Last night I went back to my old game for the first time in a year and a half: Magic: The Gathering. Yes, I know it’s widely derided in the RPG community, and ever since I started playing D&D I hadn’t been playing Magic.
But last night I wasn’t running my usual Friday night online game (sorry again for not being ready, gang!) and my wife was busy, so I decided to stop by my friendly local game store for Friday Night Magic.
Back when I played Magic regularly, my format of choice was called booster draft. This is where you open up a pack of cards, pick one, and pass the rest on. You take the next pack from the person sitting to your right, pick one, and pass the rest on. You keep doing this through three packs of cards and ultimately build a deck out of the cards you pick. It rewards good evaluation of the cards rather than a good budget to build a prepared deck of rare cards – much more my style.
I used to be quite good at booster drafting – my rating for that format put me among the top 20 players in Colorado. Last night, though, I was playing with cards that I had never seen at all, and was rusty in my play skills. I fully expected to do poorly, and I was okay with that (I was proud of having a good rating in the past, but it was never that a big deal to me).
The first good thing about last night was that somehow, despite not knowing ANY of the cards, I managed to win the draft! My first opponent was a first-time drafter, so I guess I would be expected to win that match. My second and third opponents were regular drafters, though, and I won a couple of close, hard-fought matches. That was a good feeling.
The second good thing was that I used the opportunity to try to recruit new D&D players! A couple of people at the draft were a pair of brothers, both of whom were familiar with D&D 3.5 but who were looking for a regular game and who had some interest in 4th Edition. I told them about D&D Encounters and Living Forgotten Realms, and I think they might come to check out Encounters. They’re really looking for an ongoing home campaign and actually asked if they could join my Friday night game, but that game is already VERY full.
So, despite the fact that I wasn’t playing RPGs last night, they were still on my mind. As for Magic, I like this quantity of play. I can see myself popping into a draft once or twice a year in the future, just to see how my skills hold up. It’s fun to see all new cards, too. And hey, if I can go into a draft completely cold and still do well, that’s a good feeling.