Whittier College allows many clubs and activities to transpire — each with their very own missions and personal inspirations. The Trading Card Game Club is a rising club that seeks to share the true dynamics and rekindle the nostalgia of trading card games.
The club came to Whittier College only this year; however, the club’s foundation was started last year. At the end of last year, fourth-year Charlie Newman and third-year Aubrey Baran were playing a duel of YU-GI-OH! when they had the idea of making a club on campus solely for trading cards. As co-founders, they set a table during the activities fair and used classic Pokémon and YU-GI-OH! cards as business cards to catch students’ attention and bring in members.
“The mission of the club is to rekindle that spark that people had playing that game they loved so much when they were younger and bringing that same kind of feeling back in college. There’s no reason not to. It’s not a game that’s only for kids. It’s for all ages,” said Club President Newman. Trading Card Game Club allows students to step back into those nostalgic games that some have grown up with. The club provides students a space to pull out their old decks from home as well as a group of people to play with. They offer games such as Pokémon, YU-GI-OH!, Magic: the Gathering, and Cardfight Vanguard.
The misconception of the club on campus is that it is being compared to Anime Club and Super Smash Brother Clubs, two distinct clubs that shared similar ideas. Members of these clubs have moved toward the Trading Card Game Club, and the club is always looking for new people and experiences. “It has a lot more room for people to join,” said Newman, “At the end of the day you’re really interacting more. You’re talking to people, playing a game with each other that involves more communication.”
The club environment is a small, lighthearted group of students enjoying classic games. There were 12 core members from the start. However, they also bring their own friends from around campus: anywhere from sports to societies. The club does not exclude the family members of the core club members. Vice President Aubrey Baran at times brings her brother to the club. They have an open door policy to allow all student body to come step in.
Students who do not know how to play, or are not comfortable with playing, are not excluded from the club, either. Baran mentions how there have been members who come to watch them play and even some who come to learn. It is an open outlet for people to experience new things and hang out. The club provides starting loaner decks for new players, and one of the benefits that turn-by-turn games provides is that it is easier to teach newcomers how to play.
“It opens the door for people to experience something new . . . for people who want something kind of fun, kind of quirky to do, because it can just be a game you play or something that impacts you and what you do, what you think about, and what you are passionate about,” said Baran. “As we’ve grown, those 12 core members so far that we’ve talked about, I wouldn’t know probably ninety percent of them [otherwise], and now they are some of my closest friends.” The similar interests and new ideas that club members provide always keep things interesting and fun in the club. The dynamic they have brings an ever-changing diversity as well. “It’s kind of like a little melting pot of personalities [with] different clubs and majors and different walks of life,” said Baran.
Newman describes the club as a great place to de-stress. It targets different students who maybe did not find a club they could belong to. “It’s a really casual setting. Everyone is just playing to have a good time and because of that, if one person screws up in the game — or does something unpredictable — we all laugh it off and have a good time . . . There’s never a meeting that goes by that people aren’t literally busting out laughing.”
Before Spring break, the club managed to carpool and organize their members in a trip to Little Tokyo, Los Angeles (LA). During their trip, they visited card shops, got lunch, and walked around LA. “We have a lot of first-years in our club, which is something that I like because I think they all found their niche a little bit,” said Baran. “They were able to jump into a club and meet people through the club or meet people in their hall that were in the club.” Many of the first-years had never been to LA, which is something that the club’s Vice President liked seeing: opening up opportunities to new people and bringing friendships in their little community.
The co-founders hope that in the future the club will expand its membership and awareness throughout the College. They hope that they will be able to spread a wider knowledge of card games and create an environment where college students can be free to drop their worries and jump into their nostalgia. They also hope to host larger tournaments on campus. Since current club President Newman will be graduating, the club presidency will go to Aubrey Baran. She is confident that with the steady membership they currently have they will be able to pass down their ideals and club constitutions to keep the club going and bring new students — maybe even more women members. Ultimately, she would like the club to reach out to students and bring them out of their comfort zone to do something they long thought they could not do anymore or to learn something new.
As for Newman, he hopes that the club will be to able have two players of every card game to spread out the dynamics of the club’s options. He and Baran each decided to teach themselves how to play different games back when the club started so they could pass the knowledge to current members. This is important to them because it would continue to keep the welcoming environment the club has. “I’d really like to see the club evolve to the point where there is never a person being left out; there’s always games being played for all the card games,” said Newman.
Trading Card Game Club is proud of the diversity in their members and their experiences, as they both share interests and bring new fascinations to the room. They meet Monday, in Ball Basement at 6 p.m. to play games and catch up within their club community. They welcome all students to come, let loose, and enjoy themselves.