I’ve always been a gamer at heart, be it video games or board games, or my absolute favorite genre, collectible card games. This month marks nearly a year into my refound romance with the card game Magic: the Gathering. A bit of background here: I used to play Magic back in 1995 or so as a teen, in the ‘Revised’ era. After finding some cards at my mom’s house over Thanksgiving last year, I got the itch for it yet again. I’m taking my hobby a bit more seriously nowadays (though it’s still just a hobby – I still try to find some balance in my life!) – I’ve take the opportunity to go to try a few professional tournaments in the area, and I’ve built up a decent collection of cards over the past ten or so months.
The one thing that has been bugging me lately is how to bridge the gap between my friends who know how to play Magic, but aren’t into playing competitively like I am. To some extent, I’m sure I could convince a few friends to get together and draft, but nothing more than that, and even then on rare occasions. As a group, we are far more likely to play a good game of Smallworld, Power Grid, or any other board game than we are to do anything Magic-related. Being the problem-solver I am, I decided fairly recently to create a Cube.
Cube is an informal Magic format that is similar to Draft. Essentially, you create ‘packs’ of fifteen cards out of an available pool of 500 or so cards, and you hold a draft tournament using those cards. I won’t go into the specifics of drafting, but essentially all the cards you need to play are going to be provided to you at the outset, though winning requires a fair amount of skill and familiarity with the rules of Magic.
Creating a cube is a very time consuming effort. I’m currently in the acquisition stage of my cube – I still can’t play with my cube, though it is roughly half-complete. Having a theme for your cube is somewhat essential in creating it – in my case, I’ve decided upon a hybrid of a powerful-game-state cube and a good-limited-cards cube. This means that I want to add to my cube some of the most powerful cards available in Magic, as well as to add cards that are particularly powerful in draft format. I’ve been tracking my progress in a Google Docs spreadsheet. I’ve picked out a good portion of the cards I want in the cube, though I haven’t acquired them all to this point. My one additional caveat to this story is that I want my cube to be primarily foil cards (say 95%+ foil, and almost no non-foil-non-promo cards – if I have to put a non-foil Primeval Titan into my cube I will, but not without some regret).
Normally, a cube is actually surprisingly cheap to put together – were it not for the foil cards restriction I’ve self-imposed, I would be fairly near completion of my cube. I’ve been trading and buying cards at a pretty furious pace in order to get where I am now, which is about 180 cards in, with an additional 100 or so picked out but not yet acquired. Feel free to comment on my pics if you so desire, and by all means, challenge me to a cube draft when I’m complete. I’m very energized to complete this project, so I can play with some of these amazing new cards that I’ve acquired over the preceding few months!