Those who know me well will be familiar with my near-obsession with a little trading card game called Magic: The Gathering. I don't think they necessarily understand it, however. It probably takes a Magic player to really get another Magic player, but I am going to attempt to explain my journey into Magic and the cornerstone it has been in my life.
During high school, I dabbled a little with the game, getting some free cards and the like at an early incarnation of ICON, the original gaming convention. I remember looking through boxes of cards and playing in an event where some boy decided that I was perhaps easy game as my wide-eyed wonder must have been very apparent. He offered me a stack of cards to start my collection if I could beat him. I beat him and he generously gave me the cards, which I took home and put in a shoebox.
I think I gave them away a few years later, not really aware of the potential value these cards may have had later on. The story of many regretful players, I am sure.
I didn't give Magic much thought for a long time. The bustling community of players was simply outside of my world of experience, even when I played and collected Pokemon for a time.
And then, in 2014, I was introduced to a venue for geeks, DeeTwenty. There were supposed to be more players for a boardgame session, but I grew bored and someone offered to teach me the basics of Magic. I found out that it was a regular thing for players to meet and compete every Friday night and decided to start playing, as I was looking for a means to meet more likeminded people.
Little did I realize then just how much Magic would influence my life. As my card collection grew, so did my social circle and skills in the game. I started attending more serious events, in spite of feeling out of my depth, and began to take the game a little more seriously.
I even taught my boyfriend to play and now it is a hobby we happily share and get excited over, especially when new cards come out that we want.
These days, I am a more casual player, passionate about introducing new players to the game. I play at least twice a week and love the banter and camaraderie the community offers. I feel a bit lost if I do not get my weekly fix.
What can you gain from playing Magic?
- A sense of community - I have made so many friends through the game that I have lost count.
- Feeling of accomplishment - Magic is a gradual process. You will not suddenly become a good player after a few games. It takes a while to learn the dynamics and nuances involved in playing.
- Confidence - At your local store, you will meet so many people from all sorts of walks of life and you will learn how to communicate and interact with these people.
- Analytical skills - Magic has taught me to think a few steps ahead and plan for possible outcomes. You can never control what your opponent will do but you can certainly plan for it! Your computational maths skills will also improve.
- Improved memory - Magic is complex and has literally thousands of different cards which many rules and interactions associated with them. Learning these and remembering them at a critical point in the game could mean the difference between a win or a loss.
If you want to learn more about Magic, pop into your local store where they will give you an intro pack and a quick lesson on how the game works. There are also many educational YouTube videos for new players looking to improve their knowledge and skill.