It's in the Cards | Sojourners

It's in the Cards

If you ask my kids and their friends, Magic: The Gathering is a wonderful, exciting, and unique game with no decent parallel anywhere on the market. For me it is
all of those, and yet for those of us who seek a better world through social and personal transformation, the game has areas of concern.

Let me state very clearly that this game does not have the negative role-playing aspect of Dungeons & Dragons. Though I have never played that game, I understand it has a tendency to draw some young players into acting out the part of an individual character; the game was blamed for some teen suicides.

Here's a little about the game. Magic, though a card game, has some similarities to chess in that each player has cards that have their own strengths and weaknesses. In chess, checkmate can occur with a rook, bishop, or even a pawn as easily as with the queen. Likewise, in Magic
the most powerful card can be stripped of its effectiveness by a card that is perceived as weak.

Magic creatures require mana from the land to function, a great ecological concept. The five lands are associated with a color to make things easy: Mountain-Red, Plains-White, Forest-Green, Swamp-Black, and Island-Blue. Like all card games, the cards are shuffled before each game, so two players can play repeatedly with the same deck without any of the games being the same. In this way it is a vast improvement over television or video games, which seduce children into hours of mindless inactivity. It also differs from playing solitaire because each player is interacting with an opponent, trying to think of new ways to use a specific card.

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Sojourners Magazine November-December 1995
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