I am glad to tell the expats and locals alike in Split that gaming is growing and it is thanks to to Carta Magica Split and Info Zona. The shops ownership decided to take their efforts a step further by aligning themselves with Info Zona to give the people of Split a place to game on Saturdays. As I stated in my very first blog post Split does not have a large, hell even mid sized gaming community. There are only 2 gaming clubs which are only for consoles and PCs and apart from the shop itself (which cannot work long weekends) the promotion of gaming was limited. After a successful convention last summer Marko Mlinar and his team are hoping to garner more interest in board games and RPGS. The biggest problems they face are resources and spaces, games in Croatia sadly are expensive for the younger demographic and places to play is a problem for the older demographic. The third would be, WHO TO PLAY WITH? So instead of giving up they have been doing these game sessions every Saturday back to back and last weekend broke the record for attendance with more than 35 gamers present!
Walking up to the venue you go through the very heart of the city so I knew if I would get thirsty or hungry the solution is walking distance. You go through a small door and are energized by the vibes when you enter. A room full of people, packed like sardines but everyone is all smiles and there is no yelling ! Polite socializing, open door policy and most of all friendly faces. It was my first time attending was glad to see a game I was dying to play for a while (7 Wonders) and to my luck Marko brought the Leaders expansion :D. There were classic favorites such as Settlers of Catan, Cosmic Encounter and the party time favorite Avalon were some of the arsenal they brought out that night. In short its a bright light for gamers and every gamer would have something for themselves. The level of gamer also varied so that made it a little more enjoyable for me. Nobody wants to get owned as a newbie, especially not their first time. The whole time I was there everyone was friendly and helpful, forthcoming with information and for the first time in a while I was somewhere where the majority of people were not staring at their cellphones or texting. Info Zona run a tight ship and have a great space especially for those living in the center or who simply find themselves strolling can easy find the location. As you can see in the picture above, it is well furnished and everyone present came to game and have a good time. No loud music, no loud patrons and above all a decent game bank to choose from. An added bonus is also that the crowd is very mixed ranging from ages, backgrounds and if you are an expat most of the gamers speak very good English.
In short I would to thank them for their noble pursuit but I must also state why I am wary of their efforts. As of now in Split if someone is searching for a place to game and learn about gaming you can visit the store during working hours and you can also game Saturday’s at Zona. Problem with Zona is that it starts a bit later in the day and the place is pretty much always crowded so people looking for earlier sessions are on their own. I heard from some people that it is usually the same people which slightly irritated me. As you well know I am the head of a guild and in one year our board game collection is at 7 games ! I feel its wack to come every Saturday and not at least consider buying a game for yourself to game with your friends or by yourself, in fact I would go as far as saying its downplaying the efforts of volunteers and taking advantage of their generosity. Maybe Im old school but owning a game always gives you the option of introducing gaming to your friends and new people. These people invest their time and energy into something decent and pure and I believe the only way to repay them is by doing right and grasping their commitment. None of them get paid to do it and they can just as easily be at home gaming with their friends but they gift you their time and themselves, selflessness…it’s a beautiful thing. I say this in the hopes of people considering that the games offered at these places are out of someones private collection and if one was to be ruined I highly doubt the hurt party would be compensated. I urge people who have not yet visited Carta Magica Split or Info Zona to make an effort to swing by, you can meet some interesting people, if your lucky you might even meet me (kidding). Characters to look out for would be Gordan ( the gentle beard ), Toni ( The Sci Fi guy), Jerko ( Star Fly ) Kruno ( Troll Vader ) Romana ( Scroll Vader ), Marijana ( Sweetheart Zombie Slayer ) & Marko ( Pancho Splicho ) who are very helpful to guests and do their best to ensure you have a good time. It is because these individuals put in the work we have such a treasure in the city and I will ALWAYS speak highly of them and it will only be a pleasure to do write ups on their events. For these events to continue other people outside the volunteer circles MUST start participating because Split is the second city of Croatia yet there is only one board game and RPG guild (G.O.L.T.) . So to all the the people who are on the fence of buying a game here are some suggestions :
- Watch reviews online : this way you can at least get an idea of a game you may like
- Visit the store and become a member : 5% discount with membership!
- Try out different games
- Gather a group of friends and split the costs
and if you are truly interested in gaming or have games but no one to play with then apply for membership with The Guild of Lost Travelers. Bare in mind the screening process may take a couple of days as all senior members must vote on granting admission to the group. If you reach out expect to receive a message and a meeting to be arranged but fear not young padawan for no one in the guild is a dick…except me (kidding again). Until next time quest strong, drink responsibly, roll 20 and watch out for that ORC !!!!
*the opinions of The Fantasy Dimension do not reflect those of Info Zona or Carta Magica and the nicknames provided are aliases which I carefully crafted to maintain the privacy of these heroes of gaming! Like the pages now so you don’t have to later !!!
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