I530 Park Street
Alameda, CA 94501
Tues-Fri. 3:30 to 7:00
Saturday 11 to 6
Sunday 11 to 6
Often open later for events
Hey guys…I’ll keep adding to this as time goes on, but I get asked a lot (particularly by parents) about what games like Magic and Pokemon really are. Here’s a shot at doing geek to English translation.
Magic, Yugioh, and Pokemon are what are known as trading card games(TCG) or collectible card games(CCG). Basically imagine a game made up of collectible baseball cards, where the ability of the card actually comes into play in the game. Their big innovation was in creating a game where the cards that are added to the game can have rules or abilities on them that add to the game rules. Magic was the first game of this type and was created by Richard Garfield over 20 years ago in 1993. There have been billions of the cards printed and there currently over 12 million Magic players. When you strip the game down, it is a lot of math, logic and strategy, and tends to attract a fairly intelligent player base. There is even a college scholarship for magic players. 😉
The games are in their simplest form like the old card game War, where players put down two cards and the higher one wins. Each player has a starting amount of life (or in the case of Pokemon, a fixed number of “prize cards” that the players get to collect when they knock out an opponents Pokemon), and they cast cards in attack, defense and response to try and get the other player to zero.
What is interesting about the game is that ability for cards themselves add and modify the rules of the game, creating an evolving set of game play where it is figuring out the cool combinations of different cards that is the most fun part of the game. Once they get past the pre-made starter decks, it’s all about learning the cards and trying to come up with new ideas for decks and seeing how well they do against other players.. (So yes, its normal for the kids to get excited about the new sets of cards as they come out, as each set adds new possibilities that they can puzzle out.)
Anything for parents to worry about? As a dad of a couple of 13 year olds and an 10 year old, here is my honest answer. There are terrific things about the games, (math, reading, logic, learning to play fair with other people, and in general not having their faces stuck into screens. However, there are a couple of things to that get brought to the surface by having access to things at a younger age that may be of value that provides so really important teachable moments for parents if they are aware of them.