Paladins Game Castle: It’s all about the games!

Steven Gaede

A game of Magic the Gathering, takes place Jan. 26 at the event hosted by Paladins Game Castle. (Steven Gaede/The Runner)
A game of Magic the Gathering, takes place Jan. 26 at the event hosted by Paladins Game Castle. (Steven Gaede/The Runner)

Sports Editor

Elves and wizards invaded CSUB’s Albertson Room Saturday, Jan.26 for a special event hosted by Paladins Game Castle. The event known as a pre-release, featured a new set of cards for the popular collectible card game, Magic the Gathering (MTG). A pre-release allows players to play new cards before being released to the public. While Sheldon and Leonard were not in attendance, there were hordes of avid gamers that came to CSUB looking to have a good time.

The objective of MTG is to reduce your opponent’s life total down from 20 to zero, through the use of casting monster and spell cards. Saturday was comprised of nothing but MTG, with two sealed events, and a two-headed giant tournament (2HG) team event.

In the sealed event players received six booster packs with 15 cards each, from which they were to create a forty-card deck to theoretically kill their friends with. The 2HG event was similar with the respect to getting random cards and having to build a deck, but the rules are quite different and involve the use of a partner. Partners who end up falling short of their teammate’s expectations, jokingly tend to never hear the end of how worthless they are.

Paladins has been in business for 10 years in Bakersfield, promoting board games such as Apples to Apples and Settlers of Catan, to more competitive collectible card games like MTG. Magic is Paladins’ bread and butter yet the store caters to all individuals, interested in MTG or not.

“We promote all types of hobby games,” said business owner Curtis Lusk. “Magic the Gathering is our big one, but we also do a lot of sells with other collectible card games, miniatures and books.”

Paladins was located off of White Lane, but with the economy the way it is the business owners, Curtis and Cindy, decided to take their company in a new direction by moving to a smaller warehouse location.

“Our lease was actually coming up due but it was getting really high, and we decided to scale back with the economy and so forth,” said Lusk. The business has also scaled back on employees, going from four to two.

The new location on District Blvd is only 930 sq. ft. but it has gotten the job done, drawing in many gamers looking to get the ‘hottest’ cards.

“We have a showroom lobby area where we have products where people can come in and purchase,” Lusk said. “We’ve actually had quite a bit of foot traffic. We’re still getting online orders and it remains to be seen if it is really going to affect sales that much.”

“I’m sure it’s going to have some kind of effect, but because of the reduce cost in expenses that kind of offsets it.”

Due to the lack of space, the tournaments, which the business depends upon to draw in players, can no longer be run in-house. Inquisitions regarding room rentals have had to be made to continue the weekly tradition of Friday Night Magic in Bakersfield, which has been over a decade strong.

“We kind of ran into a capacity issue at our current location. That is why we are running stuff offsite. We only have a year lease there so we are looking at some other locations and trying to find something that would fit for us,” Lusk said. “It’s difficult to find a good mix, space per dollars and a location that makes sense, where people can get to and so forth.”

The event at CSUB is not the first time the business has played offsite, as the last two weeks the business’ biggest event, Friday night Magic, has been played at Rusty’s Pizza on White Lane. The (free) renting of one of the rooms in the pizza parlor has been a win-win for both parties, giving Paladins a place to play and Rusty’s extra business.

“The owner was pretty happy with it because it brings in extra business,” said Lusk.

While Rusty’s is a great temporary location, it does not necessarily offer the amount of space Paladins is looking for. CSUB’s Albertson Room on the other hand, does offer the space required for larger events.

“We love the room. We definitely want to hold more events at this location,” said co-business owner, Cindy Lusk said. “Food is a little bit of an issue, running and getting food and all that, but we’re improvising and I think it’s working out well.”

“I really like the space. It’s everything we have always wanted in a space,” added player and Paladin’s employee, Robert Camargo.

The event at Paladin welcomed in about 100 players over the three tournaments, reaching the expected total. Overall, everyone was happy with how the event turned out. Additional occurrences of renting out the Albertson Room have not been worked out yet, but they are a possibility.

“We haven’t worked out multiple events yet because we’re actually looking at various venues. Running these types of events at a separate location is new to us, so it kind of depends on what we’re looking at in the future,” Curtis said.

The choice of CSUB to be the spot of the Gatecrash pre-release was a combination of money and location.

“I like the idea of the neutral location. It’s a well-known established place. People can find it easily,” said Curtis. “The room-rate was very inexpensive to what we were getting anyway. Compared to other places we looked at, even if we paid for parking it was going to be about the same amount.”

While Saturday was all about MTG, the store is not. Paladins caters to individuals of all ages and always look to draw in new players through the use of game demos.

“We’re always open to do demos. It’s something that we do a lot of,” Curtis said. “We just did Bak-Anime at the Marriot and did a lot of demos. Depending on the age of the person, there are several different demos that we do.”

These demos are paramount in Paladins’ success as a business and the continuation of the company’s legacy of being the leading supplier of hobby games in Bakersfield for many more years to come.