Unlocking creativity through Magic

By: Logan Pierce, Editor-in-Chief
Why does the collectible card game (CCG) Magic: the Gathering appeal to some students? Unlike the Pokémon or Yu-Gi-Oh CCGs, there’s no video game or anime to help promote sales of Magic. Its popularity is the result of the game itself.

Shuffle and cut

In 1993, when Richard Garfield created the first set of Magic cards, overtly named Alpha, he could not have foreseen the staying power the game would have nearly 20 years later. Released by the Washington-based company Wizards of the Coast (WotC), Magic was the first trading card game of its kind and has continued to grow since its inception.Pictured left to right: Mason Meyer, Steve Wolbert and Jimmy Barnes pit their play skills and deck building creativity against each other in a game of Magic: The Gathering.  Photo by Logan Pierce
Mason Meyer, cyber security major, has played Magic for 18 years. In between classes, Meyer and other Magic players meet in the Student Center to play and socialize. “I like Magic because it’s a way for people who don’t fit in normal society to fit in and play games,” Meyer said.

Ever expanding universe

More than 12,000 unique Magic cards have been printed, with a few new expansions released each year. That can seem overwhelming for those just starting out.
Jimmy Barnes, business major, started playing Magic last semester. “I like the strategy of Magic,” Barnes said, “I like the idea of assembling an army and outwitting my opponent.”
Steve Wolbert, English major, also picked up Magic last semester. “My favorite kind are tribal decks, like my zombie or elf tribal,” Wolbert said. Tribal decks are constructed around iconic fantasy races, such as elves, goblins and zombies.
Magic is not a cheap hobby. Significant sums of money are spent on these pieces of cardboard. One of the most expensive cards is the iconic Black Lotus, which sells for $3,000 on average
“I spent between $500 and $1,000 on Magic in two semesters,” Wolbert said, “Boys don’t grow up; their toys just get more expensive.”

Future Sight

According to Hasbro, WotC’s parent company, the volume of printed Magic cards has doubled since 2008, as the player base for the game has increased by more than 80 percent since then.
John Frascotti, Hasbro Chief Marketing Officer, does not see the Magic trend ending anytime soon. “For the more than 12 million players around the world, Magic is more than just a product and more than just a game, it’s a lifestyle,” Frascotti said.

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