One of my all time favourite games involves playing cards that depicts images of monsters, warriors, heroes, giants and all other elements of fantasy with little numbers and symbols adorning the cards. The game of course is Magic: The Gathering and I’ve been playing it since 4th edition or more precisely or if you must know, when I was a teenager.
When I was growing up gaming, nerd, and geek culture weren’t embraced like they currently are and instead of kids being encouraged to explore their imaginations through games like Dungeons and Dragons or Magic: The Gathering they were often dissuaded from engaging in these types of activities. Growing up my Mom was even scared of fantasy games, because she had seen a made for TV movie where role playing teens ended up killing their parents , convincing my parents to let me play after that was difficult. I ignored their feelings as kids often do, started playing the game and they eventually clued into the fact that it was just a game. I eventually grew out of playing Magic: The Gathering as my circle of friends slowly broke away and the small town I lived in didn’t have the support to keep the game alive for me.
Fast forward to today and now that I am a father, I’m always looking for ways to bond with my own children. Magic has once again seemingly woven it’s way back into my life and I for one couldn’t be happier. If you are a parent looking for an alternative game that plays differently every time you play it and are looking for a game that you and your kids can bond over then Magic may just in fact be the game for you.
If you still aren’t convinced, here are 5 reasons I think playing Magic: The Gathering with your kids is a good thing.
Every game of Magic involves making decisions and those decisions whether good or bad can have consequences and impact the game you are playing. You quickly learn that you need to hold back enough mana (energy) in order to cast a spell for defence later, learn to tell when your opponent is bluffing about having a spell in his hand and to know when to attack for the win. As parents, we work hard to teach our children to make decisions for themselves, while only a game, I believe that by learning decision making in a game such as Magic: The Gathering our kids can translate that into later life when making decisions for themselves is critical.
A long car trip and cries of “Are we there yet?” Or vacation time and cries of “I’m bored, there’s nothing to do!” I did it as a kid, you probably did and now our kids are doing the same to us. They say patience is a virtue but for being a virtue it’s really difficult to learn. In a game of Magic, one of the many things you and your child can learn is patience. You might find yourself having to wait two or three turns before unleashing a spell that can win you the game but by not waiting and doing so too early could cost you the game. The anticipation of the win is enough to drive you crazy but you have to be patient or you’ll find yourself on the losing side.
Learning Through Failure
One thing I can guarantee about Magic, is that most beginners lose a lot. You lose because you were impatient, or made a poor decision or because your opponent had built a better deck. The great thing is, is that you can learn from these experiences and apply them to your next game. One of the best ways to learn anything is life is through trial and error. You try something out, make a mistake, correct it and keep going.
While collectible card games can be expensive, you can start your your journey into Magic, for as little as twenty bucks and for that you can pick up a duel deck. These are pre-built decks that have a theme and are specifically tailored to face off against each other. You can have hours of fun using these decks, learning the game mechanics, how the cards work and more. I enjoy the fact that as a parent I can participate in a game with my kids for a relatively low initial cost. One caveat to this is that, while it is initially low cost to play if you or any of your kids decide to play competitively it can end up costing a fair amount.
I see it far to often now, kids glued to the television playing video games or in front of a computer screen isolated from others. One of the greatest things about Magic is that you can enter into Friday Night Magic or release tournaments where you can get out of the house and socialize with other people who are into the same hobby as you and hopefully make some new friends. It’s great to see people come together over a familiar hobby to discuss strategy, trade cards and just have fun.
I hope you and your family are interested in trying out a new game and while it may have a few more rules to learn that your typical board game such as Sorry, once learned it may just become a game your family truly enjoys playing together.
Are you a parent who plays Magic? Have you started teaching your children how to play yet?