The Magic at Stevenson Union

Bryan Jones, Staff Writer

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The Southern Oregon University campus has a unique club for those who enjoy the gaming genre. This is the Magic Club who meet twice weekly in the Stevenson Union. This classic role playing game is a favorite among many even though the explosion of computer based games has challenged the primacy of such in person card activities. The club has a diehard group that marches on into the new century despite the technology crowd overwhelming them. All are welcome from fanatic to the casual player who just wants to observe and have some laughs.

The campus based group boasts a pool of some 50 players although perhaps seven or eight is a typical turnout on any given night. To those unfamiliar with Magic, The Gathering, picture a cross between Dungeons and Dragons and Mortal Kombat, sort of. It uses a deck of cards and players have a set of abilities, spells, and weapons they use to prevail in adventures and quests. This really sells the game short however and there are many layers of complexities and strategies and tactics. The game began in the late nineties and had a reign  as one of the top game systems in its time. As new computer games came on line the large number of players started to decline. But to those who love the game, they have allowed it to survive with a loyal base who still enjoy it on a regular basis.

The game is rather fast paced like 7 card poker yet has the thinkers` qualities of chess to some extent as well. There was a strong sense of cohesion and group buy in on this gaming night yet when asked, each member seemed to have his own unique reason to play and enjoy the game. One player said he played because he enjoyed the challenge of the competition. Another said he “played to get good cards” which speaks to the rich visual artistic qualities of the game. But another student said “ I started to play for love of the game but since then I met so many good people that changed my life.” Clearly there is a very pronounced sub-text here as far as the social interaction and interpersonal connections. One can close your eyes and easily see this group playing poker in a smoky saloon in  the old West in the sense that the personal qualities of the game are often as much a draw as the game itself.

So as many similar games may go the way of the dinosaurs this seems to have an appeal which may cheat extinction. Just as timeless classics like chess have survived the cruel challenges of father time, this game may as well. A bit premature in predicting but worth checking out if you are walking the halls of the 2nd floor of the S.U. some evening. At the very least the game offers good clean fun. No expensive extras are needed and it is absent all the  “in your face” graphic violence prevalent elsewhere in gaming circles.

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