Friday, November 8, 2013

Free Magic: The Gathering Tourney

One of my favorite middle school pastimes was playing the collectible card game Magic: The Gathering.  It was first developed in 1993 as a card game that could be played with player-built, customizable decks.  It was a great business idea, as the best cards are the rarest, forcing players to invest lots of money to obtain all the best cards.  As an even better business plan, they keep releasing new sets of cards, so players have to keep investing in new sets and series of cards as they are released.  One final slap in the frugal gamer's face is the common tournament rule disallowing older cards in standard tournament play.  This makes cards older than a year obsolete in current tournaments.

It is still a fun game to play, even with my nearly 20 year old (!) cards.  Too bad I couldn't bring them out here with me as they are bulky, fragile, and require other classic card players with whom to play.  It was to my great delight that I saw an ad for an international anniversary celebration of the game.  At participating tournament sites throughout the world, players could report and receive a free deck of cards with two smaller (booster) packs of cards with which to build a deck for a mini-tournament.  "Free" was the only word I needed to see for this event, so I got directions to the game store in Dublin, and we set off for City Centre.

At the game store, a long line had formed for this event with its free card giveaway.  I got to the counter and asked for my free deck and booster pack.  I chose a deck of red colored magic (don't worry about the term if you don't know the game... or you could look into it yourself!) and got the booster pack with which to augment the deck.  

One starter deck and two booster packs of Magic: The Gathering cards
Free Magic Cards

It turned out that I needed to be a registered Magic tournament player to sign up for this tournament.  I was able to sign up for a player number for free and got my cards!  To get the bonus booster pack, I had to play three games of Magic with three other players and record the scores on a scorecard.  I played the three games and went 1 win, 2 (very ugly) losses.  It was great to meet some new people interested in games, especially talking with them about gaming within their own countries and cultures.  Nerd-speak is also hilarious to hear in foreign Irish, English, and other European accents.

A set of blue gem dice from the game store in Dublin, Ireland
Dice I bought just to support the game shop
With my record of 1-2 firmly in hand, I turned in my scorecard and got my hands on the other booster pack.  That was a total of 70 cards all just for the "effort" of hanging out at a game store, meeting some great new people, and playing one of my favorite games.  What a deal!  On my way out of the store, I decided to buy something to support them and thank them for hosting what turned out to be a huge event.  I love my dice collection, and wasn't able to bring the whole thing out with me, so I purchased a small set of blue gem dice for use in the Dungeons and Dragons/Pathfinder game I am playing.  One can never have too many dice!

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