Since its inception in 1991, the card game “Magic: The Gathering” has generated a huge buzz that influences many other games and has amassed over 12 million players worldwide, including a group at UCC.

UCC’s MTG players congregate in the student center to play daily. They came from high schools in Sutherlin, Roseburg and Myrtle Creek which also had niche groups who regularly played the game. One student even started playing back in middle school.

One of the appeals of the game is that there’s always something to learn. “I enjoy the tactics and the strategy; it’s a tactical game,” said Scarlet who plays at UCC.

Because the game is constantly being updated and expanded with new cards and sets, the players explained that “Magic” always feels new and fresh. “You can never know all of it,” said a student who was focused on shuffling his deck at one of their recent games. Another student had only recently started playing and was actively learning more about the game by playing with his friends. Even when faced with a loss, a student explained that you can learn from your failures by developing new strategies and tactics to combat techniques used against you.

The “Magic: The Gathering” website’s rule page explains that each player starts with 20 “life.” To win, a player must knock their opponent’s life to zero by playing creature cards to harm them. To keep an opponent from using their creatures to harm, players must find a way to get rid of their creatures by using another creature card or a spell card. Games quickly become a race between players to deal 20 damages first.

The game has been around since 1991. Richard Garfield had developed a board game he called “RoboRally” which he hoped to publish. He went on to meet with a new publishing company, Wizards of the Coast, who at the time were working in the basement of CEO Peter Adkison’s home. Adkinson liked the idea of “RoboRally” but declined to publish the game due to the lack of resources or knowhow on how to successfully publish a board game. He asked Garfield to go back and try to develop a more simple and portable game that could be played in minutes. Garfield, coming up with a completely new idea, created the first version of “Magic: The Gathering.” In 1993, “Magic” was then introduced to the world at the Origins Game Fair in Dallas, Texas where its popularity since exploded.

At the UCC game, players seated at the table tend to use unique card sleeves for protecting their cards. Some are colored, and one player even had donuts displayed on his. “They add some personality to the game,” the student said, and they help keep them protected so that “you can trade them back at a higher price” as the cards can be quite expensive. Cost for sets range from $15 to $40 on average. The protective sleeves also help make shuffling easier.

Tournaments are often held for the game. Locally, tournaments can be found going on at places such as Nexus Games in Roseburg. Other places can be found nearby by using the store and event locator on the Wizards of the Coasts’ website. There are no cash prizes for these tournaments though. Some tournaments, such as the Pro Tour and World Championship, can be played for the chance to win cash prizes up to $100,000. These tournaments take place all over the world at conventions and can include thousands of participants.

For anyone eager to try their hand at “Magic: The Gathering,” booster packs and decks can be bought online at game and hobby shops and Walmart. Rules can be found online on the “Magic: The Gathering” website, or players can learn during games such as those found in the UCC student center. The players tend to play during the afternoons, Monday through Friday. •