Last Saturday was the prerelease for the latest Magic the Gathering set: Avacyn Restored. I've been playing Magic online against my good accordion playing bud down in Philly, and thoroughly enjoy it. But I haven't played competitively, or against strangers. For those of you who don't know, at a prerelease, you go and play in a tournament for prizes, essentially. I'm quite the introvert until I get to know someone, so the idea of going to play against strangers . . . didn't really fill me with glee. New environment? Nobody I know there? Not my comfort zone. But my friend really said I should give it a try, and so I went.
First off, I have to say that I really enjoyed the experience. I'm a big game player, and there's something to be said for playing games with people sitting across from you in real life, as opposed to playing them remotely. The people at the store were nice and welcoming, and I didn't end up feeling too out of place, which was a relief. I got to play Magic for an afternoon, and I had a good enough time doing it that I'd really like to do it again sometime.
That said, it was a lot of Magic at once. I think the thing lasted something like 5 hours, which felt long. I wish it were in the evening, instead of in the afternoon--there are just so many other things I have to do that can be done at 1 on a Saturday. Then again, I regularly give up 4 hours of my life to BYU football each week when football's in season, so I suppose this isn't much different. Just not as socially acceptable on a wide scale. Prerelease events are only four times a year.
Building a deck with real cards and a hard time limit was stressful, but I got it done. Playing games where it mattered if I won or lost . . . also stressful, but in a fun way. In the end, I played five rounds. I lost my first 0-2, won my second 2-0, lost my third 1-2 (but really should have won--stupid mistakes on my part), lost my fourth 0-2, then won my fifth 2-0. Over all, 5-11. Could have been better, but not bad for my first time, I felt. For those of you who know/care, my deck was a green/blue with a lot of bounce. It worked more or less like I planned it, except I misinterpreted the rules on a few cards, which got me in trouble in the actual application of the deck.
What did I like most about it? Playing a strategy game. I love games that make me think, and when you're handed a jumble of semi-related cards and told "Make a deck out of these that can beat someone else's deck," it involves a heck of a lot of strategizing and thinking.
So all told, the experiment was a success. Maybe next time, I can have an actual winning record.