Tag Archives: Trading Cards

Magic: The Gathering: The Return

MagicFor me, Magic: The Gathering is a little like an old friend that never matured. I get older and the details of my life change, but Magic stays more or less the same.

It seems a little wild when I realize that I’ve been playing the game on and off for about 20 years now. My dad picked up the cards on a lark back in the dark days of the 90s. It was a short while after my parents’ divorce started, and I think he was looking for us to have something in common.  

I didn’t play Magic regularly until I was a little older, but as soon as I made friends in junior high that played, that was it. If it’s true that it takes 10,000 hours to become good at something, I probably earned a Ph. D between high school and college. 

Sometimes I wouldn’t play for a few months or a year. After I finished undergrad, I pretty much stopped altogether.  Aside from the occasional booster draft at GenCon, it’s been at least six years since I’ve played regularly. A part of me never thought I would again. 

And then an actual friend came along and dared me to buy a booster box of cards. Or maybe I dared him. Who knows? But we ended up with three booster boxes (108 booster packs) between the two of us. 

And now I have so many questions. How do plainswalkers work? And why do people keep telling me the next core set is the last core set? What are these weird symbols in the text boxes of some of the cards? Did they change stack rules for instants and abilities? 

Other things have changed too. I’ve never played this game while having a full-time job and disposable income. It’s now possible for me to spend a shocking amount of cash on cards if I’m so inclined. At the same time, I’ve never had less people to play this game with. Three weeks later, even the friend that I bought the cards with has yet to build a deck. 

So this could turn out like the other games I buy annually at GenCon. Things like The Adventure Time card game come home with me and sit on a shelf collecting dust. I certainly don’t enjoy playing with strangers or squaring off against 8-year-olds all that much.

Maybe it’s an opportunity to make new friends. I guess time will tell. 

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We Live For The Con, We Die For The Con: GenCon Day 2

After yesterday’s complications, I woke up ready to engage GenCon like a man takes to water after any day in Phoenix. My job keeps me very, very busy, and it’s hard to get out and play any kind of game. So we got up oh so early to join the masses in all the games.

At least I thought we were early. As it turns out, when you’re in any city leaving less than 2 hours early for anything is asking to be late. We pulled it together and got my pass and like that (BOOM!) we were playing Settlers of Catan. Even though I’ve played the game a bunch–TJ owns the game–so I don’t really need to buy a $2 ticket to play it, I had a lot of fun.

Part of being at THE CON is meeting people and playing games you both enjoy. There’s room for new goodies, but just settling in with some strangers and SCHOOLING THEM in iron age resource management is fantastic. Incidentally, I did win with a friend’s favored strategy – longest road!

We then made the rounds of the vendor area. I have to say that I love the vendors because they always have soooooo much cool crap. Star Trek was really pulling down the cross merchandizing. We saw a featured card game, board game, and a minis game. Actually, Nichelle Nichols and hil Wheaton were there signing autographs. No doubt Nichols was there for Star Trek, but Wheaton has a prominent gaming channel on Geek & Sundry and has become a kind of icon in the geek community.

We came out with some swag. Chief among the goodies for me was a new edition of the Game Of Thrones board game. The game, based on the series of novels by George R.R. Martin, is one of the best tabletop games I’ve played in years. I actually owned the first edition, but various expansions and changes were made to fix balancing issues and better replicate the intrigue and strategy found in the novels.

We also walked out with some World Of Warcraft trading cards, some RPG books, and some miscellaneous swag. Tomorrow, time allowing, we’ll be able to jump into some of our favorite goodies.

We did, however, take a couple hours to try the Battle of Westeros board game. This was an enjoyable, co-op field strategy game. The kit comes with different forces and scenarios based on battles from the history of the setting of George R.R. Martin’s most treasured novels. We fielded our troops (House Lannister) and set out to make the “false king” (Stannis Baratheon) pay. As it turns out, charging my own general directly into battle proved a critical folly, costing my team the game.

Oops.

After that we found word that there was a speed dating event happening at a local bar attached to the convention, so I decided to sign up. I thought it would be a good way to meet some folks to play games and, heaven forbid, maybe engage in some romance. Unfortunately I accidentally purchased a ticket gendered for ladies. Unless I wanted to interview all the guys, which could have actually been interesting in its own right, I was gonna have to sit out.

So instead we made our way to Ruth’s Chris Steak House and had what was, hands down, the best steak I’ve eaten ever. It was amazing. The sweet potato casserole was also amazing.

While setbacks were minimized today, I’m realizing that going to a convention is a lot of work. More often than not my instincts about when and how to deal with mundane issues like parking or purchasing are wrong. Still, I give the day a 7/10 and tomorrow should be stellar.

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