Saturday, May 10, 2008

Magic: The Gathering, after 15 years I guess it's not just a fad

Magic: The Gathering burst on the gaming scene in 1993, which is, unbelievably, 15 years ago! Where does the time go?

There's no denying that it's one of the most important games ever, creating a whole new type of gaming experience: Collectible (or tradeable) games to fans, "crack" to detractors.

Myself, I have mixed feelings about MTG.

On the one hand, I think it's a good solid game. I enjoy playing now and then and I think the underlying game concepts work very well. It's spawned many, many imitators, but many of those fall short as games. MTG seems to have managed to hit a sweet spot right out the gate.

On the other hand, a big part of the MTG (and other collectible games) experience is the whole deck-building and card-acquiring metagame. That part I really have to say I've had trouble getting into. The problem, is that getting into that part of the game requires a commitment I'm not willing to make.

But I've made a lot more of a commitment to the game than I realized or intended.

Before making this post, I checked by MTG collection and found out I have about 46 stacked inches of cards. At about 80 cards per inch this comes out to approximately 3,680 cards. At a retail price of about 15 cents per card (it's more now, but a lot of my cards were bought a while ago) this comes out to roughly $550 I've spent on Magic cards over the last decade or so (my oldest cards are Revised).

Now, by Magic standards this is a pittance. But by boardgame standards it's not small change, and I have to say that I don't think there's any game I've spent that much on that I feel I have less of a handle on. Despite having spent several hundred dollars on the game, I'm still be a complete novice in any kind of competitive environment with constructed decks. It's a little frustrating actually, because the only kind of competitive gaming I could use all my cards in is the very type I'd have the least chance in. If I did want to play in a tournament my best bet would be a sealed deck, but in that case I don't even need all my existing cards.

I sometimes wonder if I shouldn't just cash out the collection.

1 comment:

  1. Maybe do what I did / have done, for some of my CCGs of yore... Ebay the more valuable singles and then just hang on to the rest to make "balanced" constructed decks for friends to play with, and when my kids are older, to enjoy deckbuilding/drafting/playing with them.