In 1995 a stranger taught me how to play Magic. Well, he wasn’t a complete stranger. He was the lifeguard at my local swimming pool. He kept his cards in a Beta max cassette and told me that poison counters were really good if they added up. He let me build a deck with his green cards because I really liked the art of Ironroot Treefolk. See, this was before there were “Card Shops”, but there was already a community forming around Magic. Those who knew how to play couldn’t help but try and share the greatest game ever created with anyone who would listen and those who listened became enthralled, especially if they saw that sweet artwork for Ironroot Treefolk.
Part 2: We’re lucky to have dedicated spaces to play.
Now, things are different. If you are downtown in Toronto you can find a card shop on every corner. The passion the players have is still the same. If anything, the game is better than it was in 1995 so there is even more of a reason to celebrate it and there are more people to celebrate with. All of these people wouldn’t fit in my local swimming pool, so it is a good thing that there are venues to accommodate all of us.
When playing at home either online or with friends you run the risk of hitting a wall and losing momentum, at least that was my experience. Playing online sometimes feels like work because I’m staring a monitor all day and not speaking with anyone. Staying home and playing your friends over and over again is fun in the beginning, but after some time it becomes redundant. You quickly find out what your friends are capable of and what styles of play they prefer. When you’re at the store you play different people all the time, which means you’re always learning and growing as a player.
This enthusiasm for the game is contagious. When I’m around binder pages flipping, sleeved cards being shuffled and playmats getting rolled out I can’t help but feel like I’m that kid by the pool discovering Ironroot Treefolk again for the first time. It’s a good feeling and it’s something I can only get from my local stores. Last week I posted a video about playing a Draft at A&C Games in Toronto. Watch how excited the players get talking about the newest limited environment. It’s just THAT much fun!