Game Play: This is a strategic card game where character’s draw and play cards to try to reduce the other player’s life points while maintaining their own. Players often create their own customized decks to maximize their strategy but there are also complete decks for sale geared toward allowing beginners to play the game. These decks must follow some basic construction rules so beginner decks allow players to start with a deck that meets these rules. The game is often played in tournaments where players socialize between games to discuss strategy and trade cards.
Critical Evaluation: This game is combines luck and skill and allows teens to work on their strategy skills. This is important both in the decks they build and in the actual game play where they must figure out the best time to play each card. In addition to strengthening teen’s strategic skills the game also provides a fun social aspect. The library could organize Magic: The Gathering teen tournaments allowing teens to meet new friends, discuss strategy and trade cards. This also adds more unique games to library shelves. Many libraries currently only include video games so providing card games offers teens something new and different. There has been a trend for including more games like this in a library’s collection as it adds to programing options and creates more opportunities to socialize in the library.
Player’s Annotation: Combine luck and skill to take down your opponent before they take you out.
Age Range: This game is popular among both teens and adults.
Challenge Issues: Some people may not like the games references to magic but it is a popular game and provides a fun social experience.
Practical Issues: Libraries would have to create a list of the cards included in the deck so that they would know if a card has been lost or stolen and replaced with another card that may disrupt the construction of the deck. The cards should be periodically checked against this list to maintain the integrity of the deck. Libraries may also want to warn people who check out the deck that they may be charged a fine if the deck is returned with improper cards and allow them access to this list to check the cards themselves. The library may also want to provide more than one deck so that players can checkout different decks to keep game play interesting.
Why is it included?: Many libraries provide plenty of video games and games that are designed to be checked out and played outside of the library. I think if the library space has a teen area that allows it, they should encourage teens to play games like magic in the library. This shows teens that the library is also a fun and social place and can be cemented by having teen magic tournaments or other teen game nights where teens can bring in their own cards and teens that either are just getting into the game or cannot afford their own deck can borrow the library’s deck.