I had an extensive collection of Magic: The Gathering card game while I was service National Service full-time. I know the excitement and satisfaction of sifting through my collection and putting together my version of a customised deck. Most of the time, there were too many ideas crammed in a deck, and during execution (gameplay), the lack of synergy made the deck fail.
Having played the third instalment of Duels of the Planeswalkers (also known as Magic 2013), I still fuss over the inability to fully customise a deck, but having played countless times with the new decks, I’m really glad that I manage to control my rage and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
First of all, we all know that Magic:The Gathering (like any card game out there) involves a lot of chance. After five turns or so, you pretty much know how your ‘battleplan’ is turning out. In a digital game with the AI, I can opt to restart the duel, which I’ve done many times. When playing against a friend (with the multiplayer or with real cards), most of us wants to be the better ‘mage/gentleman’ and finish the match, even though you know you’re losing. Of course, you can always concede and cut the time short, but when the cards did not come out right two thirds of the time, your frustration is going to build up, and this will affect the other player.
Secondly, we’re all busy people, and to align our schedules and meet up for Magic is hard, unless you commit to the weekly neighbourhood gatherings. When playing the digital version, I can launch the game (on the desktop, console or iPad) anytime. No more spending time waiting for the friend at some fast food restaurant and getting chased away by the management because they thought any card game involves gambling. How many of you countered this by creating a mountain of fries on your tray and buying large sized sodas just to ‘justify’ occupying the seats.
Thirdly, and most important, is automated resolves. When Magic: The Gathering introduced mechanics that involves using counters and tokens, I had to bring out my coin pouch and start designating different denominations for specific purposes. Twenty-cent coins will be used for creature tokens and five-cent coins are usually useful for those (+1/+1) counters. It gets messy when the games stall and a certain creature begins amassing counters every upkeep. On a rare occasion, my friend was using dollar notes because we ran out of coins. As avid we are about the game, we did not feel it’s worth spending on those coloured tokens. And then it happened – those ‘enhancements’ became too overwhelming and one of us became lethargic about the process. How many of you chose to quietly stop about the automatic resolves just so your friend is not pissed, and probably make excuses about meeting up for the next match, just because your cards are too powerful?
I was reminded of this when I was playing Magic 2013 against the AI a few hours ago. Here’s what it came to in the final minutes of the match:
Let me highlight for you:
I was playing a pure blue deck, which has a lot of flying creatures.
I have ten copies of ‘Celestial Force’ in play, which gave me 3 life each at every upkeep.
I have five copies of ‘Ajani’s Pridemate’ which gets +1/+1 whenever I gain life. They grew to 254/254 each.
I have a copy of ‘Archon of Redemption’ which allows me to gain life according to the creature’s power when a creature with flying comes under my control.
I have a copy of ‘Talrand, Sky Summoner’ which puts a 2/2 blue flying creature under my control whenever I play a sorcery or instant spell.
See how they complement each other?
These cards boost my life up to 1108, something that would have been impossible to track with real life cards.
I wouldn’t have been able to achieve this state if not for this card, which lets me put copies of any creature in play under my control.
The ‘Ajani’s Pridemate’ which grew very quickly and was at 254/254 each, and that helped to stall the opponent from attacking.
Truthfully, the match dragged for hours and I even fell asleep at one point. Thankfully, playing on the iPad means the game is ‘always on.
When I realised about the match the next day (about ten hours later), I resumed playing.
This would have never been possible when playing against another human player. Imagine if the other player is your girlfriend/boyfriend.