I have a confession. I’ve secretly judged someone for doing something geeky. It was a long time ago, at least 15 years, when I was in middle school. There were a bunch of boys playing some card game, and as I walked over to see what they were doing, they brushed me off. Girls have geek problems too, ya know.
Fast forward to about 2 years ago, my fiancé and I were looking into finding a hobby for us to enjoy together. When we shared this with family, someone jokingly brought up my guy’s obsession with this card game… and I knew exactly what it was: Magic The Gathering (MTG).
It was decided, and being the fantastic significant other that I am, I plunged myself whole heartedly into this world. And before you start shaking your head and pretending not to be interested, you should learn a little bit more about it.
Here’s the breakdown:
There’s a world championship where the winner walks away with 35K. You listening yet? Pros can get paid $1,500 just to show up to an event. And these are not the stats from 15 years ago. This is happening today.
This is like chess with cards. No, seriously. In chess, you have a set board and set pieces. In Magic, you get to choose your pieces. To put it simply, there are a number of different cards to choose from, and each of those cards performs a different task, just like in chess a bishop only moves on the diagonal, in Magic certain cards only perform certain functions.
I was terrified when I first started. There were so many cards! But, what each card can do, each task a card can perform is written on the card.
On top of that, the illustrations are first class amazing. Have you guys ever heard of Tony DiTerlizzi? Maybe not, but surely you’ve heard of his Spiderwick Chronicles or the Wondla Series? Or perhaps you’ve heard of John Avon, who has done covers for Stephen King, Harry Harrison, Terry Pratchett, John Brunner, and Cordwainer Smith. These are some of the brilliant illustrators that work to bring a visual world to this game.
Of course, MTG is available online, but I have the most fun when I play in person. I happen to live close enough to take my car to one of the largest retail locations in the Southeast (US). There are always people there to play, and it reminds me what it’s like to really belong. The people who come to play are nice, ready for competition, and from all social circles. What makes this game so special is how universal it seems to be. I can come in without any cards, and I can usually find someone who’ll let me borrow a deck just to join in the games. I’ve seen casual players and professional players alike. Some sit back and chat and others are staring their opponent down trying to predict their next move like a fantasy version of Bobby Fischer. There’s something about being in a room of people who just come to hang out and test their wit. And no, you don’t have to be super smart, you just have to be willing to play.
More info on game play to come.