I’ve collected all sorts of things over the years. I’ve hunted down arrowheads, saved odd coins I’ve come across, and even collected Buckeyes from trees around our family farm. When I was a kid, my big collecting focus was on baseball cards. I loved picking up a pack when I was out with my parents. I have many fond memories of sitting in the back of the car and peeling back the wax sealed paper on the pack to see what cards I got and which ones I could possibly trade to complete my collection.
When I was no longer allowed to buy more cards (my parents helped keep my buying activity in check), I would resort to my Beckett price guide and go through my Topps and Donruss stacks to see how much my collection was worth. Of course I never sold a single card but it was always fun to see the “what if” price of my collection.
Fast forward to around 1995. There I was at the University of Florida, sitting around with some friends who had just introduced me to a little known collectible card game called Magic: The Gathering. Little did I know at the time just how addictive the game could become and how profitable it would be for those running the company (which was eventually bought by Hasbro).
For those unfamiliar with the card game, it draws from concepts of other role-playing games for content (think Dungeons and Dragons) and creates a “land” full of wizards, creatures and artifacts all doing “battle” during the game. Each player takes turn using a deck of cards they’ve constructed (usually 60 cards) and fights the other player who in turn defends themselves, cast spells, etc.
If that is a little too much nerd for your tastes, that’s okay. The game does draw it’s fair share of “neck beards” and “basement dwellers” to the table. But keep in mind that for fiscal year 2013, the brand’s annual revenue was something like $250 million. Not bad for a geek game. And it’s only picking up momentum by migrating to all major online platforms like Xbox and Steam.
Although playing online can be fun, the tangible collectible card game is where the real fun is to be had. Countless hours can be spent pouring through your collection of cards to pick the right combination to play an opponent or to simply catalog your collection. Plus, there is a small amount of joy that comes from watching the expression on your friends face as you outwit them during a match. Something you don’t get while playing online.
If you are interested in starting your own collection of Magic: The Gathering collectible playing cards, then go pick up a couple of starter decks, grab a like-minded friend, and settle down for some good times. Just be careful. While matches usually only take 20 minutes or so, you might find yourself wanting to play another and another and…