Welcome to the new Game Night Blog Carnival! This is a new feature that I’ll be doing once a month along with a few other RPG blogs. You can get more info about it at the main Game Night site.
I played my first game of Magic: the Gathering sometime in 1994 when Fallen Empires was the most recent expansion. The older brother of one of my friends had started playing, and he convinced us to give it a try. The first few games were a lot of fun even if we didn’t quite get the rules right, and soon enough I was spending my allowance on packs of cards at a local sports memorabilia store. Since then I’ve taken a few breaks from playing over the years, but I’ve kept my collection of cards and always gotten back into the game after a while.
For those who don’t know, Magic is a collectible card game in which the players assume the role of dueling wizards. Players build decks of about 60 cards and normally play one-on-one matches that take about 30 minutes each depending on how quickly players take their turns. There are also other game formats that can be played including multi-player games and different deck sizes. For example, I’ve recently been playing mini-master games against my wife where we use 15 land cards and a single booster as our deck (as much as I hate to admit it, she’s been winning most of the games).
Magic makes a good pick-up game for when a normal rpg session gets canceled. It’s easy to pack a deck along with your other rpg supplies, and a game doesn’t require any prep other than building a deck in advance. If players aren’t interested in collecting cards, then either a random deck game like mini-master or borrowing another player’s deck can work. Because you’ll probably have more than two people when an rpg session falls through, it would be a good opportunity to play a multi-player variant like two-headed giant where teams share their life pool rather than each player having his or her own life.
If you’re interested in starting to play Magic, then I’d recommend picking up one of the starter packs for the recently released New Phyrexia set or waiting a couple months for the release of Magic 2012. These starter packs contain a pre-built deck to get you started and a random booster. You can download the rules of the game from the Wizards of the Coast site (basic rulebook), and they also have an online database of every card for the game (Gatherer). That’s enough to play a few games, and then you can build your collection from there by buying either boosters or more of the starter decks.
Previous blog in carnival: Undergopher Central (Conquest of Planet Earth)
Next blog in carnival: Roving Band of Misfits (Scotland Yard)