“Like a Dog With Little Sense, I Keep Returning…”

So my pal Dave came for a visit, and we walked over to the neighborhood comic/game store so he could check out their Magic singles. Now, I used to be into Magic pretty bigtime several years ago, but I got out of it when time and money became an issue. Thus, I hadn’t played Magic much at all in a couple years. But I gotta say, looking at the cards with Dave suddenly had me jonesin’ again for the thrill of the tapping and the bliss of the “new card smell”.

I’m pretty good at quittin’ stuff. Years and years back, when I decided to quit smoking before I got too far to quit, I just stopped, and that was that. As of this writing, it’s been a month since I stopped biting my fingernails (fidgeting with them, though, is another story.) When I decided I had enough of The X-Files I quit watching and never looked back. With Magic, since I quit, I really haven’t backslid much, just buying occasional packs to play sealed deck with friends.

One thing I discovered when talking to people up here who play is how allegedly weird my old gaming group was. People can’t seem to understand that we didn’t build decks and then keep them together forever, only updating them when new sets came out. It was the old “how ELSE would you do it?” line. I also got the old, “What colors do you play?” question, which is just weird to me. All of them.

Perhaps it was because I didn’t want to release my obsession via nail-biting, but I pulled out my Magic cards the other day and began re-sorting them strictly by color (the people I’d play with here don’t really worry about “blocks” and “types”). And man, it all came back. Ideas for decks. Cards that were seemingly useless but could hold great potential locked away in them. All of our old in-jokes: The Chubwagg deck (does it need more chub or wagg?), Crotchwind Scrotumsong, and the line, “No, the squirrels smell the decay, and then they die. Because they don’t like it.” The horrible, horrible art of Susan Van Camp.

I originally got out of Magic for financial reasons, and that still largely holds true, but I do miss the game itself. How can this be? I mean, I don’t actively sit down and say to myself, “Let’s see. I read comics, play board games and role-playing games, watch Doctor Who, enjoy math, listen to Star Wars soundtracks, and play with Legos. What can I add in there to make me more of a geek without having to buy a trenchcoat?” Nor am I constantly looking for holes that I can throw my money down. But I can’t deny it; it’s a fun game. There really is something to it.

I still don’t see myself getting back into it huge. I wouldn’t go back to the days of buying entire boxes and completing sets, even if I could. Perhaps the people who thought me and my friends have the right idea. Instead of buying packs of cards, just buy singles that will help out some deck or other.

And there’s always the possibility that tomorrow a different shiny thing will catch my eye and my Magic cards will return to the bottom of the closet to be ignored again. It’s not like there’s no precedent for that, either.

But I can’t deny that I miss me some janky fatty beatdown. Besides, I’m intrigued by the new mechanic in the upcoming set:

Punchies 2: (When you summon this creature, your opponent may punch you in the arm two times.)

How cool is that?

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3 Responses to “Like a Dog With Little Sense, I Keep Returning…”

  1. Dave Carter says:

    Magic was a brilliant game, because at its core it was a game about interpreting rules, and there’s nothing that hard-core gamers like better than arguing about rules.

  2. CounterProductive says:

    As the recipient of Dave generously giving me literally thousands of cards when leaving Champaign (thanks again, Dave!) it only got me more interested in the game. Sure, I’ve purchased a couple entire boxes (one Mirrodin, one Unhinged, the silly set), which is pricey, but now I just wait for a set to be out for a while and the prices dropping, then buy singles for deck ideas.

    While I still love green tramply beatdown goodness, I’ve found a pleasurable niche in making decks around crap rares, especially the ones people make fun of. And without all those old cards from Dave, I would have never had the crap rares (can you say Ice Age? Odyssey?).

    I made an entire deck around Dwarven Thaumatugist and its bad art, and it works pretty well. I made an Invasion Leeches deck. All get the laughs I wanted, but can work well too. I crave our friends Brent saying “Who PLAYS with that?!?” right before I win with that crap (those who know me know I’m not too competitive, but I do try to win with the crap rare decks. Jangling Autonomaton – another crappy card I made into a good deck.

    Enough ramblong from a big geek. Have fun Dave. You really do have a trove of cards you could make many decks from. Perhaps not tourney ready, but we don’t play with ‘tards like them anyway.

  3. Charlie says:

    I too get the fever every once in a while. I’ll read about a new set coming out, get enthused enough to buy a box, sit down in the floor and get that wonderful new card smell, and build a deck or two out of whatever is tournament legal at the time. Then I head down to the store where I bought them (since I don’t actually know anyone that plays) and after sitting through hours of utter boredom to play three games or even worse have some punk kid getting in my face about winning/losing the game (did I mention I have a low tolerance for people that don’t understand the difference between talking friendly smack and just being rude). Once I get home and get the ole blood pressure back under control I then come back to my senses and put the cards away. You’d think that in a place like Tampa there’d be casual players in abundance…hrrrrmmmm…maybe it is time to dust them off again.