Game Guides

So why is Yugioh Banned at D20 Games, anyway?

I just got an email from someone looking for a place to have his 12 year old son to come and play Yugioh, and I was about to tell him the tale of why it is banned at the store, and why I recommend steering him away from Yugioh when I realized that it’s been a long time since I told the story and it was probably worth putting it where everybody could see.

Yugioh is one of the big collectible card games, and was a pretty big part of the store when I acquired it back in 2011.  We would get 40-60 people coming in on Sundays, and it represented about 1/3 the business of the store.  But I gave it a partial ban in 2012, followed by a complete ban after we had the big break in that almost killed the store.

The day D20 was broken into

So Why Ban Yugioh?

So with all due modesty, I’m a good guy, and have a firm but gentle touch with people, including tweens and teens. (I used to teach Karate to kids.)  I can pull people aside and talk to them about behaviors that are not ok without shaming them or making them feel angry or resentful. And I spent a lot of time getting to know the community, participating and getting to know the individual players.  But our Yugioh days contained 90% of the trouble we had at the store. It seemed any deck or cards left attended would be stolen the moment someone’s back was turned, we had a huge amount of issues with people taking advantage of others in trades, bad language and people getting really angry, sometimes to the point of fights over games.

After the break in, I went to a big conference of game store owners from around the country and was shocked to find out that the problems we had had were present at stores as far away as Philadelphia, and were only with Yugioh.  I spent a long time trying to figure out why this was…it was just a game, after all.  Finally I came to a theory, and the more I’ve thought about it, the more I became convinced it is correct.   There seems to be a fundamental design flaw in the game end’s up not only fostering, but training bad behaviors.  Those have become part of the tone/culture of poor behavior/ethics that riddles the Yugioh community.

Yugioh-Magic “fixed”?:  Yugioh was invented by a guy that was an old Magic player.  He hated the idea of what’s called set rotation. (Basically, only the last couple of years of cards are used in the most common competitive format.)  He wanted all the cards that were created in his game to be used all the time. The problem with that has to do with the nature of collectible card games.  See the cool part of these games is that there are basic rules, but the new cards get to introduce new rules that change the game.  That’s really great, but as you get more and more rules, if you aren’t careful, you get combos of the card that just came out with a card from 5 years ago that becomes powerful enough to break the game.   Games like Magic the Gathering and Pokemon spend a huge amount of time looking out for these kinds of combos, but Yugioh doesn’t do quite as good a job.  Add that by having all the cards available to play with, after a few years the game started to be defined by these game breaking combos.  What it meant was the best decks don’t just win, they utterly crush not so great decks.

Badly training the Young; So here is where things start to go wrong.  Imagine you are a 8 or 9 year-old, taking your first deck to go play with your buddies at school.  You don’t just lose, you get crushed.  You go home to your parents, tears in your eyes from the humiliation.  If your parents have means, they come to a store like we used to be and buy better cards so they don’t have to see that look again.  If not, the kid has several choices.

  • “This game is stupid, I’m not playing it anymore”.  Probably a good choice, but kids aren’t usually wired that way.
  • Trade for better cards.  This seems good on the surface, but the cards they need are worth many, many times what the cards they have are worth.  So they end up learning, at a pretty early age, to take advantage of less knowledgeable players.  This is something we deal with directly in all of the collectible card games, and when a kid gets taken advantage of, they can either decide to talk advantage of the next person or to never make anyone else feel as bad as they do now.  It is one of the fundamental building blocks to becoming an honest person or not.
  • Stealing: See the deck that beat them in the kids backpack….

This isn’t the majority of kids that end up down a bad path, but it is enough that starts to seriously influence the ethics of the community.   There are a couple of additional things about the game that complete the story.

  • Lotto Packs.  All collectible card games have the “oh, what’s in this one” aspect that has been part of collectible cards since baseball cards.  It’s true of Magic, Pokemon, etc. But Yugioh is an extreme with this.  It was well known that of a box of 24 packs had about 8 that were were worth anything at all.  It was totally common to watch people open packs, look for the ultra rare and throw the rest of the pack out if it wasn’t there.  With this level of gambling mentality, it affects how people view the ethics of trading.
  • Turn one win fury:  With all the combos that could win the game running around, it becomes almost a coin flip to see who finds their combo first.  If you’ve spent hundreds of dollars on your deck and your opponent gets his combo out first and locks you down, people tend to get, shall we say, cranky.  This is why we had so many near fights during tournaments.
  • “Dealing” trading cards:  Because the cards that make these auto win combos are so critical in playing, they become fairly valuable.  Add this to the culture of it being ok to take advantage of other people during trades, and you get people that are acting almost like the not so great version of dealers with the valuable cards.
  • Unclear Rules=different kind of players. The unspoken truth of the kids who really learn to play Pokemon and the Magic players is that it tends to attract fairly intelligent people.  Trying to figure out how to make different rules work together is a super interesting and challenging thing to do.  The rules on the Yugioh cards can be so difficult to understand and obscure that instead of people figuring out their own cool things, they hear from someone else how that new cool deck work.  That means that you get a fairly large percentage of the community that plays just for the chance to beat each other, or to try and make money off their wheeling and dealing for cards.   There is often a more aggressive group of players that joins then what you would imagine would be attracted to playing a non gambling card game.

Not all Yugioh Players are bad, but enough: I’m not saying that this affects everyone, or even the majority of players. But it does change the tone of the community, the ethics and how they treat each other.  I believe this enough that even though Yugioh was a full third of my business, I made the decision, as both a store owner and a father to ban the game utterly from the store.  This was not something I did lightly or without a great deal of thought and consideration. Not only no sales, but no Yugioh cards are allowed at the store, and I actively do my best to encourage kids away from playing the game. I’m sorry for the good folks who like the game, but after 5 years, I have never regretted it, and to answer a frequently asked question, will never bring it back to the store.  (I could use my access to sell it online and make a decent profit, but once I believed it was a bad influence, as a dad, I couldn’t do even that.)

But my kid wants to play Yugioh: For parents who’s kids (frequently Pokemon players who are looking to move on) are getting interested in Pokemon, I would strongly suggest gentle urging towards Magic instead. (You can bring them in and I’ll provide parental support.  I may be the Peanuts “wah, wah” parents to my own kids, but for other kids, I’m the guy behind the counter at D20.  I can use that bully pulpit to help with this so they don’t just end up seeing it as forbidden fruit.)   Magic was the first of the games, and has the good stuff of the collectible card games, (social interaction, really using your brain, etc.) without that level of negative side effects. Probably the best feature is they can do what is called limited play. (Basically show up and do events where they play with the cards from the packs they get as part of the event.  Everyone starts even, and it is a chance for them to play with the packs they collect.  There are even team events that can be played with a buddy or even parent.)  You still want to make sure they trade fair, and are get interested in the playing, not just opening packs, but it’s a good choice I have no problem recommending.  Tell you the truth, I hesitated talking publicly about my observations about Yugioh, because I didn’t want that to get generalized unfairly to the rest of the collectible card games.

D20 Hot Game List…

D20 Hot Game List:
  • Back in stock…4 copies of Xanthar’s Guide to Everything–the special Edition!!!Image result for xanathar's guide to everything
  • Harry Potter Hogwart’s Battle-Cooperative Deck Building Game: We’ve sold through 3 orders of this great cooperative deckbuilding game that has you take the role of Harry or his buddies to battle to keep the minions of he who should…well you know the rest, from taking over different locations before finally defending the school itself.  SOLD OUT
  • Potion Explosion:  My favorite find at this year’s Comicon.  This game features a real life bejeweled affect 
  • Evolution,Evolution Flight, and Evolution Climate Change.  The first Evolution is one of our staff picks, a great game where you are trying to evolve the most species, eat the most food, or go carnivore  eat the most of your opponents
  • Star Trek Ascendancy…an amazing game where
    Star Trek Ascendancy

    players chose one of (currently) three factions from the Star Trek myhos and go exploring the galaxy in their own particular, how do you say, style. (The Federation gets their success from exploration, the Klingon’s can, literally, not back down from any chance at glorious combat, and the Romulans, slip around, not letting you know which way they decide to go.

  • The Pandemic folks have a slate of 3 great offerings beyond their normal great coop “Let’s keep the world cured and happy, despite itself” race against unpredictable time game.  Pandemic Iberia just came in yesterday.  And Pandemic Cthulhu is a great variation that  uses the same game play pattern, but somehow feels like a whole new, and very fun game.  And then there is probably my fav. game from last year, Pandemic Legacy.  Legacy games are this new concept that basically says “what if what happened in the board game we just played today stuck with the game forever…like the board changed, the rules changed, the world changed.” It’s not only super fun, but is one of the best games ever for building a regular game night.  There are twelve sealed packets or boxes in the game that get opened each subsequent time you play, so instead of “what should we play tonight” you get “man, what’s going to happen next?!?”  Just great…
  • Kill Doctor Lucky:  This is a great game that was out of print until the creator finally hammer-locked the rights back from an utterly disengaged publisher. It’s the exact opposite of Clue….take a minute and let that process. 😉  Yep, instead of trying to find the homicidal miscreant, you are trying to get alone with the wandering doctor where no one can witness your evil doings and grab those honors for yourself.
  • On top of all those, there are new versions/add-ons for
  • And honorable mentions to:
    • Fuse
    • Dr. Eureka-A fast and fun game where the “pour” can inherit the game….(it’s a great Dad pun….just gotta know the game)
    • Compoundedcomp_box
    • Mice and Mystics (back in stock)–great self running D&D game

 

D20 Hot Game List…

D20 Hot Game List:
  •  

    Harry Potter Deck Building Game

    Harry Potter Hogwart’s Battle-Cooperative Deck Building Game: We’ve sold through 3 orders of this great cooperative deckbuilding game that has you take the role of Harry or his buddies to battle to keep the minions of he who should…well you know the rest, from taking over different locations before finally defending the school itself.

  • Evolution,Evolution Flight, and Evolution Climate Change.  The first Evolution is one of our staff picks, a great game where you are trying to evolve the most species, eat the most food, or go carnivore  eat the most of your opponents
  • Star Trek Ascendancy…an amazing game where
    Star Trek Ascendancy

    players chose one of (currently) three factions from the Star Trek myhos and go exploring the galaxy in their own particular, how do you say, style. (The Federation gets their success from exploration, the Klingon’s can, literally, not back down from any chance at glorious combat, and the Romulans, slip around, not letting you know which way they decide to go.

  • The Pandemic folks have a slate of 3 great offerings beyond their normal great coop “Let’s keep the world cured and happy, despite itself” race against unpredictable time game.  Pandemic Iberia just came in yesterday.  And Pandemic Cthulhu is a great variation that  uses the same game play pattern, but somehow feels like a whole new, and very fun game.  And then there is probably my fav. game from last year, Pandemic Legacy.  Legacy games are this new concept that basically says “what if what happened in the board game we just played today stuck with the game forever…like the board changed, the rules changed, the world changed.” It’s not only super fun, but is one of the best games ever for building a regular game night.  There are twelve sealed packets or boxes in the game that get opened each subsequent time you play, so instead of “what should we play tonight” you get “man, what’s going to happen next?!?”  Just great…
  • Seafall: So speaking of Legacy Games….the next game from the one of the co-creators of Pandemic Legacy’s next game is a legacy game on the high seas.  We only have two of these in stock, so call if you want one.
  • Web of Spies:  So out of the blue, the creator of this game dropped one off to see if we might want to Image result for web of spiescarry it.  That I called him back as soon as I could and ordered twelve, should give you a notion of how much we liked it.  This is a blend of Star Realms like deck-building with a Risk like hunting down of the five spies of each of your opponents.
  • Kill Doctor Lucky:  This is a great game that was out of print until the creator finally hammer-locked the rights back from an utterly disengaged publisher. It’s the exact opposite of Clue….take a minute and let that process. 😉  Yep, instead of trying to find the homicidal miscreant, you are trying to get alone with the wandering doctor where no one can witness your evil doings and grab those honors for yourself.
  • On top of all those, there are new versions/add-ons for
  • And honorable mentions to:
    • Fuse
    • Dr. Eureka-A fast and fun game where the “pour” can inherit the game….(it’s a great Dad pun….just gotta know the game)
    • Compoundedcomp_box
    • Legendary-Firefly and Big Trouble Little China
    • Mice and Mystics (back in stock)–great self running D&D game
    • and, yes, Apex…a well reviewed Dinosaur based Deck building game.

 

Zombie Conspiracy – A D20 Special

Zombie Conspiracy is A D20 homebrew special game.  We took Conspiracy, Wizards special multiplayer drafting set, and blatantly messed with the rules to make a game that is perfect for 3-6 buddies who just want to spend a couple of hours cheerfully womping the heck out of each other without all the waiting between rounds and not getting to play with yer buddies of regular magic.  Conspiracy was a cool idea, a draft format that not only was designed to play with 3-6 people all in one big group, but also had cards that messed around with the draft.

So here is the thing….We really liked the idea of Conspiracy…but when we played it there were a couple of things that just weren’t that much fun.

The first problem we found that was that as much fun as it was to play, if you spent all that time drafting a cool deck and got knocked out in the first ten minutes, it didn’t just make you “ah, I’ll get you back” mad, more the “don’t sleep with both eyes closed anymore, because I will kill you in your sleep” mad.  Second was what we call in Commander, the Fluffy Bunny Syndrome….people tending to hang out, doing their best “Don’t mind me, I’m just a harmless little bunny” impressions, trying to be the least threatening person at the table while waiting for enough stuff to come out to do their alpha strike.  Boring….

Enter Zombie Land—How our version works is that you get points for knocking out other players and if you are knocked out then, well, you rise from the dead and come back in.  We’ve played it a bunch and it works great.

How it works

  • 1 point for each other player you knock out.  You get a bonus of one if you never get knocked out.
  • If you get knocked out, you pick 2 lands to put in play and then take 3 rebuilding (no attacking or interacting with other players) turns and come back in. (If your turn comes up before you are back to rebuild, skip it until it comes back to you so other players don’t have to wait.)
  • Being milled out does not count as a kill unless you directly force the player to draw that last card.
  • The game goes on for 1-1:30 hours, depending on players preference (and how long the store is open.)  Players with the top half scores get bonus packs from a pool of 1 pack per player.

 

About Conspiracy.

Conspiracy Video

What are the Cards?

The Mechanics of the new set

You can’t have a good conspiracy on your own.  And that is the secret sauce to the special Magic set , coming out on June 6th.  This draft -centric, multi-player set is all about what we can do for, er, to each other.   This is a special set, much like Modern Masters, with limited initial qualities, though they say that there will be some reprinting after (we are being wary..squirreling away our boxes to let people play with until we know the score.)

Messing with a Draft: Drafting is one of the most fun things you can do in magic. And this set takes the standard “get 3 packs, open 1, pick a card and pass to the left/right” and tosses it in the blender.  One of our customers described it beautifully by saying that it “broke the 4th wall” of a draft, and I think that’s true. In this set, there are cards that start the game during the draft itself, letting people mess with each other as the draft is going on.  (BTW…all Conspiracy drafts are casual format–will of WOTC.)

Tiny Leaders-A new Magic format….

Welcome to Tiny Leaders.   We will be playing the format during Tiny Leaders Thursdays.

This is a new format of magic created by Bramwell Tackaberry (who still maintains a Facebook group dedicated to the format… in the spirit of Commander, but designed as a 1 on 1 format instead of for group games.

Here is the summary of the big rules:

Uses Commander rules-except:

  1. 50 card decks (including a “commander”)
  2. Cards must have converted mana cost (add up the total mana cost) of no more then 3.
  3. Players start with 25 life.
  4. 10 card sideboard-decks must stay at exactly 50 cards
  5. Best 2 of 3 game matches.
  6. Ignore Commander Damage rules
The Banned List: Our list is still undergoing changes, but the cards currently present are:
  • Ancestral Recall
  • Balance
  • Black Lotus
  • Black Vise
  • Channel
  • Chaos Orb
  • Contract From Below
  • Counterbalance
  • Darkpact
  • Demonic Attorney
  • Demonic Tutor
  • Earthcraft
  • Edric, Spymaster of Trest
  • Falling Star
  • Fastbond
  • Goblin Recruiter
  • Hermit Druid
  • Imperial Seal
  • Jeweled Bird
  • Karakas
  • Library of Alexandria
  • Mana Crypt
  • Mana Drain
  • Mana Vault
  • Metalworker
  • Mind Twist
  • Mishra’s Workshop
  • Mox Emerald, Jet, Pearl, Ruby, and Sapphire
  • Necropotence
  • Painter’s Servant
  • Shahrazad
  • Skullclamp
  • Sol Ring
  • Strip Mine
  • Survival of the Fittest
  • Sword of Body and Mind
  • Time Vault
  • Time Walk
  • Timetwister
  • Timmerian Fiends
  • Tolarian Academy
  • Umezawa’s Jitte
  • Vampiric Tutor
  • Yawgmoth’s Will
Additionally, these Legendary creatures cannot be used as Commanders:
  • Derevi, Empyrial Tactician
  • Erayo, Soratami Ascendant
  • Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary
Play Rules: There are no “free” mulligans.  Tiny Leaders uses the standard “Pairs mulligan” rule: the player shuffles his or her hand into their library and draws one fewer card than their last hand, a player may not mulligan a hand with 0 cards
If a commander would be put into a graveyard from anywhere or exiled from anywhere (so long as it is face-up or a player can look at it face down,) it’s owner may choose to put it in the command zone.
Each time you cast your commander, the next time you cast it from your command zone, it will cost (2) colourless mana more to play.Format Exclusive Cards: Three generals are available for use, to fill the colour identity holes left by no legendary creature existing with that colour identity and mana cost.

1. Mardu [Legendary Creature] WBR (2/2)
2. Sultai [Legendary Creature] UBG (2/2)
3. Jeskai [Legendary Creature] WUR (2/2)

 

Parents back to school Guide for Trading Card Games

Or how to send your kid off to school with their beloved trading cards and get both back happy and whole…

Private Note to (fellow) Parents: Ok…now that school is back in session, a few parent to parent bits of advice about collectible card games during the school year.  

First…what are TCG’s (Trading card games)?  Imagine making a game with baseball cards, where the what’s on the card can affect the game.  The games are played by putting together decks of cards to battle each other.

What is good about the games (from a parent standpoint?) If you strip down the fantasy elements and pictures, what you get is math, logic, motivated reading and a chance to get the kids face to face, not face to screen.   They are also great motivators for getting homework, chores and other needed carrots to counterbalance our sticks. See our other post, the Guide to Trading Card Games, for the full skinny.  But the rest of this is specifically to help us parents in understanding the deal, and getting ahead of potential issues that might come up.    (You may notice that we don’t include Yugioh in our list of these games. Yugioh is a very popular game, but we do not encourage kids to play it, and in fact have banned it at D20 Games, something we did not do lightly.)

  1. source chzbgr.com

    Trading Issues: 80% of issues between kids that come up with kids at school regarding cards have to do with what end up being unfair (either intentional or unintentional) trades between the kids. Some of these cards can be worth real money, and nothing makes a kid feel worse then discovering that an older or more experience player took advantage of them.  As we say to the kids: there is no piece of paper that is worth a friend.

    We have three specific bits of advice for the kids regarding this:

    • Trade-backs are ALWAYS ok.. Make sure that your kid understands to always make the agreement that it is ok to trade back cards within a week or so, provided that the cards are still in the same shape, This way, if they go back home and find out that it was a bad deal, like they got pressured, or if they just want their cards back, they can do it.
    • Check prices if you aren’t sure;  For Magic cards, we use Channelfireball.com for our pricing (though we do $1 min for rares and .50 for other cards). Or for Pokemon (and if you aren’t sure) you can always look on eBay. (BTW..always look at Sold listings, not regular.  You can see what people really buy things for.)  For Pokemon, we use the Sold listings on Ebay.
    • If bad trades happen, remember the feeling, and be a good guy: No matter what you do, there will come a point where there is a rotten trade that will make your kid feel just horrible.  Believe it or not, this is a key (and good) moment for them to have under your care. They have the choice next time to take advantage of someone like they were taken advantage of, or to make sure to never make someone else feel the way they felt.
  2. Avoiding Stolen stuff at school:  Kids will want to bring in their cards to both play with other kids and to show off their good cards.  Inevitably, when they aren’t looking, something will disappear, and much badness and sadness will ensue. A few ways to avoid this are the following.
    • Names in deck boxes….make sure to put enough info not only on the outside,but on the inside to make sure the decks can get back to you guys. (The outside tends to rub off)
    • Card sleeves…These cost about $4 and not only protect the cards (and keep decks from disappearing into the big mush of cards back home) but keep kids cards from getting mixed up with the person they are playing with. It also provides quick identification if a card starts walking away.
    • Side-Loading Binders:  Lots of kids bring their good cards in the same box as their deck. What happens is that while they are playing a game, someone comes over to look at their trades, and while the kid is distracted, a card or two gains feet.   Bringing in a small binder for the trades/show off cards is a better idea. We strongly advise getting binders that have what are called side-loading pages.  Rather then putting in the cards in slots in the top, and having the turn it over, dump out problem, these go in from the sides in a way that doesn’t fall out.  More importantly it is kind of tricky to get the cards out, making it MUCH more obvious if someone is being a little light fingered.  Remember, just as with the deck boxes, make sure there is enough info somewhere inside the binder to get them back to you.
  3. Keeping Score:  A huge number of silly fights happen between kids because they try and keep the score for the games in their heads. At some point, inevitably, you will get the “but you are at 6!  No, I’m at 13 argument that leaves each kid thinking the other is a lying jerk. Paper, Dice or even some special deckboxes with score wheels built in are a great solution to this.
  4. Losing is just fine: Reminding kids that every time they lose, they learn something new is great.  Kids will often get so tied up with the social value of winning that they get tempted to cheat, not really putting together how much worse the rep they will get for cheating.
  5. Packs are great homework/housework motivators.  Kids that are playing Pokemon or Magic are always seriously motivated by getting to open a new pack.  While my own kids may hear me with the “wah-wah” sound of a Peanuts parent, for other people, I’m the guy behind the counter at D20, a bully pulpit if there ever was one.  Give me a nod and I’m happy to back-up whatever you are working on.  Tying a pack a week to getting the homework done is a great way to do some positive motivation.  (We’re working on something more official as time goes on…keep tuned)

Guide to Tabletop Games# 2 Deck Building Games

 

If games like Magic and Pokemon (Trading Card Games) are games where you build a deck to go and play each other, deck builders are games where you start with tiny decks, and part of playing the game is competing to acquire the cards to make your deck better. Most people who like the trading card games end up really liking deck building games, though they may not realize it.  The other big difference with deck building games is that while there are usually expansions, there isn’t the collectible card component so when you buy the game, you are usually all set.

The standard mechanic in the game is to have a set of cards that are used to buy stuff(usually better cards that you then add to your deck)  and another that are used to defeat stuff (usually to gain you points).  A typical starting deck for these games is between 10-12, with have drawn and played each turn.  As soon as you acquire a new card, it goes into your discard pile, and when you’ve used all the cards you have, that pile is shuffled up and becomes your new deck.  The more cool stuff you acquire, the better your deck becomes. Another common feature of the games is that there tend to be factions of cards that help each other out, oh, and the really great cards tend to cost a lot more.  It is almost always a strategic struggle between decking to add cards that give you more of the getting stuff power vs. the attacking power.

The first major deck building game was the medieval themed Dominion back in 2008

Dominion

 

 

Other great deck building games include the Ascension series as well as the Marvel Legendary Deckbulder series.

Star_Realms_Game
Star Realms

The most recent (and store favorite) add to the game is Star Realms, which changes the attack stuff mechanic, to attack, well, the other players…very, very, very fun.

From Wired Review of Ascension

Guide to Tabletop Games: #1 TCG/CCG (Trading Card Games)–Magic/Pokemon/Yugioh etc…

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.)

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From the parents point of view, the positive aspects of the games are encouraging reading, math, and logic skills.  It is also good for creating opportunities to learn fair play, though that benefits a lot from our guidance.  Some of the rarest cards can end up being valuable ($100 or more), so talk to your kids about keeping them safe at school, as well as being both careful and fair in their trading with others.  Keeping their cards in sleeves and in a deck box with their name on it will both keep the value of the cards intact and make it less likely for their cards to get mixed up with other kids by accident.
Common Questions

  • Big difference between Magic, Yugioh and Pokémon: The way things get into play…Magic uses land that gets reused every turn to put different cards in play, Pokémon has energy that attaches to the Pokémon and let them do what they need to do, and Yugioh lets the player give up some of their smaller creatures to get bigger ones, called tributing .  Magic also lends itself to limited play like Drafts and Sealed events where everyone starts out even with new packs of cards and builds decks on the spot.
  • Do adults play these games too? Yep…there are lots of adults that play each of the games.We get most adults on the magic side, but quite a bit on the and Pokémon as well. For those who play, we see a lot of very nice connecting time with the kids.

For Parents:

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.

  • Trading Fair: This is one of the first time that kids will get their hands on portable items that might be worth some money. It can bring out some strong desires that lead to some experiences with theft or making unfair deals on both sides.  When this happens, and it likely will, it is a key parenting opportunity to make sure that they understand how that feels and become determined to never make anyone else feel bad, rather then deciding, “well, I got taken advantage of, I’ll do the same thing to the next person I trade with.
    Ben’s Advice—Make sure that they always agree to trade backs being ok (within a week or so and provided the cards are still in as good shape as when they were traded.)  The standard thing that I say to kids is “there is no piece of paper that is worth losing a friend over.
  • One More Pack, just one more Pack… It’s super fun to open the packs…they could be anything until they are opened and the fun of opening and discovering a golden ticket of a card is a great feeling.  But when the desire to open the packs completely eclipses the fun of playing the game or even sharing the cards with their friends, it can expose something that we, as parents, don’t usually get to see until much later (and usually when they are in the never listen to us phase.) If they keep wanting to trade all their good cards for a chance to open another pack, that is an impulse very akin to gambling, and one where I’ll have a chat with the kids to make sure they are more interested in playing the games  that is an early version of being susceptible to gambling. Though both of these are a little scary, they are a great chance to get to work through these things at an age where the kids may still actually listen. 😉 On the other hand, the math, logic, reading and general sense of using their brains, combined with staying engaged with other people rather then computer or video screens makes it a great thing for kids to get into.

 

 

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