For my first post I’m going to talk about what is possibly my favourite hobby, Magic: The Gathering.
Well, why should you care about Magic: The Gathering. It’s just a lame cards game for kids and guys who live with their parents for way too long, right? WRONG
For anyone who doesn’t know, Magic: The Gathering is a trading card game, played all over the world, with regular competions and is popular enought that if you are really, really good, going professional is an option.
This isn’t me. I’m just a guy, who very much enjoys spending an evening with friends playing cards, usually at a pub. The friends I have now are almost all from playing Magic, and the group of people in my area who play are very much a community. We have a facebook group to chat and organise events. We meet on fridays for Friday Night Magic (I’ll explain this in another post). Most importantly, people who play Magic, at least from what I’ve found, care about the group. If someone has a problem, we will try and fix it. If someone doesn’t own the cards to join in, you can be 99% sure someone will lend them something. As a group, we want people to join in. It is far and away the best social experience I have found. It gets people talking. As someone at an event, you know you will always have at least one thing in common with the people there.
Something else I that I find amazing, is the variety of people that are brought together by playing a card game. The age range of our group is from about 17 to around 50. Most people are around 20, as it is a uni town the group was set up by students in the first place, but there is no awkwardness, whether you are a student, a secondary school teacher (who sometimes brings work he needs to mark to get it done between games), a bouncer or someone who sells batterys. When we meet up everyone is a Magic player and that evens it out.
What I cannot emphasise enough though, is how much playing with people you like being around matters. I’ve been lucky with the people here, and when eventually I have to leave, finding a new group who are as welcoming as they are is a little daunting.
So, if you are reading this and you are curious to find out more, to find out if it is something you would be interested in, there are a couple of ways.
1. The best way to find out is to find a group near you and either contact them somehow, or just turn up at an event. This http://locator.wizards.com/ is a link to a page where you can find events near you. Don’t worry about intruding, variety is key with Magic, people want other people there, with different ideas and different ways of playing, to keep things new and interesting. If you are like me and don’t really enjoy asking people you don’t know about anything, standing awkwardly for a while will probably lead to someone coming over, asking about you and getting you involved. If you say you don’t know how to play, someone will teach you. If you say you want to get into Magic, someone will suggest how.
2. If you don’t fancy just turning up somwhere and asking, without knowing how to play then Duels of the Planewalkers is a good start. It’s a game on Steam, on Xbox, on PS3 and on tablets. It’s a good starting point and will teach a new player the rules, but isn’t nearly as fun as sitting round a table with friends, face to face, where you can talk. While it is true that something is lost in translation, it is still a really good introduction.
I know I haven’t really talked about how the game is actually played and I will get to that in another post, but for now all you need to know is it’s great fun, the players are welcoming, it’s great fun, it’s different from anything else you might get up to in the week and it’s a really good way to meet new people. Whoever you are, you should give it a try. The worst that can happen is that you find don’t like it and you have spent an evening trying something new. Go try it, you may find it really is your thing. Also, did I mention how much fun it is?