This has been a poor week for blogging - I lost a key person on a critical project, I'm scrambling to replace them, and the boiler at the house died. A few rough days and late nights at the office = no energy for interesting RPG posts. But it's almost the weekend!
On the other hand, the boy and I have been playing a bunch of Gatecrash sealed duels, time permitting. (Gatecrash is the latest Magic: the Gathering set). We got a booster box and have been slowly cracking it, 6 packs at a time, building sealed decks, and using the same pool of cards for about a week or so by just tearing the decks apart and rebuilding them with different color combinations (or Guilds, if you follow MTG). I figure it's a good way for us to learn the card pool and get comfortable with limited, before the kiddo tries his first draft.
Apologies for the jargon - I played a lot of Magic "back in the day", like back during Ice Age (an early Magic expansion) and it’s weird but fun the game is still going so strong with totally different generations of kids some 15 years after I moved on to other things. The kiddo had picked up a few "event decks" with his own money after learning how to play via the iPad game; next thing you know, we had a handful of event decks, and it was only a matter of time before we were tearing into some boosters and conspiring to play a draft at Gencon. (Event decks are 60 card preconstructed decks, with 15 card sideboards, ready for a play). The goal is Gencon and slowly building a collection - if we play mostly sealed and draft between now and Gencon, we'll accrete enough good cards to make some nice constructed decks by the fall. Since any packs we buy just go towards playing sealed at home, we're getting a lot of use out of the cards on their way into the long box.
The current sets are all themed after the world of Ravnica, with a gigantic metropolis and 10 competing fantasy guilds. If only the boy had caught the Magic-bug a year earlier, we wouldn't have missed out on "Innistrad", a trio of Magic sets all themed on Gothic horror. :Sigh: I'm sure I'll draw ideas for new monsters for table top gaming from some of the Magic art; it's really great stuff.
Who else out there in RPG-blog-land is a Magic player on the side, casual or serious? I know a lot of us mess around with miniatures, and the kiddo and I play some Heroclix and Dungeon Command. But those games take a long time end-to-end, with setup and play easily clearing an hour or more. A big thing I've noticed is how easy it is to fit a 10 or 15 minute Magic duel into a convenient time slot - really helpful when you're playing zone defense with three kids.