Magic Club Gets Their Game On

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Austin Abel and Kirstan Mathison engage in a Magic: the Gathering duel. Photo by Colton Welch

Austin Abel and Kirstan Mathison engage in a Magic: the Gathering duel.
Photo by Colton Welch

Every Friday afternoon, members of the Snow College Magic Club assemble for friendly competition, trading cards and socializing, drawn together by their love of the card game Magic: The Gathering.

Magic: the Gathering, known colloquially as Magic, is the world’s premier collectible card game and the inspiration for other popular card games like Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh!. In a game of Magic, players engage in duels, using cards which represent spells or creatures the player can use in-game. These cards are grouped in decks, which are customized to the player’s wishes. Each player starts with 20 life points, and the goal of the game typically is to use these spells and creatures to reduce the opponent’s life total to zero.

The club’s founders, Nathaniel Jones and Julie Belnap, are both veteran Magic players. Belnap explained how the club came to be in an interview during a weekly club meeting in October. She stated, “We played with groups of friends in the past… but it was a very small group of friends, and we knew there were more people who played Magic [at Snow College].” This year, they filled out the paperwork to join Club Rush, and students responded in droves. Over 60 people signed up to participate.

Belnap says the game and club appeal to players intellectually. She likens Magic to “a game of chess with 10,000 different pieces, of which you pick 60 and make a team.” The game requires players to use critical thinking skills as they determine which spells to cast and when to cast them. New players Josh Robison and Jacob Liddell, who joined through Club Rush, both enjoy the social aspect of interacting with other players. “It’s a lot better than chatting on a video game,” Liddell quips.

While the game may seem complicated at first, the club members are more than willing to help out newcomers and teach them. Most players buy their own cards, but a financial investment is not necessary at first, since the club has some starting decks that they give out to new players, and veterans may give away cards they no longer use. The club also hosts paid events where players open booster packs, “draft” cards out of them and keep the drafted cards at the end.

Students interested in joining the Magic Club can join the Snow College Magic Club Facebook page or attend the regular club meeting on the Greenwood Student Center’s second floor, which is typically held on Friday afternoons at 4:30. Veteran players of any format of Magic are also welcome to attend.

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