TLD Con: What are Events?

TLD Con is our 2 day gaming con this fall, but if you’re reading this there’s a 99% chance you already know about it. (But if you don’t, check out our Facebook event here for the complete description and concept).


What are the events and how are the different from your past gaming events?

The Events…

The events that will be run at TLD Con are all self run, meaning that anyone can run any kind of gaming event they want to as long as it has to do with gaming/nerd culture.

What does this actually mean though?

It means that if you want to reserve table space at 2pm on Saturday to play Game of Thrones, schedule an event! If you want to paint miniatures with other mini painters sometime on Sunday, schedule an event! If you want to run a Dominion tournament, schedule an event! Do you have a new D&D adventure you want to run? Schedule an event! Want a dedicated space to stream for your Twitch? Schedule it!

The possibilities are endless with events and we are excited to see what you all come up with. A lot of events have been submitted and there are some exciting this that are going to happen! If you’re unsure of something that you want to run, submit it and we can help answer any questions that you may have.

Now, how are these events different from the events we have done in the past? 

The biggest difference is that these events will be run by you, the gamers! In years past we have attempted organized game play and while it was fun for some people, they never really filled up. And we think that’s because it wasn’t something you wanted to play. So this time we’re leaving it up to you to decided what gets played, because you know better than anyone what you and your friends want to play.

How to submit an event and what happens after you submit it. 

To submit an event head on over to our con page here and answer all the questions. You will need to create an account if you haven’t yet. These are basic like what do you want to run, how much space do you need, how many people does it seat, and how much time will it take?

The next thing that happens is that we get an email about it. If there’s any problems, or we need more information, we will contact you and finalize everything.

Once we get everything scheduled to a time you’ll be notified about that. That will be about 2 weeks after event registration ends (August 10th).

We are planning on launching event sign-up for badge holders in September. Those that have a Premier and Patron badge will get access 24 hours before those with a Standard badge. Anyone with a badge can signup for events until spots are filled up.

At check in the day of the event you will be given a ticket for each event that you are signed up for. If there are open spots available for events you can signup the day of.

And that’s it!

Board Game Night in Ann Arbor!

We are BEYOND excited to announce our newest game night location in Ann Arbor at Blom Meadworks!

They have a delicious selection of mead at very reasonable prices. We hope to see you on Thursday evenings from 5pm – 9pm starting August 9th.

The library has been installed and are available to play any day they are open. The complete list of games can be found on our Game Locator page here.



New Game Night in Waterford

Our newest addition to the weekly game night schedule is at Rustic Leaf Brewing in Waterford!

Join us every Tuesday from 5pm – 10pm for free board games and Dungeons and Dragons!

Each of our weekly game night events has a library of board games available (see list here) and a guru on duty to teach them to you. This location also has open Dungeons and Dragons Adventurers League availble! We are playing through The Curse of Strahd. New and experienced players are welcome to sign-up here.

We raffle off a board game each week, too! You get a raffle ticket for each beer that you purchase from Rustic Leaf.

We look forward to seeing you there!

D&D 101 for Teachers and Educators – July 30th, 2018

Do you have students that want to play Dungeons and Dragons?

Are you interested in learning how D&D can be useful in the classroom?

Come and learn about how to play, and run, a D&D table from Game Masters (GMs) from the local community that have experience teaching D&D to their students!


Dungeons & Dragons is a game filled with creative problem solving and working together as a group. Skills that all students can benefit from.

On Monday, July 30th at The Rust Belt Market, our experienced GMs will teach you everything you need to know.

We will start with learning how to create a character. This step is filled with creativity and there are many resources to speed up this step online. Next we will have you run through a quick adventure as a table to get a feel for what the play is like. After you go through a play through we will have a GM help you run an attack for the table. This will be followed by a Q+A session with all GMs.

It’s only $1 to reserve a seat and spots are limited! You can reserve a spot at our retail location or on our D&D page.

Intro to Running a D&D Table – July 23rd, 2018

Have you been wanting to start your own D&D game but don’t know where to begin?

Join us on Monday, July 23rd at The Rust Belt Market where the best Game Masters (GM) in the local community will be here teaching you how to run your own D&D table!

We will begin with running through character creation. This can be an intimidating prep step for new players and we will walk you through the ins and outs, as well as show you some paperless options. Next, each player will run the table through a quick attack with a GM available to help you. After this attack we will all sit down for a Q+A session with all GMs present. Time permitting, we will have two more tables available for you to practice running an additional attack, one table will have a role play focus and the other will have an attach focus. You can choose the table that best fits your needs.

Seats are limited so reserve yours in store or on our D&D page. It costs $1 to reserve a seat.

D&D Intro Session – July 16th, 2018

Intro D&D for Teens and Adults!

If you’re interested in learning how to play Dungeons and Dragons, join us on Monday, July 16th at The Rust Belt Market! This is event is a family friendly event and ages 7 and up are invited to join us.


Each table will be lead by an experienced Game Master (GM). They will assist you in creating a character and send you through a full adventure!


Everything is available for you the day of, the only thing you have to bring is yourself! Sign-up on our D&D page or at our retail location ASAP as spots are limited. It’s $1 to reserve a seat.

D&D Ladies’ Night – July 9th, 2018

This July we are hosting a four week series at The Rust Belt Market covering all things D&D. And we are kicking things off with a casual Ladies Night!

We will have tables of Dungeons and Dragons run by lady Game Masters (GM) from the community. All levels of players are welcome to this event.

If you are new and do not have a character to play with, or maybe you want to play around with a new character, do not fear! The first hour of the event will be all about character creation. Each GM will assist you in making a character, creating a backstory, and helping you learn how your character makes decisions.

After characters have been made, our GMs will lead everyone through an adventure. Everything you need to play will be provided the day of.

Seats are limited for this event and it’s $1 to reserve a seat. You can reserve a seat in store or here

If you have any questions, or want to GM for this event, please send us an email at


Summer Cornhole League at Axle Brewing

Sign-up for our first ever Cornhole League at Axle Brewing Livernois Tap!



The league launches on Tuesday, June 12th. Games will be schedule at either 6:30 pm or 7:30 pm every Tuesday.

Where is it?

It will take place on Axle Brewing Livernois Tap’s patio! 567 Livernois Ave, Ferndale, MI 48220


It’s $20 per person.

How do I sign-up?

You can sign up using the form here! You can sign-up by yourself or as a team of 2. If you want to be on a team with someone specific, please sign up as a team of 2. 


To be announced soon!

Board Gamer Do’s and Don’ts


Don’t shuffle your cards like they do in the movies! Seriously, it will bend TF out of your cards. Games are expensive and there’s no reason to add unnecessary wear and tear. And if you do this to someone else’s cards…that’s just rude.




Shuffle your cards gently using the “side shuffle”, like the gif below! It doesn’t damage your cards AND it’s much faster.




If you are teaching a group of people a new game it is NOT okay to sit there and read the rules out loud word for word! Whenever I see someone doing this the rest of the table is either zoned out or on their phones.




Come prepared! If you’re teaching a new game, it’s okay if you haven’t played it! But you should understand the rules enough to teach it and answer simple questions the players may have. Reading the rules over once and watching a YouTube video will give you enough information. If you don’t know the rules, let the table know when people sit down. “Hey I don’t know how to play this yet and I haven’t read the rules. Do you mind learning it with me?” That gives people a heads up that it will take a bit of time to get moving and they have the choice of opting out.




If someone else is teaching a game that you have played, don’t butt in and “help” them teach it! When more than one person is teaching something it just confuses the other players and ends up looking like a spitting contest.




If you think that they explained one of the rules incorrectly, you can phrase it as if you are unsure, which will cause less tension at the table. “Oh, I always thought the game ended when you have 5 trains remaining, not 10. I’m just going to double check in the rules very quickly.” If you can see that they are struggling offering to help is nice (“Would you like me to help you explain this game? I played it just last week.”), but if they say no then let them be.

Smile and nod until they are done explaining the rules.





I have noticed that when people play games they put the bottom of the box inside of the top of the box to easily access the rules and other components. DON’T DO THAT! When you attempt to separate these two pieces later on, you will end up stretching out the top of the box which makes it lose any suction it had. No suction means that when your game box is placed vertically there will be a gap and pieces will fall out.



Place the top of the box perpendicular to the table like the gif below. It still allows access to the components inside, takes up the same amount of table space, and doesn’t require you to damage the sides of the box. Happy boxes happy shelf.



What are your board game do’s and don’ts? Share with us in the comments!

Top Light Strategy Intro Game Mechanics

When I was introduced to modern board games, aka not Monopoly, one of the main things I was overwhelmed by was the variety of games that were out there. And honestly, it stills shocks me. New games are constantly coming out, old games are being reprinted and gaining attention, and I played Concordia once and I still have to play that again!

In a world with thousands of board games to choose from you can always count on top 5 lists on the interwebs to help you make your choice. There are a ton of lists to choose from and they are really helpful in finding easy to learn games that you are certain to have fun playing. And yes, Dixit and Codenames and Ticket to Ride are super fun to play. But there is a HUGE amount of people that, from the get-go, want something with a little more strategy than those games offer.

This list is for those people.

When you’re being introduced to board games I honestly think it’s best to play things with different mechanics. By entering the hobby this way you will learn what you like and what you don’t like in board games. And once you know that it’s much easier to filter through the thousands of games that are on the market. Find what you enjoy to play and find games that compliment that mechanic.

If you’re unfamiliar with what board game mechanics are I can break it down very easily. Mechanics are essentially the different parts of how a game is played, and there are usually a few different mechanics in each game. Here’s an example:

The easiest, and one most people are familiar with, is Roll and Move. In Monopoly, you roll a die and move that many spaces. That entire process is a mechanic called Roll and Move. Monopoly also has Auctions and Trading, which are mechanics in and of themselves.  

So…let me break down 5 board game mechanics I think all new and old gamers should be familiar with.

Now to be clear, there are more than 5 board game mechanics that I love and think people should play, but these are the 5 I think people should start with to get a good variety of game play.

Set Collection

Set collection is a mechanic that is based around scoring as opposed to actual game play. You score points based on sets that you collect during the game. Really, it’s that simple. A popular example of this mechanic is Go Fish, where you are trying to collect pairs of cards. Set collection is a great mechanic to seek out as it is found in a lot of games, of all levels and with many different themes. Ask your local game store what they recommend and what great intro option are.

Best to start with:

  • Sushi Go Party!
  • 7 Wonders
  • Elysium



Deckbuilding is very often confused with collectible card games. Let me make this very clear, DECKBUILDING IS NOT MAGIC THE GATHERING. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, good. There is no need to fall into the world of MTG. Trust me. It’s a bullshit money pit that you will never find your way out of. Deckbuilding games come with everything you need and no other purchases are necessary.

ANYWAY…deckbuilding is a very popular and talked about board game mechanic, and one that can seem kind of complex at first. But it’s really quite simple. You are creating your own deck of cards. There is usually a “Marketplace” that has different cards that are available for purchase, and these cards will have actions, money, or victory points on them that will bring you closer to the goal of the game.

Each player starts the game with their own deck of cards that is the sameish for all players (based on theme), usually a small amount like 7-10. You draw a specific amount into your hand, usually 5, and those are what you will be playing with for this turn. You always start with some sort of money cards in your deck, which you will use to purchase one (or more) of the action cards in the Marketplace. All of the cards you started your turn with, and the new card(s) you purchased on this turn will go into your discard pile at the end of your turn. You then grab 5 more cards from your deck and proceed like that until your draw pile is empty. At that point you will shuffle your discard pile, which has all of those shiny new fun action cards you have purchased, and that becomes your new draw pile. You will now start seeing, and using, those new action cards and fun things will start to happen.

Deckbuilding is a great mechanic to start with because these games tend to be very quick. After the 2nd or 3rd turn in the game things start to move faster as the game play starts to feel less clunky and your synergies start to work. When you find games that have to do with Deckbuilding you will find that it’s usually the most prominent mechanic. It’s all about what you think will work well together and is a great place to play around with different strategies, in an intro setting. It’s also a great way to learn how to shuffle quickly. Pro tip: do not shuffle your cards in the typical waterfall/fan way. It will ruin your cards.

Games to start with:

  • Dominion
  • Harry Potter The Deckbuilding Game
  • Valley of the Kings


Area Control

Area Control games are all about…well…control. Control and power. Area control games award those that have control over certain areas of the board, which is usually a map based on the theme. How do you gain control over these areas? Well, that’s different in every game. Sometimes you bid for areas, sometimes you build when you have the resources, and sometimes you trade and negotiate your way there. No matter how you do it, power is constantly shifting around the board and you do find yourself starting to think like a war general.

If you are looking for games with a low level of player interaction, these games are not for you. You will need to be confident enough in your strategy to go into an area with a lot of conflict, bump other people, or cut them off when you’re ready. There is usually politics and conversation involved in decisions at the table, and it’s important to keep an eye on everything that’s going on. There are no small moves.

Best to start with:

  • Catan
  • Small World
  • Tikal


Worker Placement

Whenever I start to explain mechanics, most mechanics are understood from the title. But Worker Placement doesn’t really make sense until you’ve played it.

Worker placement is found mainly in what we call European games, which are more focused on economics and resources as opposed to combat and attacking. Usually you will start the game with a few meeples, mini-people, and those will be your workers. You will take turns sending your workers out on the board to get stuff that you need and to take different actions. The board will have different locations on it and each location will denote a thing that you get. You can get stuff like money, specific resources, become first player, placing a new location with new stuff, taking actions, and any other elements that theme will have.

Each player takes a turn placing one worker on a location until all workers have been placed. Once all workers have been placed each player takes a turn getting whatever that location has/doing whatever the action is. Now the trick is that you cannot place your worker on a space with another worker. Some games have spots for more than one worker, but most often it’s just one space. Meaning someone else could take the action/space that you wanted to and now you have to alter your path to victory.

This mechanic is really fun to play, but people don’t usually find it until later in their gaming hobby. The strategy is usually a long term one a very direct path to what you need. “Ok, I need to get this to get this to then get this to get that many VP. Or I can get that and then that and then that to get this many VP. Well, the orange player is going there this turn so I’ll try and go here and get that.” It only takes a few turns to figure it out and is a great option for those of you that don’t like a lot of player interaction.

Best to start with:

  • Lords of Waterdeep
  • Caylus
  • Stone Age



Trading and negotiation games are highly political games filled with alliances and lies. Friends become enemies then allies, then friends, then enemies…and so on.  I have found that the majority of people either love or hate these games, and few fall in between. Especially for those of you new to the hobby. Give these a try early on to see if they are your cup of tea.

These games are mainly trading games that also involve negotiation. You need to trade to get the resources that you need and you will be negotiating with other players to make these trades. If it doesn’t benefit you it’s usually not a good trade.

It’s a pretty easy mechanic to explain.

Best to start with:

  • Chinatown
  • Catan
  • Bohnanza


Card Drafting

Card drafting is found so often in board games that it was hard to keep it off of this list. The reason that it’s not listed in the Top 5 is because it’s usually found along with more prominent board game mechanics, like set collection and trading.

Card drafting is commonly found in games without an actual “board” are are mainly card based. Even if there isn’t an actual board being used, some sort of information about each players strategy is out in the open for all other players to see.

The drafting is a way that players select the cards they will be putting into their hand. Everyone is dealt the same amount of cards and selects one that they want to keep in their hand. That card is kept a secret and everyone passes the rest of the cards to the person next to them, in the same direction (everyone passes their cards to the person on their left or everyone passes to the person on their right). So on and so forth until those dealt cards have been passed out to everyone.

Card drafting is a really fun mechanic to play with as it gives a bit of strategy to the randomness of dealing cards. If I know that I’m going to be passing cards to the person on my left, and I can see that part of their strategy involves getting combat cards, I’m going to keep that combat card so I’m not just “handing” it over to them. It’s a super common mechanic that takes about 2 or 3 rounds to click. Pro Tip: If you’re not playing Terraforming Mars with drafting you’re not playing Terraforming Mars.

Great to start with:

  • Sushi Go Party!
  • 7 Wonders

The Loaded Die has most of these titles spread out all around Metro Detroit. Check out our Game Locator to see where the closest title is to you! And you can always stop into your friendly local game store (FLGS) and ask what their favorite titles are for your favorite mechanic!