Monday, June 17, 2013

Lost in the Shuffle

The unspeakable has happened, my friends...

I'm interested in Magic: the Gathering once again. May Cthulhu quickly consume my soul.

It all began with one of my infamously crazy trains of thought:

1) I've been reading a lot of AD&D 2nd Edition, Alternity, and Vampire: the Masquerade books.
2) All those games are from the '90s.
3) I should read some of my old gaming magazines from the '90s.
4) Wizards of the Coast published Duelist magazine in the '90s.
5) I was into Magic in the '90s.
6) I should really organize my old cards that are taking up space at my parent's place.

So I went over to my old bedroom, dug up my boxes and binders of cards, and begin the arduous task of sorting them all:
9-year old Carmin isn't that much different from 27-year old Carmin except that I now roll more dice.
This is the danger I ran into when I started looking through my old Vampire: the Eternal Struggle cards, but unlike that phase, this time I actually have opponents. A couple of my friends work in a liquor distribution warehouse, where some of the employees have been playing Magic during their breaks. This has spilled into our gaming group, and it was this perfect storm that had me looking at my cards as more than just something I can sort in order to further my proficient procrastination.

Now you may object to this statement if you're standing in front of my gaming bookshelves, but I'm not an obsessive person. I don't wring interests dry through excessive overplaying, and this is probably what's allowed me to come back to Magic, periodically, over the 18-years since I first bought a starter pack. I don't expect this will take over my gaming time completely, though. I'll still be working on my new High Elf army, I'll still be running my weekly Pathfinder game, but now I can add something else to the mix.

I've always been a fan of card games, but when I discovered D&D and Warhammer, I quickly grew tired of having to "keep up with the Joneses" through the mass-purchase of randomly packaged bundles of cards. I also never bought into the secondary market of CCGs, which is the compulsive appraisal and flipping of cards like some two-bit realtor with mouths to feed. I always appreciated my cards as gaming pieces, and never as something I'm collecting so that one day, when I'm down-and-out, I can hawk them all and climb out of the gutter. I guess what I'm getting at is that I'd rather play the game with a beer in my hand and a 20-sided life counter than with a cigar in my mouth and a money counter. This is also the reason why I took to Fantasy Flight's Living Card Games (LCGs) so strongly (I never miss a pack of Netrunner or the Lord of the Rings).

I've long expressed, openly, the opinion that Magic is one of the best-designed games out there, and there is a good reason that both Richard Garfield and Magic are in the Origins Hall of Fame.

Anyway, this is all a very long-winded way of me saying that I'm enjoying going through my old cards and I look forward to the next chance I get to play Magic with some of my friends. I'll pepper this blog occasionally with my usual wit and candor regarding this game, though luckily for those of you who are uninterested, I make judicious use of Blogger's labels so that you don't have to read this stuff if you don't want to.

Coming up soon is a rapid-fire review of a couple items I picked up from Free RPG Day, and if you're lucky, some Dark Age tournament stuff. 59 days 'till Gencon, gang!