There are many benefits to playing Magic: the Gathering (also known as Magic), the foremost being the social, critical and creative thinking, strategy, mathematical, and reading skills associated with playing the game. Though not hard to learn, Magic was designed for teenagers (13+) and young adults. However, in recent years many groups – to include religious, educational, and psychiatric – have voiced objections to the games intention by claiming that it is an introduction to the occult, and even a means of satanic worship, to advocating violence. Despite this negative rhetoric, Magic has enjoyed over 15 years of success and remains the undisputed champion in the genre of the Trading Card Game industry.
What are the Benefits to playing Magic: the Gathering?
Magic is a highly social game, and is the most successful element of the game which has been the catalyst of the creation and ongoing existence of the global Magic playing community. Why? In short, it brings together players with a similar mindset and gives them a game play structure, which elicits limitless possibilities to talk about. Magic is the sort of game where you can turn up in a store on your own, play in a tournament and play a number of different people. You meet different people without the need for formal introduction, etiquette, or social construct. Acquaintances and friends are made easily in a game which not only has limitless combinations and interactions to discuss, but also is one on one and confrontational. At the end of the game, how often is it that you have another game with that person (even if you have never met them before)? Or discuss the game play of the previous three games and what you each did, what you could have improved on and what was interesting about the match that just transpired, or the matches going on around you? Because from a psychological perspective and firsthand experience, groups of people who have great many things in common stay together for longer. (Hepworth, 2003; Leo, 2005)
Thinking and Decision Making
There are two basic thinking skills – critical and creative thinking. Critical thinking is the ability to think clearly and rationally. Creativity is a matter of coming up with new and useful possibilities. They are both crucial for solving problems and discovering new knowledge. Magic is first and foremost an imaginative game, and both creativity and critical thinking are the basis of being a better player in Magic. When you play a game, you are utilizing creative thinking by determining which card will be best used at a certain point in time either during your or your opponents turns. Creativity is used extensively throughout deck construction and post-game deck reconstruction. As you search thoroughly thru your collection, you are always finding new and better possibilities (that is, cards) that you did not know or think of before. Post-game deck reconstruction relies on both thinking skills in the aspect of rationally exchanging cards that did not work before and adding those that you know will succeed. This, in turn, requires you to have a vast knowledge of the cards in your inventory and the ability to come up with a new and useful deck. (Moffat, 2008; Rockledge, 2007)