On Monday evenings from 5 to 10 p.m., University of New Mexico students can immerse themselves in a different magical world at “Magic: The Gathering Club,” which focuses on building a community at UNM centered around the card game.
Magic: The Gathering is a collectable trading card game by Wizards of the Coast built around deck-building, where players can cast spells and summon different creatures to try to eliminate their opponents, according to club member Daniel Kinghorn.
“There are many different ways to play, but they all allow a lot of creativity to build decks that are fun and exciting for all kinds of players,” Kinghorn wrote to the Daily Lobo. “It’s one of the only places where 15 birds can fight an eldritch monster and win.”
Curtis Madden, the club president, finds that one of the joys of the game is building decks: from decks that will benefit you in the game to ones that are just for fun, like Madden’s bad deck made up entirely of crabs.
“Some cards are better than others and if you build a deck of cards that are not very good, you won't win. You can still build (that) deck,” Madden said. “I have a deck full of bad cards, but I love it anyway.”
Since joining in fall 2021, Madden and Kinghorn have seen the club grow from a small gathering of around eight to an average of 20 or more people at their weekly meetings at the UNM Esports space, which is located at the UNM Engineering and Science Computer Pod. On Fridays, there is also a promotional meeting in the Student Union Building, intended to advertise the club to potential members.
“The club has expanded a lot since I first joined. Originally, it was the same eight or so people playing games each week,” Kinghorn wrote. “As time went on, we started getting new players and hosting events like drafts and friendly tournaments.”
The club hosts tournaments at the end of every month. Members also have the opportunity to go to bigger tournaments outside of the club, which the club hopes to participate in more of as time goes on. However, being tournament-ready is nowhere near a requirement when joining this club.
“We have a lot of new players, probably more newer players than older players … I've taught more people to play Magic than a lot of people I know at this point because that's probably our main player basis,” Madden said.
Kinghorn sees the welcoming atmosphere as one of the main purposes of the club, For him, the group creates a “safe space” for him and others to play the game without outside pressure.
“I love playing at my local game store, but they tend to have a pretty competitive environment and sometimes I just want to sit around the table and chat while I play,” Kinghorn wrote.
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Not only does the club offer a safe space to learn the game, but it also provides a unique way to spend your time, according to Madden.
“There are a lot of people who make their own fun and go out to bars or whatever, go dancing, but there are also a lot of people, especially freshmen, who come to college and are just like ‘What …’” Madden said. “So I like having structure because for a lot of people, that is what gets them out of the dorm room.”
Elizabeth Secor is the multimedia editor for the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @esecor2003