The Magic of Fantasy, and the Magic of Nature

Hello, trading card game theme deck. It's been a long time.

I have released my inner dork, and it is elated to be let back out into the world. That’s right, I’ve started playing Magic: The Gathering. A little brief history: when I was around, we’ll say, ten years old, one of my cousins lived with us, and though he was about ten years older than me, he was still my main playmate. He came home one day with a two-player starter set of a card game called Magic: The Gathering.

We sat down at the table and each played through our first game using the precounstructed decks and play guides. I may flatter myself that I was a little quicker to pick up on this game than most ten-year olds, I had a knack for games of all kinds, and I could hold my own fairly well against someone twice my age. My cousin usually won, but still, I had a pretty good grasp of the gameplay.

So it became our tradition that we played Magic constantly, buying new cards to add to our decks, and eventually roped the neighbor into playing with us. There’s actually a picture of the three of us playing Magic at the kitchen table somewhere, I’ll find it and post it above when I can get it scanned. I had the time of my life with this game, it was honestly just so much fun, and I have a lot of fond memories attached to these cards.

So, a few days ago, my boyfriend’s mother sent him an envelope containing his entire collection of cards from a game called Redemption. Redemption is kind of the Christian-themed alternative to Magic: The Gathering or Yu-Gi-Oh, it’s a battle card game with cards based on Christian images and themes, many of them being focused on apocolyptic clashes between angels. I wanted to like this game, and enjoy it, but honestly I just couldn’t, I respect my boyfriend’s fond memories with the game, and I have no problem with them in that sense, anything that he loves I love by default, but these cards are sometimes so over the top. Apart from the object of the game being to save “Lost Soul” cards and “convert” the dark forces, there are two types of cards: good and evil, and each player comes equipped with both, but in the end, only good can triumph. The game isn’t about fighting evil, it’s about who can save all of the Lost Souls first, while the other player attempts to thwart their attempts with their evil cards.

Indoctrination at it’s finest, huh?

I just can’t buy into it. It’s such an obvious brainwashing scheme, and my distate for the Christian organization was not exactly lessened by this game. I get the concept, I think that to a degree it’s acceptable, but to be honest, dogma is never benefitial to anyone, it doesn’t bring people together, it only seperates people. The idea that peace and love can triumph over hatred and war is the important message, and you really can’t get that from a game that basically teaches the players (some of which have to be young and impressionable enough to take some religious direction from it) that acceptance is uneccessary, and that they, like their religious organization, should be at war with all things they misunderstand or dislike.

Oh yes, and the rules of the game are insane. Clearly it was not made by Wizards of the Coast, if for no other reason than that the game is very hard to play if you’ve never experienced it before, and the game puts such great effort into avoiding what they’re really just dancing around anyway: fighting, that it doesn’t convincingly play as the type of game that it is.

I think the angels in Magic are much more fun.

However, my spark for card games was ignited by this, and of course the big three occured to me: Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh, and Magic: The Gathering. My boyfriend was pretty dissapointed that I wasn’t very excited about Redemption, and though I was willing to play it, all we had were cards, and little idea of how the game was played, and downloaded a PDF of the lengthy rulebook didn’t shed much light on exactly how things needed to be set up. I remembered that I had at one point got my hands on a Magic: The Gathering two-player starter set (not the one from when I was ten), that had a CD-rom with it, with a video explaining how the game was played and an interactive tutorial. I actually found the introduction video on YouTube and we watched it; we were both very excited, and ordered two two-player starter decks, one from the first edition of cards (the very same deck my cousin had brought home ten years ago), and another starter set from the seventh edition.

Our seventh edition starter set came in first, and we followed along with the play guides and played our first game, had a lot of fun, and the next day our first edition starter set came in, and along with that we grabbed, from the newest released edition, a theme deck, which contained a booster pack, and two more boosters. So altogether we now have one 2-player starter set, containing about 75 cards, another which contains about 80 cards, a theme deck containing 60 cards, and three booster packs, each containing 15 cards.

We came to the sudden realization that though we could share in one anothers cards, it would be far more interesting to decide what belonged to each of us respectively, and so we traded a bit, and today I spent about an hour or more sorting through cards and trying to give us both an equal amount of what we need to start any kind of deck that we want, so we’ll both have a good foundation to build on.

I’m sure this is incredibly boring, but just stick with me.

I'm still trying to find something good enough to trade for this one

So, after dueling to our hearts content, I have divvied up our cards in such a way that I feel is a good starting place for us both to buy our own decks, boosters, etc. and trade between ourselves. I put a lot of work into doing this, and I just needed to explain it all!

Now that we’ve covered that, and if you’re not a card game person, you’re probably exceedingly bored, we can move on to my life, because that’s always such an interesting topic that I’m sure you love reading about.

I’m having a very good day today. I’m honestly feeling very positive, and in no small part to those around me who have been supporting me and giving me encouragement. Today is a day where I honestly feel like standing on my own two feet is not such an impossible thing to do after all. I thank all of my friends for being there for me and especially my boyfriend for cuddling me into submission and helping me to have a very fun weekend by being a dork with me.

Autumn is coming! I have been waxing poetic for a couple of weeks about the approach of Autumn, and I have to say I’m probably more excited for it than I have been in a while, although I can’t prove that. It’s just been such a negative couple of months for me, not in every way, but when it comes to myself, I have been really struggling to get a handle on my life and some kind of grip on my own inner strength. The oppressive heat of summer, which makes me feel at times in a constant dizzyness and faint, has not helped matters much. I will be glad when I walk outside and be awakened by the cold temperature, alert and observant, rather than weak, sleepy and lightheaded.

I’m actually fortunate enough to live in a house where we have an inground pool in the back yard. Did you know that in the summer, the pool heats up with the air? That kind of kills the point, don’t you think?

I can feel, not so much in the temperature but the spirit of the air, as it were, the approach of Autumn. We live in a time where the winter promises comfort and leisure, and all of us who live in this country and have homes are blessed that we don’t live in a time where the winter promises certain death, and where the chill of the wind does not bring with it the same promise of sickness as it once did for our ancestors. I love and appreciate the Earth, but if there’s ever a time that I’m glad not to live in an age or in a community that exists entirely outdoors, it’s this time of year.

Not to be misleading, however, because Winter has always been my favorite season. Honestly it’s probably a toss-up between Autumn and Winter, and Spring is indescribable upon it’s advent, but I’ve always found the winter to be a quiet, peaceful, mysterious, spiritual time. No wonder most of the world’s saviors have been said to be born on December 25.

I will be very happy when I can sit outside, in the cool breeze of Autumn, reading a book, surrounded by the quietly falling yellow leaves of Autumn, and breathe in air that is so fresh and cool, so full of life, as to be like nothing I have tasted in the air of the Summer. Humidity dies away, making room for the cool hand of Autumn, brushing us not with the cruel and mighty power of the frigid winter, but the comforting and cautionary breeze of the fall.