Monday, May 20, 2013

Thoughts On... Magic: The Gathering

If you've been reading my blog for any significant length of time, you should know that I am very much a fan of magic and sorcery based entertainment. In a previous post, I delved deeply into why it appeals to me so I won't go into that again. Last week, I was directly exposed to a new avenue of said entertainment, namely the trading card game known as Magic: The Gathering.

Now when I say I was directly exposed, what I mean is the following. I had known of the existence of MTG for a long time, but I never really interacted with it. I didn't look into the cards, or the rules or anything else. But last week, as part of a team building exercise, my boss got my team together, taught us the basics of the game and ran us through a duel. My team won!! I was surprised by how quickly one could get the game going with people who knew relatively NOTHING of the game itself and by how much fun I was having!

Later on, I started doing research and learning more about the game, the specialty cards (like Planeswalker cards), the in-game story-lines, and the culture itself. I found that a great deal of my role-playing experience (with games like Dungeons & Dragons, ShadowRun, and Vampire: The Masquerade) translated to MTG. For example, despite not knowing anything about building a deck, I knew instinctively to organize the creature cards by color and mana cost (the price needed to "pay" to actually play the card in the game) before anything else. Not to downplay the complexities of MTG, but it felt to me like a faster version of a D&D game.

In most D&D games, there is a long and kind of arduous process where each player decides what kind of character they want and builds a character sheet with all the stats, equipment, and other things their character needs to work in the game. It's only AFTER that process that the game can truly begin. But with MTG, the character already exists: You. The spells, gear and other items are what cards you have in your deck, so all you have to do is grab your deck and play the game! No other extraneous things are necessary!

Another bonus to Magic: The Gathering is the actual subculture itself. Now, I am a hermit by nature so I tend to not meet new people (especially women). Since this past Thursday, I've met 5 new people and that includes two exceedingly beautiful women. One who just randomly came up to me while I was with my sister (who is now ecstatic that I'm into MTG) at McDonald's looking at a binder of her cards. We had a nice conversation about a couple of tournaments she personally attended.

The second was a gorgeous (and possibly single, but most likely engaged) woman who works at a game store who kindly spent a little over an hour discussing the different aspects of the game with me and bending over so I could look down her blouse at her ample breathing capacity. (NO, I did not get her number. I was being blocked by a geek more socially inept than I. Yes, I do plan on going BACK to the game store to possibly see her again.)

This how I see myself in MTG only with Red symbols on the cloak!
All in all, after only 5 days of being a neophyte Planeswalker, I've been more social than I've been in the past 5 months! I think this is DEFINITELY a good idea. And with some help from knowledgeable people like my boss, other work colleagues, and Alyssa (the gorgeous store clerk), I can see myself playing Magic: The Gathering for a long time!

What about you, my dear readers? Are you a Planeswalker? Sound off in the comments below!

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