Recently, our family went on a multi-day camping trip. Because I knew we’d be disconnecting for the time away from home, I wanted to make sure we had enough in the way of group entertainment. We probably over-packed in terms of board and card games, to be honest.
In fact, even after we had enough, my daughter and I went down to the local game store to scout around for a nice low-budget option that wasn’t UNO or Apples to Apples or Munchkin (not knocking any of those, mind you). It was there that I spotted — of course — the huge displays of Magic the Gathering, and my nostalgia kicked in hard.
Magic and I have had a very on-again, off-again relationship that’s bridged from its early days in 1994 until now. There were all of the matches in college, the long (and expensive) stint with Magic Online, the streamlined game versions, and my attempts to teach my wife the ins and outs of the game. But when you don’t have people to play with regularly, there’s little reason to be collecting and building up decks. And, frankly, my wallet thanks me.
But the cool thing was that the store owner literally threw free cards our way. I had forgotten that Wizards of the Coast creates these free starter decks to give out, much like a drug dealer offers a hit of the good stuff before charging. So we rode out to camp with four free decks (and two more that I bought because I felt bad going into the store, grabbing free stuff, and then just leaving).
The nice thing about not being that collection-competitive about Magic is that simple decks and affordable purchases are very doable, as long as everyone playing is on board. And I do like the strategy, the imagination-sparking artwork, and the freedom to build decks.
Will it catch on in our household? Only time will tell. The kids loved to collect and play Pokemon, but I don’t think they ever did it according to any official rules. That won’t really fly in Magic’s neck of the woods.
But in any case, it’s nice to revisit an old friend and see that it’s just as fun and playable as it ever was.