Dominion took the deck-building out of Magic. This is what’s left.

Check Your Spam Folder

As we get our new forums up and running, I wanted to mention that lots of folks had seen their activation emails go to their spam folders, so keep an eye on that. If you’re having troubles, hit me up on Twitter (I’m “rinelk”); if not, feel free to use your new forum account to make suggestions on this post.

While I’m at it, KeyForge releases today, and my thoughts on that border on marketing spam themselves, so this seems like a good opportunity to bring them up.

Home on break from my first year of college, I went to Clifton Country Mall to do some Christmas shopping. At a B. Dalton Booksellers, I saw a display of starters for a game I’d been seeing mentioned often in blitzes (our term for emails) to the Creative Gaming club: Magic: The Gathering. You could get the whole game for just $8! So, I bought a starter deck of Unlimited, and brought it back to school and sat down to play the next time someone mentioned looking for a game.

It sounds risibly naive now, but NCSA Mosaic, the first web browser, wouldn’t show up on our computers until the next year. Information is dramatically more available now than it was then, and the obsessive tendencies of a tiny minority didn’t exercise such influence over what the rest of us could know. I’m immensely grateful for that, of course, but knowing that someone has catalogued every option and judged them means that the duty to choose well weighs heavier now. The existence of some people who know every card in existence, the knowledge of level 5 judges, and the option to netdeck—these anchor players’ ideas about what’s required, and sap the approach to the game of its spontaneity for all but the most disciplinedly casual players.

My concepts of human flourishing have never really grappled with this consequence. I’ve long thought that the way to live one’s best life is to maximize informed freedom. The internet has made being informed so much easier that it shifts the emphasis away from the freedom which makes that information meaningful. I haven’t played KeyForge, I’ve no idea how successful it’ll be at resisting this, but I love that it’s trying.

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