In the past, the only use I had for my small Magic: the Gathering card collection was as a character generation tool for role-playing games. I mentioned the process a couple years ago when talking about one of our campaigns, and the hosts of Fear the Boot, whom I game with talked about it in Episode 95 of their show.
But as I mentioned in my Backburst post, a few months ago my Saturday group and I started playing Magic to pass the time until everyone arrived for the weekly role-playing session. If you’re like me, you’ve heard of the $500 decks and the craziness that goes into playing in tournaments, but that’s not what we’re looking to do. With just our modest collections we’ve put together a few decks each, which has been enough to provide a great side game to play casually and socialize over.
It’s been somewhat surprising to see how much fun the group is having just playing casually. A few members were a little leery at first, but when no one tries to win through strength of wallet it’s a good time. Unlike our role-playing, where there’s a story going on at the table that banter could interrupt, Magic can be an even more social experience for us since we can talk over the game with no ill effect.
Since there’s almost always more of two of us ready to play, we’ve tried a number of formats. Standard multiplayer is a bit to long and random, but we’ve had a lot of fun running alternate formats, specifically Two-Headed Giant (or Three-Headed if we have 6 players) and Emperor. Emperor in particular has been a ton of fun even when you’re the first one out (aka drink fetcher 🙂 ).
Considering I’ve heard Warmachine and Hordes described as the Magic: the Gathering of miniatures games, it shouldn’t be a surprise that I’m enjoying the deckbuilding and combo-based gameplay. My current favorite deck is my White/Green Ally deck, which could be thought of as the Protectorate of Menoth deck with it’s cheap cards that build crazy synergies.
That and the fact that opponents seem to hate playing against it, which is why I tend to play my other two decks more. 🙂 We’re just playing to have fun, I’m not looking to bash any heads in so I’m happy just to play whatever and socialize with my friends.
I’m not going to say Magic is a game that everyone must play, but I am a little surprised how much fun we’re getting out of it. For the cost of a pair role-playing books (or a light jack and a small-based unit) we’ve got a great side game for our group; it’s hard to complain about that.