Gamers team up to donate trading cards to the troops
PORT RICHEY - On the counter next to the cash register is a box of fantasy game cards with a large sign reading: "Support your troops the Yancy Street way!"What started as donations of extra boxes of cards turned into an on-going shipment of contributed gaming supplies to troops in Afghanistan.In support of employee Allison Chamberlain, whose husband Robert is stationed overseas, Yancy Street Comics gathered up older editions of "Magic: The Gathering" decks and cards to send to bored troops overseas.The owners figure it is the least they can do."These guys are laying their lives in the lines and I'm just a comic book guy," said co-owner Chris Pobjecky.Wizards of the Coast, the makers of Magic cards, sent co-owner Steve Baginskie a package with a dozen pre-made decks ready to play. Knowing that Chamberlain had a husband stationed overseas who played the game, he suggested the shop send the cards to the husband and his Army friends. "They played with the same cards for two months over and over and over," Chamberlain said. "I asked Steve if there were any more pre-made decks because they were using the same cards and he said, 'hey, why don't we just send them a box?' It escalated from there as more and more customers heard about it and wanted to start donating cards."Someone came in and donated over $130 worth of cards in one shot. I hugged her and was crying. Everyone has been so awesome about it. I can't thank the store enough. They need that distraction over there."The comic store inside Gulf View Square, the Port Richey-area mall, recently expanded its merchandise line to include table top games. Almost every night gamers occupy several tables inside the larger shop.Friday nights are set aside for "Magic: The Gathering," a popular trading card game in which the players are wizards fighting other wizards for glory, knowledge, and conquest. The deck of cards represents all the weapons,spells and creatures players can summon. Adam Oden, a long-time Yancy Street customer, has a wife in the Army who loves to play "Magic: The Gathering," so the donations are a great way to support his favorite store and the military. "We are huge fans of anything that supports the troops and this way, we get to support Yancy Street Comics, too," Oden said.Not only does the store accept donations of used Magic decks and cards, but it also accepts donations of new booster packs, which cost $3.98 a pack and are set in a box right by the register that customers can't miss.Every pack that is sold is sent with a sticker attached to it with the name of the customer who donated it."It makes me happy that the troops know there are common people giving them packs of cards, that we are supporting what they're doing, and that it's from their fellow gamers," Oden said.As a thank you, the troops sent back a photo collage poster of themselves playing the game and spelling out "Thank U Yancy" in cards on their makeshift gaming table. This is Yancy Street's third shipment of cards and three flat-rate boxes are set to be shipped next week. It will continue to send cards indefinitely, on a monthly basis.Yancy Street comics is at the north entrance to the mall between the Humane Society and Dillards. For more information on gaming nights, special events and how you can help donate games to the troops, call (727) 817-0888.