Magic The Gathering: The Diary of a Beginner — Part One

Dioary header

Card games have al­ways been some­thing of a fas­ci­na­tion to me since I was a child. They are games played so ca­su­al­ly re­laxed, but can sud­den­ly be in­ject­ed with mo­ments of ex­cite­ment when a pow­er­ful card is played that can change the tide of the game. They also pro­vide thrilling mo­ments when you buy boost­er packs and open them hop­ing to score a good card or trade one with a friend, both with the goal of build­ing a bet­ter deck to go into bat­tle with.

I had want­ed to get into one for some time and whilst at­tend­ing the Gamergate meet up in Birmingham I wit­nessed a game of Magic the Gathering be­ing played, and it ig­nit­ed my in­ter­est for get­ting into it. I left it in the back of my mind for a while as mon­ey was tight, and at the time I didn’t know where in my town stocked it, so I con­tin­ued on with life and for­got about Magic for a time. I al­most backed a Kickstarter which de­scribed it­self as “Magic the Gathering with Zombies,” but then I pulled back as I re­alised it was a lot of mon­ey to spend on a game with no­body to play it with. So I left it be, and de­cid­ed to take a trip to my lo­cal com­ic shop to buy some­thing to read, and that was when I made an ac­ci­den­tal discovery.

Just be­fore my lo­cal com­ic shop is a Games Workshop, and I had walked past it many times be­fore, nev­er look­ing in the win­dow un­til that day. I de­cid­ed to stop in when I saw some cool look­ing board games in the win­dow and went to check them out. My eyes won­dered around, and I saw nu­mer­ous Magic the Gathering prod­ucts dis­played and men­tal­ly kicked my­self for not hav­ing looked here soon­er. I picked up my comics and then went into Games Workshop for a look. There was more on dis­play in­side, and it felt like I had struck gold. I even­tu­al­ly got talk­ing with the guy be­hind the counter who was more than hap­py to help me out with the whole thing, but I had one con­cern which I need­ed to ask him.

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Justin’s fledg­ling Magic the Gathering collection

Can I play this game on my own?” I asked, as there was no­body I knew lo­cal­ly who played the game and didn’t want to waste money.

No, but we do gam­ing nights here every Friday,” he replied, and that was some­thing I re­al­ly need­ed to hear.

He gave me a few more bits of in­for­ma­tion on the whole thing and it made up my mind there and then. I dipped into my pock­et and brought the following:

  • An in­tro deck pack
  • 100 card pro­tec­tors (I like to look af­ter my cards)
  • A deck box (seemed like a log­i­cal idea)
  • 3 Booster packs (why the hell not)

I as­sem­bled the deck as best as I could and then wished the rest of the week away so I could at­tend this gam­ing event, more ex­cit­ed than I thought I would be.

However, I made a few mis­takes be­fore at­tend­ing the night. I was woe­ful­ly un­der­pre­pared and did not brush up on the rules, and as a re­sult I got my ass kicked in the two games that I played. I man­aged to score only one point of dam­age against my op­po­nent, and felt quite stu­pid as a re­sult. I ducked out ear­ly in the end, de­cided­ing to go home and do my home­work so that I could come back more pre­pared for the next time. I can see that this will be quite a chal­lenge for me to get into, some of the peo­ple I en­coun­tered knew what they were do­ing and had ob­vi­ous­ly been at it a while. Hopefully I can reach that kind of lev­el one day.

But for now, I must prepare.

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Justin is a hap­pi­ly mar­ried 35 year-old games writer from Northampton, UK. He loves sur­vival hor­ror games, al­most any­thing First-person Shooter-based, and pret­ty much every­thing with zom­bies. Being a life long gamer, he has now passed his much-loved pas­sion down to his chil­dren. In his spare time, Justin likes to read, work out and watch movies. He is also cur­rent­ly writ­ing his first book.

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