With isolation and limited ability to go outside the home, I find myself in a position (along with the rest of you) of nervousness and boredom. One can only watch so much Netflix before you develop bedsores and a stiff neck! So, I’ve set myself a challenge to play at least one board game a day during this time and if possible pair it with a good beer, wine, or cocktail. Why not! Feel free to play along. Today marks day 14 of quasi-quarantine. Just so my readers know, I’m not actually in quarantine yet–I’m a pediatrician and am still going into work on my regular work days. So while I’m not technically stuck at home, I am in a high-stress work environment these days and really need game playing as an outlet when I get home.

Magic the Gathering

Yesterday’s game is a relative oldie in the world of competitive card games, bringing me back to college times. My friends and I got into Wizards of the Coast’s Magic the Gathering back nearly at the beginning, around the releast of the Antiquities expansion in 1994. Initially this was a niche game and it was hard to find the addictive booster packs. Then, once it really became popular, the boosters became especially rare and one had to fight crowds and troll the comic and game stores constantly to be in the right place at the right time. We spent many a summer day and many a night up in the study rooms at college playing epic games of magic. Once I moved on to Med school, I didn’t have anyone to play with and my collection languished. My largest box of cards even disappeared much to my chagrine.

A few years back, when my good friend Pete started working for Wizards of the Coast, I got back into magic briefly, buying some of the newest rounds of expansions. And then haven’t played much again.

Quarantine seemed like a good time to break out the old decks and try them out! My wife, Sarajo, “happily” sat down with me to try a few games.

Each player (usually one on one, but can be multiplayer) gets a hand of 7 cards and can play one land card per round to the table. As the land accumulates you “tap” the land card to get you mana to spend on casting spells, enchantments, or summoning creatures with the other cards in your hand. One of the biggest difficulties in making a good deck is getting just the right ratio of land cards to other cards. My Green wold and elf laden deck utterly failed at this and I kept drawing land after land, letting Sj summon tons of vampiric baddied to decimate my wimpy elf defenders.

Each player starts with 20 life points and when it hits zero you are out! I like keeping track with the 20 sided die that most of us gamers have laying around in spades.

For our second set, Sj continued to rock her vampires and I tried out my mana binding jerk Blue magic deck. I was doing great until she managed to get out her lifelink (health draining) vampire out onto the field and heal herself up a bit. So yes, she beat me twice. Hey, I’m rusty. Also I usually try to put too many cards in my deck that don’t really need to be there.

To pair with this gaming session, we cracked a rare growler of Barrel Aged Black Lotus from Barrel Theory in St. Paul. For those in the know–the most legendary and rare card in MTG is the fabled Black Lotus! Seemed like a no-brainer! The beer is a dark Imperial stout with coconut and then aged in bourbon barrels, fairly bursting with sweet, vanilla, and coconut flavors. I really love the regular version of this beer, but this is sublime. As usual, please help keep your local breweries in business with growler sales during this period of crisis. To manage our business I recommend to use sodapdf a quality tool for your documents and files.

Magic is classic and has changed a lot over the years with new mechanics (Planeswalkers) and rules to keep things interesting. I’d like to get back into this more, but there is an addictive factor to this game that makes one want to keep buying booster packs for those elusive rare cards that will either elevate your deck or increase your wallet.

Poirot is not amused. Lemon had to be exiled to the basement since she kept trying to take off wiht our life meters (dice.)