In this light, allow me to present these 5 perfectly compelling reasons why any self respecting geek or gamer should give it a whirl.
1- Interaction and community
Magic does something that very few games actually achieve. By its very nature it sits two people down across a table and has them interact. The way the game functions necessitates talking to each other. What better way to bring people together could there be?Magic appeals to people from all walks of life but those people also tend to share a common frame of mind. Add to that the bond of a shared experience, regular interaction and you have the makings of a really great community.
2- World building
There is enough culture packed into Magic to talk about indefinitely. And people do. Scores of podcasts, websites, and YouTube channels devote themselves to covering the myriad aspects of this diverse and wonderful game. Every card is a piece of art created by often brilliant artists, built upon intricate and fascinating lore. All of this is part of an expertly balanced game which adds to itself constantly, while always remaining fresh and compelling.
However much time or money you have, there is a way to play Magic for you. You can spend every minute and dime you have or you can just while away a few minutes playing across a friend’s kitchen table, where it’s cheaper than a movie and there’s free coffee. And the best bit is that you have something for your money. A lot of the cards actually appreciate in value. It’s an investment!
4- Intellectual stimulation
The game itself taps into every part of one’s intellect. Strategy, people skills, planning… the list goes on.
Think of it as the whimsical love child of chess and poker. There is the opportunity to look into your opponent’s eyes and try to read their next move, or to tinker with the balance of your deck of cards until you’ve crafted a well oiled machine of previously untapped perfection.
The amount of mental exercise Magic provides is truly unending.
As I’ve just hinted; Magic is really two games. There is the deck-building side; creating a new deck out of the available parts, trying to think of something no one yet has and making it your own.
This is the part I enjoy most, growing up as I did on 90s PC games that were all about strategy and tweaking. It’s like solving an endless puzzle where there are no wrong answers and always a new frontier.
Yet it’s also a beautiful mathematical equation with the solution always within reach, challenging itself to be found. But if that’s not really your bag then you can simply play the adversarial side of the game, use a tried and tested deck and pit your wits against all comers.
5- It’s unparalleled
Magic players tend to play many other games besides and most of them will tell you that Magic: The Gathering is simply the best game ever made. Better than chess, better than poker, some strange and wonderful alchemy happened back in ’93 and, for the most part, hasn’t stopped happening since. Both the game and its players are an infinite source of enjoyment for me and my fellow gamers.
What with an MMORPG coming soon and big improvements planned for its R&D in general, there has never been a better time to give Magic a go.
… But then, I tend to say that every year.