ENTERTAINMENT - Now by saying that Magic the Gathering, the collectable card game, sucks, what I am also doing is admitting to previously playing the game.
Truth be told, an ex girlfriend in high school taught me how to play the game. On her bed. That was 13 years ago and I have gone through periods where I played every day and periods where I didn't play for years. Its addictive, but for the wrong reasons.
But enough about that, lets discuss the game itself.
#1. Magic (or MTG) is a game wherein new card sets are always coming out and players can collect the cards, trade them and play with them. The collecting part can be quite addictive, because the cards have fantastic art on them and I can definitely appreciate the artistic elements.
#2. As a card game however Magic has a variety of different formats one can play. Classic, Extented, Standard, Freeform, Broken, Multiplayer, Two-Headed Giant, Three-Headed-Giant, and so forth. This was you can play against a friend, against multiple friends, in teams, etc.
#3. There are 6 basic card types: White, Black, Red, Green, Blue, Artifact and Land. You need land to play the other cards in your hand against your opponent. You can only play 1 land per turn normally. The different colour of cards have different affinities (things that they do well). White tends to be soldiers or birds, black tends to be undead, green tends to be elves or forest creature, blue is sea creatures or birds, artifacts are magical items that are useful, and land you just plain need to use the other cards.
#4. However, the goal of Magic as a card game is to defeat your opponent. This is where the game runs into some serious issues. Its basically designed to turn you into an a$$***e. You play the game long enough and you will become a prick and a scoundrel, and then you will wonder why you don't have any friends. Worse, you become addicted (its a weird egotistical thing) to being a prick. You become obsessed with defeating your opponent in the first 3 rounds of the game, or defeating them in such a way that its embarrassing for them. If you lose, it just reaffirms your commitment to trying to get revenge on them. IT IS NOT A FRIENDLY GAME.
#5. I have determined over the past 13 years that I will no longer play Magic in any competitive way. I still have a huge collection of cards, but they're more like an art collection now. I only play with friends on rare occasions, and even then its purely as "a for fun only game" and the decks I design for such occasions are designed with that in mind. I keep them simple too, that way hapless players who are just learning don't have a steep learning curve.
#6. There is also Magic the Gathering Online, which is even worse on the prick factor because you're not even playing with friends, you are playing against other pricks online. Their goal there is to see who can be the biggest prick. I tried that out too and can confirm that the people on there must have no life because they make the most boring decks I've ever seen (I swear they just try to bore you to death).
(There is an amusing clip from a TV show where Osama bin Laden dies and is awarded with 40 virgins... unfortunately it is 40 virgin men all playing Magic the Gathering Online.)
There are much better games out there to be playing if you want to play fantasy games. ie. Munchkin is always hilarious. Traditional AD&D (with pen and paper) is always fun, and there is also Dungeons and Dragons Online, which is free and won't cost you a cent. DDO is a much better game, far more exciting and its emphasizes friendship and teamwork. That is the kind of game I would much rather play.
Magic the Gathering is for losers who don't have any real friends. :p
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