Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Day 21: Spellslingers

Geek and Sundry have another game playing show, called Spellslingers. It is newish and features the host playing Magic: The Gathering with friends. In this episode, he's playing against Felicia Day:

Now, I've played Magic: The Gathering since the fifth grade, which officially makes it the game I've played longest. Not most, because most of my friends had little interest in both the rules or the constantly expanding nature of the game, but I've got a lot of experience with the game. Enough that I feel completely comfortable in saying this:

It is one of the worst games to watch.

This episode was a pretty decent example -- if you're not playing a set of games back to back, it is very easy to have a fluke round where one deck completely steamrolls the other. It's not particularly fun for the loser or viewer, and can be completely unavoidable, unlike most games that are interesting to watch (even Chess, which many people don't enjoy watching, never screws one player over at the start, and there is never a "pre-determined" win or loss). Collectible games in general tend to have this problem due to always having new things released, meaning the players with the most capital will eventually come ahead in repeated playing sessions. Play RISK 100 times, and each round could be anyone's game. Skill can always be a huge factor, but in Magic it takes a backseat to luck.
Storage for some of my extra cards. My favorite part of the game is deck building.

I love Magic. This show did all the bells and whistles it could and looks nice, but I can't imagine sitting through many more episodes. I'll try it and hopefully be wrong -- there's a lot to love about the game and I can, to this day, spend hours with friends just having repeated matches after matches.

One possibility of making this show in particular better would be some sort of limited deck construction or draft. Everyone ends up pulling from the same exact set of cards to make their ideal deck shows an additional level of skill or foresight that is completely lost in pre-constructed play.

... I'm ranting. I'm happy Magic is getting some exposure/love on Geek and Sundry because it's a huge title in geek gaming. It's just not the most exciting to watch raw gameplay (play two out of three and speed up time or show the best of the match ups would be my method).

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