It is not uncommon for my evenings to include an exchange similar to “I cast my general.” “In response, I’ll use my Top, then counter it.” A significant percentage of the RPI populace will immediately recognize this as a segment of a game of Magic: the Gathering. I started playing Magic as a serious hobby seven years ago and was handed a deck by a friend from school. Since then, I’ve gotten into the game more and more, to the point that when I got to RPI three years ago, I quickly searched out the most obvious concentration of people playing the game: the RPI Magic Club. While the people there playing at the time were significantly better than I was, everyone was very welcoming and I enjoyed the casual games that went on.
As I got to know the people at the club, though, several things became apparent. First and foremost, there was one member that most people there were rather unhappy with, someone whose competitive spirit and predatory trading had gone as far as to drive several people away from club. Even nowadays, when I ask people if they would like to come to the club, many of them recount a bad experience they had with this particular person. The club has changed a lot since those days, though. The average member isn’t as obsessive as they used to be, and the few hyper-competitive players are polite and reign themselves in, especially around people who appear to be newer to the game or at least to the club. It is an even more welcoming place that will hopefully continue to grow in size with casual Magic players around campus.
In terms of Magic players, I would be considered what is known as a “Melvin.” Above all, I find enjoyment in the game via seeing the interactions of cards with the rules of the game itself. Sure, that might mean that a game reaches a complexity such that it takes three hours or so to finish, but that is not something that I have a problem with. But, to scratch this itch of desiring ultimate complexity, I am always looking for new cards and new situations to put them in. However, as even people that have never played the game know, Magic cards are quite expensive. While I do what I can to minimize expenditures on the game, I currently own several thousand dollars worth of cards and have spent a couple thousand dollars on the game over the years. That said, it is still a hobby for me, and one that I do my best to put down when necessary. Due to the addictive nature and vast presence of the game in my life, however, it is difficult to do so. Despite also being involved in a variety of other endeavors around campus such as Terra Cafe and The Poly, a majority of the friends I’ve found at RPI have been through Magic Club, even down to my current roommates. I also run a custom card project online and this year am an officer in two of the three aforementioned clubs. So how do I find time and money to do anything? I manage.
Until next time, may you find a hobby you enjoy and can get as invested into as I am into Magic.