Magic the Gathering (MTG) is not just a card game – it’s a way of life. Learning, playing and collecting the cards needed to master the game takes a ruthless dedication worthy of any of the super-capitalist protagonists in Atlas Shrugged. The best way to get started in MTG is to have at least one friend who already knows the basics.
But not everyone has friends that are already proficient in MTG jargon, rules or enough cards to share. There are two ways open to these poor lost souls. They can join impromptu games at local comic stores, bookshops and libraries or they can read the instructions. Wizards of the Coast produces a graphics-heavy website that not only pushes products, but explains the rules and lists MTG gatherings.
Finding Fellow Gamers
There are several ways of finding other fellow gamers that want to play MTG. Public libraries may have already established gaming groups. Online groups are more plentiful and do not have to work around other library patrons. Since MTG tends to appeal to the college age crowd, check for any science fiction or gaming clubs at local college campuses. Check the local newspaper for any notices of upcoming game meetings or MTG tournaments.
Tournaments are not the best places to learn about MTG rules because of the pressure of competition, but they are great places to find cards, accessories and information about local gaming clubs. They are also safe places for players to meet that previously only met online. If a tournament is not scheduled for months, check out science fiction and fantasy conventions. They always have someone with a deck of MTG cards aching to play.
Cards and Decks
Although MTG packs of cards only cost a few dollars, they do not offer enough manna cards in order to play a game with. If a player lacks manna, they lack the power to do just about anything else in the game. A beginning player must buy, beg or borrow a core set or a “deck builder set.” This can be pricey, but it will give a beginning player enough manna, a few spells and some interesting monsters in order to have fun.
There are many different game names to the card series produced, but all cards can interact with each other and the basic decks. Before buying any cards beyond ones in stores, beginning players need to be aware of what price they should pay as opposed to whatever someone offers them. There are many TMG fan pages that include card price guides. Checking out what cards are selling at on eBay is a quicker but less accurate view of the card market.