Tycho recently got back into Magic the Gathering and at the time I gave him a fair amount of crap for it. This was a game we played in Junior High. Kids with shoe boxes full of cards would congregate outside the band room during lunch and play on the floor. I knew it was still going strong but for some reason I hadn’t given it much thought in years.
As I mentioned before I am in Spokane for a week and I’m always on the hunt for things to do in order to keep from going crazy here. I ended up taking my son Gabe to the store and we picked up a couple of Magic starter decks. Gabe plays the Pokemon card game but Magic is a different animal and I wasn’t sure if he would like it. We got back to grandma’s house and cracked out our decks. All the basics came back to me but I saw a lot of terms and wording I had never seen before. Between the text on the cards and the starter guide included with the deck I was able to figure most of it out. It took Gabe a few games to really get his little 9yo head around the concept of attacking and blocking. The idea the a monster who attacks will not be able to block next turn is tricky. He began by attacking all out with everything he had but eventually learned that’s not always the best strategy. Magic really wants you to think a few turns ahead and while you can do that in Pokemon I don’t think it’s as necessary.
He eventually got it though and by the second day of playing, our games were getting pretty close. The concept of Instants played outside your turn was another tricky mechanic for him but it was great seeing his “AHHA” moments when he played a sorcery to block my damage or buff an attacking monster. As a Dad there are few things I love more than watching him learn something new and really get it. The smile on his face when he reads the text on a card, understands it and then plays the way he needs to in order to take advantage of it is about the best feeling in the world. Eventually he understood the language of the game and then he really started to get into it. He played a creature with the “vigilant” keyword and had to look up what it meant in the rules. He looked a little confused and I asked “What does it mean?”. He said “it means the creature doesn’t have to tap.” I smiled and watched as he worked it out in his head. Then he looked up at me with this huge smile. “He can attack AND defend! That’s awesome!” I smiled to, it is pretty awesome.
Magic the Gathering isn’t new to me. It’s new to him though and so when I play it with him I might as well be playing it for the first time.