I think of myself a “”gamer”” which is defined as a “video game” + “r”, but the truth is my biggest obsession was probably Magic: The Gathering. I quit because keeping up with it was a big cost in terms of both time and cash. And without the right community of players it can feel lonely. But it is at heart a social game, and some of the best times I have had in my life.
An interesting note is that a lot of people think it is the pack opening that makes the hobby expensive. I disagree. A smart player would not even “bust” packs unless they won them as a prize. The expense came in tournament fees, travel and occasionally buying needed cards. When I was “”smart”” and devoted to Magic, the price of the cards was almost not even part of it[ref]Almost.[/ref].
The time part was huge. And if I was not going to be able to dedicate myself to being Pro-Level good, I was going to have to quit. I still get the itch. This manifests itself in ways like casually playing Yu-Gi-Oh for a few years. I felt it again doing Triple Triad in Final Fantasy 8 over the past few days.
There are two stages to these games. The Romance Stage and the Math Stage. The Romance Stage is what gets me into it. The art on the cards looks neat. There are these characters in the game’s story that interact with each other. There is a history to the game that I do not know about and can dig into. Why was this card banned? What changed the way players played the game?
What keeps me around is the Math Stage. I learn the odds, I learn the strategies. The pieces begin to fall together. If I have this card combination, I can do this. And win more. Then I keep playing. And playing. And find myself spending about four hours on Triple Triad.
When I get out of it, I sell my cards. Or as in FF8 I trade them for useful items that makes the whole choosing Draw over and over again for four hours seem like the sillier choice.