Tag Archives: Magic: The Gathering

General Nerdery

I’ve been balls deep in Star Wars stuff for the last few months. Actually that’s a statement that could be made about most of my life, but the last few months have seen a particularly strong resurgence in the Force around these parts. It’s hard not to feel like I’m eleven years old all over again in spite of having a driver’s license, beard, job, bills and lack of a bed time. It’s fun. It’s very time consuming, but what else would I be doing with my time? Probably just playing video games, which I would have been doing thirteen years ago too if not for the copious amounts of Star Wars cards we were playing. Speaking of video games, I do plan on writing something up about Brutal Legend as soon as I finish it. Though flawed, it’s the most fun I’ve had with a game in ages, plus there’s a flimsy-at-best Star Wars connection, so it merits a write up.

My roommate and I have so far managed to grind through one and a half games of the Star Wars card game. The first one ended mid-game because I had to go to work and after almost two hours there was no end in sight. You could even argue that after that long there was no beginning in sight. That first half a game was a slow process of stutter stepping through gameplay phases in an attempt to crack the often confusing rules. By the end of the two hours we felt like we had a decent idea and when we started over a couple of days later we managed to see it through to the end. We haven’t played since, however, because neither of us have had the two-plus hours to dedicate to throwing down again. But hopefully that’ll happen again soon.

While we’re on the subject, last month I scored a sweet find at my old comic shop back home in Massachusetts, Harrison’s in Salem. I was home for my sister’s wedding, so of course going to the comic shop was my first order of business. Since I have as of recently found myself playing Magic: The Gathering I figured I’d grab a couple of booster packs and guess what I found sitting in the display case…

Yes sir, the LAST packs of the Star Wars: CCG in the shop! And not only were they the last they had, but they happened to be from each of the playsets I was heavily invested in! Did I get anything good? How the hell do I know!? The rules for each set became additionally complicated so who knows, maybe I got some bad ass interrupts, but for the most part I think I got junk. The two cool cards I did get were both things I already had: Obi-Wan’s Lightsaber and a rare Star Destroyer. But still, the nostalgia factor kept it from being a total bust.

Currently I’m reading through volume two of the Legacy series. After that I think I’ll have depleted my new Star Wars stuff, so a trip to the library for some of the novels I missed during my ten year hiatus from the Expanded Universe might be in order. In non-Star Wars-but-geeky-none-the-less news I’ve started to read through a steampunk anthology called, fittingly enough, Steampunk. It’s a genre I’ve always enjoyed from afar, basically only understanding the idea of it but having never read much of it aside from the works of China Mieville which could be lumped in with steampunk amongst other things. I feel like it’s a type of sci-fi that is free of the shackles of scientific explanation because a lot of the times the science involved could never work now, nevermind a hundred and fifty years ago. It’s an entirely refreshing setting for science fiction, especially for me since I have always held Star Wars to be the gold standard for science fiction (solely a personal opinion and one that, yes, I understand is very narrow minded in the grand scheme of all things sci-fi). There is a lot of genre fiction out there that I have completely passed over and just as I’m bringing myself up to speed on Star Wars, I think it’s high time I played catch up with other brands of nerdery as well.

And in case you ever wanted to know what a steampunked version of Star Wars would look like, here you go: Sillof’s Workshop

Stah Wars Cahds

Allow me to set a scene here:

It was a little after noon on a Wednesday in August. Rich (my roommate) and I were sitting at the kitchen table in our pajamas or whatever clothes we had fallen asleep in the night before and our combined hours of having been awake that day were probably two, at best. Rich was working under the white glow of a fluorescent lamp, meticulously painting Warhammer 40,000 game pieces. I was focused on putting together a Magic: The Gathering deck. I believe it was green/white and hinged on getting one of my two Planeswalkers into play early on.

“You know,” Rich started, “If twelve-year-old me could see me now he’d be thinking, ‘I bet his girlfriend’s in the other room.'”

“Yeah, well if twelve-year-old me could see me now he’s probably think, ‘Well, I don’t see a wedding ring. Looks like I haven’t been laid yet.'”

The truth of the matter is twelve-year-old Tony would want to know why I say playing Magic instead of the Star Wars Customizable Card Game. I good question indeed.

The Star Wars game, henceforth known as SW:CCG, was an obsession of mine. For three years it consumed my life in a way that only something Star Wars related can. It got to the point where I would dream about getting certain cards in a pack and when I would tell that to my few friends, who also collected the cards, even they would say “Damn, dude, you need to cut it back.”

Eventually we all cut it back. We sort of out grew the game, which was easy to do because it was mind-numbingly hard to play and aside from collecting, which became increasingly expensive, there was no real purpose to shelling over cash for cards. But when we were all at out peaks, when we never went anywhere without our Light and Dark Side decks, it was a hell of a lot of fun, even if we never actually knew how to play the game correctly.

This brings me back to Magic and Warhammer. This past summer my apartment saw a resurgence in the nerdy games we played as kids. I never touched Magic before this past July, and now there are stacks of cards all over the place. It got me thinking about all the hours–and dollars–spent on the SW:CCG. My only memory of it was that it was confusing and that one fateful week I got two–count ’em two!–Darth Vader cards in two consecutive packs.

So, in keeping with my mission to re-explore the galaxy, I plan to go back and see if, with the help of my gaming accomplices and an older if not necessarily more matured brain, I can wrap my head around this little slice of fanboy nostalgia. I dug out all the cards from my parents’ attic and just got my introductory, starter set off eBay. The plan, after getting a handle on the game in it’s most simplified terms, is to build a deck from scratch using only the Premiere set of cards. After that I will go through the expansions one at a time, adding cards and relearning the game’s once-ever expanding rulebook. If I fail, well then at least I have a couple thousand cool looking book marks.

cards