Winter will be over before you know it, and guess what that means. Outdoor activities? Increased social interaction? a cheerier general disposition for you and those around you? Wrong on all counts, sillies. It means lots of new Magic the Gathering cards! But don’t take it from me, take it from our favorite forest-dwelling man of the mana, Larry Fogbeast:
That’s right: We are now taking booster box preorders for Modern Masters 2017 ($200, limit 1 per customer, releases 3/17) and for Amonkhet ($100 each, releases 4/28), so hurry up and reserve yours today before they’re all gone!
We are also taking preregistration for our weekend of Modern Masters 2017 booster drafts ($35, 3/17-3/19, see Events Calendar for full details) and Amonkhet Prereleases ($25, 4/22 & 4/23, again see the Events Calendar), and product is limited, so sign up ASAP, peoples!
And for those of you who hunger for competition, we have even more Standard, Modern, Booster Drafts, and Frontier coming up, including FNM, Game Days, Open Houses, Leagues, Standard Showdowns, GPTs, PPTQs, and SCG Invitational Qualifiers. *phew!*
Hi there, everybody! You procrastinated, and we heard you! Somehow. Does procrastination make a sound? I suppose it sounds like a TV turning on, or a muffled shudder from a pile of blankets. Hey, we get it. In the spirit of slacker empathy we present our Portal End of Year Sale! Here’s how it works:
Friday, December 23rd, from 11am to 11pm, Saturday, December 24th, from 11am to 5pm, AND even on Monday, December 26th, from 11am to 9pm (because who doesn’t rush right out to spend all of their gift cards and holiday cash?), we will be offering the following sales in the shop:
All board games, card games (excluding Magic singles), roleplaying games, and miniatures/wargames (excluding singles) are 20% off!
All discounted board games and miniatures are BUY THREE, THE CHEAPEST IS FREE!
All comic book trade paperbacks and graphic novels (softcover AND hardcover) are 40% off!
All Wizkids Heroclix and Dicemasters products are 40% off!
All mats (card game playmats, rpg grid mats, Star Wars mats, Guild Ball mats, and wargaming mats) are 30% off!
SPECIALS: Blood Bowl starter sets and Magic Planechase Anthology box sets are 30% off!
It’s that time again, that you either eagerly anticipate, or are completely over. No, I’m not talking about holiday stuff. I’m talking about year-end ‘best of’ lists. This was an insane year for quality comic books and games, and I just can’t help myself. I need to share. So bear with me, because here comes:
JARED’S COMIC BOOK AND GAME TOP TEN OF 2016
As always I need to preface this by saying that try as I might, I have not read all of the comics and played all of the games. So this is based on what I got to this year. To qualify for the list, they had to be new (so no spinoffs, no expansions, no older ongoing series) and had to be released in the US this year (so some games may have appeared last year elsewhere). Now, let’s do this.
10. Faith- Valiant’s Harbinger was one of the greatest superhero team books ever to hit the shelves, and the character of Faith (also known as Zephyr) was a standout thanks to her boundless optimism and unabashed love of geek culture, and that carries over to her new solo title. It’s a fun palate cleanser, month after month.
9. Champions- When this Marvel book was announced, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. But it’s a collection of great characters like Miles Morales, Kamala Khan, and Amadeus Cho, and it’s written by the legendary Mark Waid and drawn by Humberto Ramos, so I couldn’t stay away. I’m glad I gave it a shot. It’s full of exuberance and teen drama that doesn’t come off as cheesy, and it tackles a lot of big picture issues.
8. Green Valley- This comic is basically what happens when Max Landis comes to Image with a head full of Dungeons & Dragons fantasy, ready to throw you a major curveball by the conclusion of each issue. This is a story that is never quite what you think, and one I now eagerly anticipate each month.
7. Glitterbomb- I love the righteous anger of this book. I’ve not really seen a comic so nakedly talk about how the Hollywood system chews up, abuses, and spits out young actresses, leaving them broken and empty vessels that can easily be filled with bitterness and rage (or in this case, destructive demonic creatures), and though you suspect it won’t end well for anyone involved, the end of this first arc was a complete jawdropper.
6. Animosity- Aftershock is a fledgling comic publisher that’s making big waves, and this book is the jewel in its shiny new crown. Marguerite Bennett and company tell the story of an event on Earth where all of the animals suddenly ‘wake up’ and have human-level intelligence, and they have not forgotten what we have done to them. I jokingly refer to it as a vegan revenge fantasy, but it goes a lot deeper than that.
5. The Black Monday Murders- Jonathan Hickman has made an indelible mark on comics with his unique style, which is always a grand, sweeping concept that’s executed with the details-oriented precision of a graphic designer, and in his latest comic it involves frightening levels of accumulated power, channeled through the globe through ritualistic economics.
4. Moon Knight- Marvel’s exceptionally eccentric vigilante has had his ups and downs over the years, but somehow Jeff Lemire has taken all that madness and tied it all together with a stark white bow on top. All that, AND he compassionately and stylistically addresses Marc Spector’s mental illness in ways you have to see to fully appreciate.
3. Doom Patrol- True 90s-era Vertigo style weirdness is back, and it’s all thanks to Gerard Way, and his new Young Animal imprint. This book could only be the product of someone who is a student of Grant Morrison, with an appreciation for his reality-busting take on the characters nearly thirty years ago. You need to stick with it once you’ve entered its world, because it’s a slow, surreal burn.
2. Seven to Eternity- If it’s punk rock Science Fiction that you’re after, no one delivers it like Rick Remender. Fresh off of the amazing Tokyo Ghost, his new title is a bleak journey that gets to the heart of corruption and compromise, with weathered alien characters risking everything to fight back in a world oppressed by a tyrant’s whispers.
1. The Fix- It’s actually a trick that very few can pull off, creating a satire where everything is turned up to 11, so grossly absurd that the audience can’t help but laugh through their shock the whole time. Nick Spencer and his accomplices have managed to do just that, because there is clearly a need out there for stories about corrupt detectives, hipster crime bosses, bumbling homeless drug addicts, and heroic dogs named Pretzels. This is a book you’ll be running off to tell all of your friends about, a condition commonly known as ‘Preacher Syndrome’.
10. Fight For Olympus- There has been a huge surge in 2-player only games in recent years, and Mayfair has been at the forefront of it. Olympus is like a crash course in balanced card game design, with a neat little Greek mythology theme. There’s an area for victory points, one for card draw, and one for resources, and the cards get placed at them and then are forced into a brutal back-and-forth war of attrition.
9. Lotus- I pitch this to people as the new Splendor, and I am serious about that. This is a beautiful filler game that uses the cards as petals of a flower, scoring you points when you complete them and have contributed the most to their growth. There’s even little insect meeples and unlockable powers. This one is a pure joy to play. It’s just so satisfying and addictive.
8. Onitama- If you have a love for abstract strategy games like I do, this one is a must-own. It’s very chess-like in its execution, but loaded with replayability thanks to the cards which dictate the limited number of moves your pieces can make each game. The watercolor artwork is stunning, the components are eye-catching, and it all comes in a handy custom storage case.
7. Mystic Vale- I have to admit, lately I’ve been burned out on deckbuilding games. All too often they’ve been simple re-skins of Dominion that bring nothing new to the table. Mystic Vale brings the new in the form of clear plastic Gloom-style cards that allow you to actually build the cards that you’re constructing your deck out of, one on top of the other in big tarot size sleeve. There’s a little bit of press your luck to each turn, and the druid theme is a welcome change of pace, too.
6. Potion Explosion- This game has marbles. MARBLES. I could end my description there and most people would check this out. But there’s more to say about Potion Explosion. You construct a box that spits the marbles down little chutes, and you get to collect them when you line up a series of the same color, sort of like a board game version of Bejeweled. And then you use them to brew potions for points, which you can also use for special abilities. It’s the perfect board game for those of us who never completely grew up, and I mean that in the best possible way.
5. Quadropolis- I know to a lot of folks that describing a game as city-building and tile-drafting will ruin any chance you have of convincing them to play it with you, but in this game it’s so much more fun and engaging than it sounds. It’s a personal puzzle, but you have to interact with your opponents while you solve it. And the production values on this thing are top notch. After playing it, I genuinely wondered why more games don’t use translucent plastic meeples.
4. Clank!- The unthinkable has happened: There are TWO deckbuilding games on this list. So what makes Clank stand out so much? It’s combined with a dungeon crawl AND a press your luck ‘noise’ mechanism that can result in you waking a dragon and getting roasted while you race your opponents through the catacombs, collecting as many goodies as you can carry. It’s probably the best mash-up game I’ve seen in a very long time.
3. Scythe- If you’ve played other Stonemaier games, you know a bit of what you can expect here: unique worker placement, fun bits and pieces, and a one-of-a-kind theme, all wrapped in artwork that is a conversation starter all on its own. What Scythe does is mix that up with a kind of Ameritrash area control, complete with Cool Mini-esque miniatures that you just want to paint up right away and a customizable player board with all sorts of abilities and victory points to unlock. It supports play for up to 7 people, too!
2. Kanagawa- For me, there can never be enough games like Tokaido–games that are striking and elegant and just plain CHILL. Kanagawa checks all those boxes, and does it through a unique drafting system that gives you dual-use cards which you’ll place in your tableau in order to make breathtaking art prints for victory points. This is a game that makes a very strong impression, and holds up after multiple plays.
1. The Manhattan Project: Energy Empire- This series from Minion Games has been fantastic, whether it’s the original worker placement game, the combo-building card game, or this new nation-building iteration. In Energy Empire you control a growing nation, but rather than military or tech advancement, the focus here is on the energy–what types you’ll invest in, what they’ll allow you to accomplish, and (here comes the best part) what you’ll choose to do about the resultant pollution to the land, sea, and air. It’s a new high point in Euro-style mechanics, with gameplay that’s smooth and components that are tons of fun to play with.
There you have it. 2016 might have been a raging poop tornado in a lot of ways, but in our corner of the world it was glorious.
As we move into a new year, all of us here at The Portal want to sincerely thank you all for shopping, gaming, and shooting the breeze with us. This is why we’re here, and it all happens because of your support. There are big plans on the horizon, so be well, have fun out there, and we’ll see you in 2017.
It’s that most magical time of the year: That time when tons of stuff is on sale at The Portal, and you end up buying yourself more than you do for the family and friends on your holiday lists. It’s okay, we understand. No judgments. So, without further delay, here’s the breakdown:
Thursday, November 24th we are closed for Thanksgiving
Friday, November 25th, 10am to 11pm AND Saturday, November 26th, 10am to 9pm
ALL board games, card games, roleplaying games, wargames, and graphic novels/trade paperbacks will be 25% off! The only exempt items will be supplies, dice, singles, paint, and used items. This discount does not combine with any others–the register takes the highest discount. No holds allowed.
-All of our clearance board games are 40% off AND buy three get the cheapest one free!
–Booster packs of Magic the Gathering: Conspiracy-Take the Crown are 40% off!
-Dicemasters & Heroclix are all 40% off!
-All Weiss Schwarz cards are 40% off!
-Dead of Winter: The Long Night & Seafall are 30% off!
And there will be some other surprise specials as well! It’s two days of pure shopping goodness, and you’re all invited! We’ll see you all this weekend. And don’t forget:
Saturday is our Magic the Gathering shocks and fetches Modern tournament! 1pm start time, and only $45 if you preregister by Friday night at 11($50 at the door)!
YOU CAN NOW PAY FOR PREREGISTRATION ONLINE. NOTE THE PRICE HAS COME DOWN TO $45 FOR PREREGISTRATION AND $50 AT THE DOOR. CLICK HERE TO PREREGISTER NOW.
Here’s a shout out and reminder to all our Magic the Gathering players. Our Shock and Fetch Lands Modern Tournament for Magic the Gathering is fast approaching. Preregister now in-store for $45, hold your spot and save $5 off the at the door fee of $50. Click here to see complete details and check us out on Facebook.
It’s going to be Epic!!!
Greetings and salutations, party people! We have so much to cover, so let’s get down to it.
Magic players: We have been listening to your feedback, and we have implemented some changes that we think you will really like. We now have a much more fixed calendar of events, so that you’ll consistently know what to expect from us and plan accordingly. Monday will be Modern, Tuesday will be casual/StarCity Game Night, Thursday will be Standard, Friday Night Magic will be Modern and Booster Draft, Sunday will be Standard, and Saturdays will be for special events like IQs, PPTQs, Game Days, etc(there are some leftover special events that will be on Sundays for now, but going forward we’re shooting for Saturdays). The full details are on our website calendar and the in-store calendars, so please take a gander at them.
While we’re on the subject of Magic, we are also now taking preorders on Conspiracy: Take the Crown, Kaladesh, and From the Vault: Lore (see sidebar on the right), AND we have some very big tournament announcements to share:
Saturday, November 26th we will be having a Modern tournament for Shock Land and Fetch Land playsets, and Saturday, December 17th we will be having a Standard tournament for promo hotness, which will include the SDCC Exclusive 2016 Planeswalker Set! Full details will be posted soon, so keep an eye on this spot.
Our Board Game Nights have been a real crowd pleaser, so if you haven’t checked one out yet, take a Tuesday night and spend it with us and some quality cardboard! Earn points by playing featured games, enter our raffle, and get big discounts on all sorts of items. In August we’re highlighting: King of Tokyo, King of New York, Boss Monster, Legendary, Munchkin, Merchants & Marauders, Pirate’s Den, Via Nebula, Dastardly Dirigibles, Dead of Winter, and The Grizzled! Whew!
Jared, because he is hopelessly addicted to board games, is still choosing a favorite each month to demo to you all. If you are lucky enough to catch him in his natural habitat and he is not running around like a maniac, he will show you the amazing customizable deckbuilding game Mystic Vale. And you will love it as he does.
And lastly, because our robot overlords demanded it, we have expanded our social media empire to now include the Instagrams (theportalcng) and the Snapchats (ThePortalCnG). So you can find us here, there, and on the Facebooks (@theportalcomics) and Tweeters (@ThePortalComics) too! AND our store is a Pokemon Go gym!
Have a fun and safe Summer, campers. May your mini golf scores be low, may your soft serve be piled high, and may your air conditioning never fail you.
It’s almost here! Board Game Night begins Tuesday, June 28th @ 6pm. Our first night of games will include 7 Wonders and Baba Yaga. Don’t know how to play, no problem, you only need bring yourself.
Challenge other players for the honorary title of the Wizard of Board Games!
Our first Board Game Night raffle will be Twilight Imperium – tickets go on sale at our first event.
Do not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. After all, there’s so much to get all jazzed about this month, you’ll forget all about that silly existential stuff.
In the wacky world of Magic the Gathering, the amazing reprint set known as Eternal Masters hits on the 10th, and for a very limited time we will have booster packs for sale as well as a small selection of singles. On the 12th and 26th we will be having a few booster drafts with this incredible set as well. For all the spoilery goodness, click here.
In the even wackier world of roleplaying games, June 18th will be the 10th anniversary of Free RPG Day! Come on down and get your adventurer’s mitts +2 vs. wallet drain on some free intro modules and other goodies, and while you’re here learn to play something new and take advantage of our sales!
There’s also the first month of Civil War Heroclix on the 16th, a Star Wars X-Wing tournament on the 30th, a demo for the new miniature game Guild Ball on the 25th, and more! Check out our calendar for full details.
We’re also proud to announce that board games are about to get even more love from the newly expanded crew at The Portal! As always, Jared will continue to pick new favorites every month, and if you get a demo of one of them from him you’ll get 20% off your very own copy. For June it’s:
World’s Fair 1893
It’s thematic, it’s educational, and it’s fun! With great mechanics and a ton of replayability, this is going to be a serious contender for top games of the year! Click for more info
This lovely little city-building game is all about drafting buildings and other features, and then strategically placing them to score the most points. Plus, it has acrylic meeples! Click for more info
It’s all-out war between pantheons of ancient gods! You summon them to the board and set them loose on your opponent, and all the stats are kept track of using a very cool ringchip system! And the minis look fantastic, too. Click for more info
In addition, beginning at the end of this month we will have a special Board Game Night on Tuesdays, where our new recruits will be running demos, holding raffles, and more!
All this is leading up to our Summer of Tabletop event on July 9th, which will feature demos, contests, sales, podcasts, and all sorts of gaming madness!
So enjoy that air conditioning, grab a frosty beverage, and spend Summer the right way: Indoors, away from the deadly day-moon, with a comic book in hand and a game set up on the table.
If you are a lover of comic books, or are even merely curious about them, this is going to be a very special week for you. First of all, this Wednesday, May 4th, The Portal is proud to announce our very first comics author appearance and signing! Local artist and creator of the webcomic Snarlbear, Natalie Riess, will be with us from our opening at 11am, signing copies of her new Oni Press book, SPACE BATTLE LUNCHTIME! This 8-issue miniseries is all about an intergalactic cooking competition that Peony, a baker from Earth, finds herself taking part in, and it’s awesome! So stop on by, grab a copy of your very own and get it signed. Natalie will also be doing sketches in-store as well- how cool is that?
Then this Saturday, from 9am to 9pm, it’s Free Comic Book Day, where you can pick up a few neat promo comic books and take advantage of our huge 25% OFF SALE! All of our back issues, trade paperbacks, and graphic novels will be discounted, so don’t miss it!
It truly is the best time to be a comic book fan. Need some suggestions? The next time you’re in the shop just ask Jared or Lexx, and they will regale you endlessly with entirely-too-enthusiastic reviews of titles like Saga, The Wicked + The Divine, Letter 44, Clean Room, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, and Hellboy. You won’t be sorry.
Greetings, one and all! The best two Saturdays of our year are almost upon us, and I have the honor of unloading all of the juicy details for you. Let’s get to it:
INTERNATIONAL TABLETOP DAY 2016/SATURDAY, APRIL 30TH
For those of you who are not familiar with the awesomeness that is TTD, it is simply a day to get together and enjoy some tabletop games with the community, which is what we are all about. From 9AM to 9PM we will have the doors to our demo copy cabinets open, so that all may partake of the cardboard and plastic meeplery contained within. Borrow any of our OVER 600 GAMES and give them a try with others who are hanging out in the shop. Then play another. And another. It’s just that simple. Well, there’s a bit more to it. Like…
SALES! All of our games (accessories/singles/hobby supplies excluded) will be 20% OFF!(cannot be combined with other discounts-register takes highest) In addition, we will have select games on special sale at an even higher discount!
REFRESHMENTS! We will have an assortment of food and beverage snacky treats on hand, because we know better than most that slaying dragons, annihilating opposing armies, bluffing out your friends, and placing workers is serious business which requires a steady influx of fuel.
THEMED DEMO SESSIONS! I’ve just returned from PAX East, and I scoured the aisles for the most amazing new games from indie creators and developers, and I will be showing you how to play my favorites, as well as offering them for sale!
9AM-11AM: PIRATE DEN (3-5 players) A fast-paced bluffing game about grabbing as much loot as possible and then burying it so that your rivals can’t do the same to you. For more info, click here.
11:30AM-1:30PM: ALCHEMY! (2-5 players) It’s a test of magical mixing, as you race to make the best potions, both to show off for points and to drink for funsies. For more info, click here.
2PM-4PM: GRUFF (2-4 players) A tactical card game about battles between mutated monster goats! For more info, click here.
4:30PM-6:30PM: HIGH HEAVENS (2-4 players) A strategic miniature combat game with great looking figures and brilliant mechanics where one pantheon of ancient gods battles against another for cosmic supremacy! For more info, click here.
7PM-9PM: EVIL GENIUS DEATHRAY (2-6 players) In this card game play as an evil genius bent on world domination and build your own deathray while sabotaging others! For more info, click here.
SPECIAL GUESTS! Local game designer Anthony Rando from Devious Devices will be stopping by to beta test the prototype of their latest creation, and you are all invited to weigh in on:
That’s right, the officially licensed tabletop game of the cult-hit franchise, this is a cooperative, scenario-based game for 1 to 4 players, ages 15 and up. Players assume the roles of brave citizens of a coastal city, working together to battle hordes of man-eating sharks as they attempt to thwart the ultimate weather phenomenon! *Chainsaw sold separately.*
FREE COMIC BOOK DAY 2016
Just as the name implies, for FCBD you stop into the shop between 9AM and 9PM, and we let you pick out up to 5 free comics that you get to take home and enjoy and share with all the people in your life who are desperately in need of cool things. We will also have lots of other neat promos available, and our entire stock of comics will be 25% OFF! (Cannot be combined with other discounts- register takes highest) And speaking of 25% discounts, you can get that year-round by signing up for our pull list service, nudge nudge wink wink. For a full list of the available titles, click here.
There you have it. We’ll see you crazy kids soon! Do us a solid and help spread the word, won’t you?
Hello once again, my geeks, nerds, dorks, and assorted hobbyists and ne’er-do-wells! I have SO much to share with you. So, without further ado, may I present:
NEW AND EXCITING STUFF AND THINGS FOR MARCH AND BEYOND!
#1. BOARD GAMING WITH THE COLONY MEADERY
It’s our first gaming and beverage collaboration! Every Sunday at 1pm join Jared as he teaches folks to play some of his favorite board games, all while trying extra hard not to imbibe too much. Speaking of, this event is open to everyone, but of course you must be 21 years or older to enjoy the many yummy flavors of mead available on tap or in bottles to go. Big thanks to Dave and all of the amazing guys and gals at The Colony Meadery and The Moravian Book Shop for helping make this a thing!
#2. FINE ART NOW FEATURED IN THE SHOP
It’s also our first time featuring customer art in the store! Starting off with our good friend Tyrone Webb and his amazing Sci-Fi landscape paintings, we will be featuring local artists in our game room. It’s a win-win: We get a game room that looks awesome, and you have an opportunity to get up close and personal with the Lehigh Valley’s creative community. All pieces are available for sale, BTW, so by all means slap down some cash. And if you’re a local artist who’d like some exposure, particularly if you work in fantasy/sci-fi/comics, contact us and we’ll hook you up with some wall space!
#3. MAGIC. SO MUCH MAGIC
Where to begin? Magic players, there has never been a better time to play at The Portal. Why? Well, let’s see…
-We have added regular Commander and Pauper events to the schedule!
-We will be having FOUR Prerelease events for Shadows over Innistrad (And we’re now taking preorders on boxes and fat packs, as well as preregistration for these events, so get on that)!
-We will be having special Sunday tournaments all month long with EXPEDITION LANDS as prizes (See the events calendar for more info)!
-We continue to offer some of the best trade-in prices in the area, and we’re once again buying collections for cash, so we’re well-stocked in singles!
-Now through the end of May we are having our first ever STORE CHAMPIONSHIP, and here’s how it works:
Beginning this Sunday, March 6th, through May 31st, every single Magic the Gathering event you play in at the shop will give you Championship points. The top 4 players with the best overall points totals at the end of that period will win some ridiculous prizes! We’ll start with the points. You get:
+1 point for every event you play in
+2 points for every event you win (or get 1st place in by tie breakers)
+1 point for every event you get 2nd-4th place in (by tie breakers if necessary)
that total multiplied by x2 during Prereleases, Grand Prix Trials, and Game Days
that total multiplied by x3 during Star City Invitational Qualifiers
And now the prizes (Are you sitting down?):
1st place overall will get a SAN DIEGO COMIC CON 2015 BLACK PLANESWALKER SET (complete in original box) AND a booster box of ETERNAL MASTERS!
2nd place overall will get a sealed DUEL DECKS ANTHOLOGY AND a booster box of ETERNAL MASTERS!
3rd and 4th place overall will get a booster box of ETERNAL MASTERS!
The Eternal Masters will be available for pickup on June 10th. Prizes are non-transferable. In the event of ties, we will set up special events to determine the winner. These events will most likely be a silly format, because Jared enjoys torturing you.
#4. THE FUTURE
Things start to really get sick next month, with the addition of STAR WARS NIGHT and LIVING CARD GAME NIGHT, as well as the upcoming INTERNATIONAL TABLETOP DAY 2016 and FREE COMIC BOOK DAY! We will also be making appearances at the next MEPACon and some local comic book and gaming conventions. Whew!
So there you go. We’re back and at full freaking power. The events calendar has returned, so please take a moment to check it out. More and more people are signing up for our comic book pull list (The best in the area at a monstrous 25% off, in our humble and not-at-all-biased opinion), so if you’re a fan please check that out as well. And we’ll see you all in roughly thirty days.