Damien Remington

Freshman, English major

For too long has the stigma against card games stood against those of us who enjoy playing them. Labeled as nerds, being herded to our comic book shops and kitchen tables to play the games we find fun, the players of card games have suffered for far too long! No longer shall we stand for this. It is time for us to rise up, my brethren, and take a stand for the games we play. This is our moment! Cast off the shackles, and be free to play the games you want to play.

So, what in the world am I talking about? I’m talking about card games, an activity which I am very passionate about. No, I’m don’t mean poker or blackjack. I’m talking about Collectible/Trading Card Games (CCG/TCG), one of my favorite forms of game to play. There are many different ways to play them, which adds to their excitement. Trust me when I say that you should try playing one.

To the untrained eye, card games may look horribly convoluted, and not worth the time of day. However, I assure you that they are all easier than the initial impression would indicate. Think of TCGs as a form of chess. A very complex form of chess filled with storyline, art, math and general fantasy-style traits, but chess nonetheless. The games all have the same aim of beating your opponent, and have multiple ways that you can achieve this goal. Card games are surprisingly intuitive, and with a little bit of rule-learning, you can fully immerse yourself in them.

My card game of choice is Magic: the Gathering. It was actually the first TCG created, setting the foundation for all other card games to be made. Despite its age, the game is still an enormous amount of fun. The game itself has an easy-to-understand structure, which makes it accessible and appealing to people who don’t already play it. The cards are divided into five different colors: white, blue, black, red, and green. Each of the colors has their own Color Identity, symbolizing something different from the others, creating the flavor for Magic. White symbolizes order and unity, focusing on large amounts of small ‘creatures’, which are the cards you attack your opponent with. Blue tries to control what happens during gameplay, trying to stall your opponent and win through attrition. Black represents greatness at any cost, even at the sake of risking your own life, wielding the power of death and the undead to rise to victory. Red is speed and aggression, trying to finish off your opponent before they can situate themselves. And green is about life and strength, winning through overpowering your opponents with large creatures. And these are just the colors themselves. Once you begin mixing colors together into different ‘decks’ (the collection of cards used to play a game), you begin finding different styles of gameplay, and eventually finding the one that suits you. Personally, I love the white/black combination, focusing more on life and death. It’s completely up to you how you play the game.

What makes games like this different is that you aren’t constrained by a given amount of preset pieces, like you are in a traditional board game. There are a vast number of cards that you can choose from, and no matter what card game you play, there is always diversity for how you can play the game. All of the popular card games, like Magic: The Gathering, Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon each have such a large selection of card choices, there is an infinite amount of ways you could play against your friends. Diverse gameplay is what brings people to these games, and it is what gives the games their flair.

Even the way you play the game varies. Like to play simple games with your friends? Playing casually, also known as Kitchen Table Magic, is my favorite way to play, as it is only as intense as you want it to be, letting you take your time and enjoy your friends’ company. There are also higher levels of play, like at a local game store, or even tournaments of the national variety, attracting a wide variety of other people who you can play against, testing your skill against others from around the world. Any way you want to play, you can find others to play that way with you.

Magic is something I’m really passionate about. It’s a game that has developed my analytical skills, and has influenced my strategic abilities, as well as my ability to think things through better. The story-oriented part of my mind has also been influenced, with the fantasy and detail found in the game further adding to my love of the activity. In complete honesty, this game is my favorite pastime, and I have enjoyed it ever since I began playing it. I’m not saying that you have to play Magic specifically. But I am suggesting that you try a card game of this caliber. Then you can see what I mean when I talk about how great card games really are.