I've picked up Magic: The Gathering as a pastime recently. Its one of those trading card games except its not any of those trading cards in the market. MtG is the oldest trading card game there is (or at least the one that i can think of.
It was founded by Richard Garfield (deceased) back in the 90s. Back when I was in my studies, I used to see Magic the Gathering at a friend's place. Didn't quite get it on how it was played and such. Back then it was quite an expensive hobby as it is today.
Backstory: So, how did I come to pick MtG up? I frequent this tumblr a lot: pocketfulofgeek. Long story short, I saw several card showcased in many of the author's post and I was rather intrigued. Intrigued by the admirable artwork in the cards and intrigued by its play mechanics. Thus, I began my google quest looking to procure myself some MtG. Stumbled on a local game shop in the Peninsular: CCEGames and found out they take delivery orders. And that was that. Want to find out more about MtG? head on to: wizards.com\magic.
For its price point, its quite discouraging to get into. It is. My personal justification is that Magic is an economy. These paper cards, like them baseball cards, will fetch a fine present in the future. Even in the near future. The most expensive card I heard to date is the Black Lotus (1995), going for USD 1000(!) a piece. Collectors paid USD 15k for that! Even present day cards like Jace is worth RM 200 a piece. But all this is just secondary, I'm in it for the fun and I find them kinda cool. Just be sure to sleeve the cards before I play them.
From my starting experience the best way to start getting into Magic is by purchasing a Fat Pack:
My favourite expansion so far cuz they're full of Horror themed cards. Like the Hellraiser-like Elesh Norn
I find fat packs to be the best value deal Magic has to offer. It suits starters and old-timers alike. Each will usually cost you RM 100 (ouch! but wait, it isn't that bad). What you get: 9 booster packs, 80 land card, a life counter (its a 20-sided die. A TWENTY. SIDED. DIE. How awesome is that?!! eeeeeee), a booklet/catalog thingy, 2 deck boxes and a box with box art. A booster contains fifteen random cards and to make sure buyers don't feel ripped off each pack will contain 1 mythic/rare card, 3 uncommon and other commons.
On a side note, MtG also offers intro packs and event decks. Intro packs are themed decks offered to introduce new play mechanics and style that comes with each expansion, i.e. poison, illusion, aggro. Event decks are themed decks that are constructed ready for competitive play from the get go and usually come in 2 flavors with every expansion. If you'd like to skip the hassle for arranging cards and play, for the sake of playing, with your style of choice, go with intro decks. If you'd like to start out with an edge, go with event decks. Of course, you can customize your set with your existing cards.
As of right now, I find it difficult to find people who are interested in playing a game of Magic. I can't find people who are existing players. Others think its too complicated and immediately turned off. Some has just moved on from these kinds of things. So, I'm only playing Magic with my sister. And recently, I found a shop in Karamunsing Capitol called Just Wargames. They specialize in Warhammer 40k (which i am also interested in getting into) but they also sell MtG on the side. And host Friday Night Magic every week.
p/s: yes, i know being a Magic (or Warhammer 40k) player doesn't make you a lady magnet. I'm sick and tired of being expected that everything I do has to be related with winning the hearts of the ladies. I don't have to. Yes, I'm single. I'm a loser. Yes, I'm hopeless with the ladies. But, please, I just want to indulge in my "geeky" interests. BTW, one of my favorite cards from the New Phyrexia block is this:
(images are property of Wizards of the Coast)