heard of them or is purchasing them. Some people know how to use them; others are just interested in the wonder of their complex scents.Essential oils are as…

Live and Learn

​The other shoe

by HPR Contributor

By Elizabeth Nawrotnawrot@mnstate.eduI look up from my hotel lobby breakfast astonished to see a framed print of Wassily Kandinsky's "Mit und Gegen,” a masterpiece of color and composition that just happens to be my favorite…

By Gary Olsonolsong@moravian.edu Radical: Derived from the Latin radix, which literally means the root or base. In political terms it means penetrating beyond conventional explanations and getting at the root cause of a problem.In…