Risking My Life With Magic: The Gathering

This article originally appeared on the sadly defunct Zug.com

Magic: The Gathering is Fight Club for stamp collectors. The same dedication, group mentality, and dedication to annihilating every one of your colleagues, with only slightly less damage to your physical condition. It’s one of the most famous card games in the world and more profitable than poker. Because in poker at least one of the players still has money when they’ve finished playing.

To say nothing of shellcrotch exposure every time you start playing.

To say nothing of shellcrotch exposure every time you start playing.

Players buy cards containing magic spells to turn their love of reading and math into heroic battles. Wizards of the Coast turned my childhood dreams into a business plan (and that sounds like the plot of a book I would have read back then). But I’ve always avoided the game, because Magic is responsible for more people losing their lives to a fantasy land of endless murder than Game of Thrones. And profits more from their disappearance than the survivors in Game of Thrones.

More person-hours go into Magic than the space program, so I’m launching myself into this world like a human Curiosity: venturing into a strange new land, learning a lot, and I’ve just realized that this analogy implies I might never come back. Magic is also known as “cardboard crack.” It makes World of Warcraft look like Farmville. This is by far the most dangerous experiment I’ve ever undertaken, and I once tried to set myself on fire from the inside out.

I’m going to play Magic Online Standard non-stop for an entire day. Longtime players tell me this is fairly normal, so I’ve already learned something: playing Magic screws up your idea of normal.  Continue reading