M is for Magic the Gathering

I started back in high school (1994), and for the past 17 years I’ve played it. Sometimes I’ve played competitively and other times just for fun. I’ve taken long breaks between playing.

The game itself can be extremely expensive, both in money and time; Time to organize, prepare, compete, and analyze; Money for individual cards, for entry fees, and travel expenses. The game itself has experienced ebbs and flows in popularity, and strives to maintain and grow the number of participants.

I am thankful for my time playing Magic as it is a complicated game, with a relatively small set of basic rules, modified by exceptions (i.e. This particular card or card combination can do something that “breaks” the core rules). The permutations and variations created a rich environment to explore; I spent quite a bit of time analyzing the game, researching other peoples games, and statistically analyzing and tweaking my decks. I learned to recognize powerful cards, combinations, and interactions. I also learned to analyze the metagame; Was I likely to encounter Rock, Paper or Scissors in a competition and which one should I bring.

Now, I look at the game, and abhor the amount of organization and sorting that is required. I simply don’t have time to devote to the management aspect of this game. I’ve also come to understand that with Magic, if I’m going to play, I have to play competitively. And that too takes time.

But sometimes I really miss the game. I was pretty good at it, having regularly played at Fantasy Games in South Bend. But the cards are retired and my time and energy are instead focused on family and less monetarily consuming games.