3/16/2010 SF: "Taking Fun Seriously"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Serious Fun, which goes live Tuesday morning on magicthegathering.com.
At least we know Styborski actually reads the boards, even when it becomes several hundred posts of "Counterspell sucks!" interleaved with "No, you suck!"

That's pretty cool, actually.
I believe the most important factor in magic is emphasizing the skill of the player over the luck of the draw. that is, allowing for a variety of competative paths to victory, in any given format.
Back when I first started Magic, I was the Draw, Go, Blue player.  I stopped playing for a few years and now I cant stand blue for the most part.  Mostly the counterspells.  It just feels like blue relies too much on them in my expereience. 

Dont let these message board nerds get to you.  You are a good writer, so keep it up.  Im gonna keep reading your articles, as long as I have my internet access.
Enjoyed the article as usual and I felt the need to say I really enjoyed last weeks article as well Laughing

Loads of last weeks article rang true for me when i was learning magic (and thanks to a milling friend still true at various points during an evening when we get together and play now!).

I could completely see where you were coming from and understood that it was a personal thing for you, even if it does ring true on many a blue players forum, which im guessing led to a lot of conspiracy theorists pointing the finger at WotC for not giving their colour what they personally want.



While your last article came across a bit too subjective for my taste I totaly got what you were talking about.  You feelt you droped the ball and insulted a lot of readers and you bought that up and clarified your self. Nice, thats how it should be done.

What I dont get is why you follow it up with 3000 words on dry information, telling us about fun rather something fun and what you are not and what you wount be writing about. I mean, I do get the importance of actualy manage to gather some people to play casual magic but an entire article about finding time and space for magic in "Serious fun"? I do feel kinda dissapointed.
As one of the folks who was a bit annoyed, I want to offer some clarification and also an apology.

1) It's not that I didn't get what you were saying. I actually even agreed with some of it. I've had my own "driving someone off" experience, and I feel pretty much about it the way you felt about yours: awful and guilty.

It even also involved Blue. But unlike your experience (and I don't say this to say I'm better or my reaction was more appropriate or such nonsense) it didn't make me hate Blue or stop playing it. It made me realize that sometimes I don't know what my opponent wants even when I think I do, and it's important to make sure I understand.

What I think happened and why this all got dumped on you (unfairly, and I'm sorry):

I for one, and it seems a few other people, are waiting on some actual info on what's going on with the state of Blue. And I (and others it seems) really don't like the way that anti-Blue hate seems to be shaping the future of the game where anti-other color hate doesn't seem to be (for example, yeah, there's no Necro any more but there are lots of Black effects that pay life for cards and are balanced, where with countering the solutions seem to be either not balanced (I still think Cancel is a bad card; just give us Hinder or even Dissipate please, R&D) or situational).

So when you mentioned Blue and how you don't like it, in a seemingly-"official" capacity, we misunderstood and took it as "Oh, this is what Wizards has to say about Blue. That it's important, but that we need to understand why people hate it so bad, because unlike people who like other archetypes (as if Blue is all we ever play!), we're really annoying. *sigh*"

But you are right, you're not the guy who'd be giving that info. Much less making those decisions. 

So I'm sorry, at least, for my part in aiming the "okay, so what's actually going to happen?" annoyance at you. That wasn't fair and I hope you will take this apology in the spirit I mean it.

2) Thank you for understanding where we were coming from and apologizing for the bits of what you said that upset us. I appreciate that very much.

I was immersed in simplifying radical expressions for school last week, so I am just now catching up. Having now read last week's column (after reading this week's Serious Fun), I can understand why there are dozens of posts replying to last week's article. Admittedly I did not read them all. This week is graphing quadratic equations, so there is little time to post everything I want to say regarding this article or last week's.


In a nutshell, read the title of the column. Serious FUN. Fun is subjective. We all want to win, but you should enjoy the journey as well.


My nephew (then 21 years old) and I started playing in 2004, around the time Mirrodin was released. He came up with a wicked Isochron Scepter/Counterspell deck that locked me out with Arcane Laboratory and killed me with Traumatize/Haunting Echoes. After the third session of getting trounced by it, I told him I didn't want to play against it. Next time we got together, he pulled out the deck and got the Isochron Scepter online. I told him to pick another deck, that I wasn't playing against it, that I wanted to have fun.


Sheldon Menery, Godfather of EDH, said a play group should impose social control from within. A good example I read was when someone played with the judges after hours, comboed out and killed everyone in short order. They congratulated him and continued to play the game and have fun. The combo player sat and watched for a while. He watched everyone else playing. He watched everyone having fun.


Many people last week complained R&D is dumbing down the game, making red and green the best colors in Standard. I see it as a chance for aggro to have its day in the sun. For a year or more you couldn't swing a dead Vizzerdrix without hitting Fae and Five Color Control, why not give Bloodbraid Elf a chance to have fun? If Standard is unfun for you, maybe you should try Pauper or Limited. Maybe test Legacy Counter-Top. There are enough cards out there where everyone should be having fun.

Many people last week complained R&D is dumbing down the game, making red and green the best colors in Standard. I see it as a chance for aggro to have its day in the sun. For a year or more you couldn't swing a dead Vizzerdrix without hitting Fae and Five Color Control, why not give Bloodbraid Elf a chance to have fun? If Standard is unfun for you, maybe you should try Pauper or Limited. Maybe test Legacy Counter-Top. There are enough cards out there where everyone should be having fun.


I don't have a problem with people who think Bloodbraid is fun. My issue is that I, however, think it isn't fun. Even when I play it myself I feel cheaty, kind of like the article describes feeling, I guess. It was fun for me when it was new to me, you know "oh cool, I get a neat thing!" but by this point it's just "not this AGAIN" to me. Honestly BSA annoys me less and I don't like her either.

Aggro's weakness is supposed to be lack of card advantage, and Bloodbraid is one of the best card advantage cards out there currently. I think that's unbalanced, and I don't say this because I don't want aggro to be good. I do. I just think that's lopsided and unbalanced and, after a while, I feel similarly playing against cascade as you felt playing against that Scepter deck. Especially given that it's very easy to set up a chain that will go Bloodbraid -> Blightning, which is just backbreaking CA and potentially six to the face no waiting.

I don't actually have a problem with cleverly giving aggro some CA. I just think that Bloodbraid, at least given what else is in the meta right now, is ridiculous.
I'm glad that Styborski addressed the issue of Magic's physical restrictions. To me, the basic who, when, and where of setting up a playgroup or FNM is a huge issue, given that I live in a town with no card shop and that most of my playgroup are fellow college students who have varied class schedules and multiple extracurricular activities. Serious Fun has (over the course of different authors) done a good job introducing alternate formats for especially small groups or groups has members have to come and go over the course of a play session, but I think that there is still quite a bit of rich space within this topic to write about, especially regarding physical location (discussing the challenges inherent in playing Magic outdoors or in a McDonald's, how to overcome them, and maybe a format specifically well-suited for or designed for these locations).
Well, there went a previously excellent column in the dumpster. Can't wait until Adam is thrown out by Wizards.
My complaint for this article is that all the information could have been summed up. I think a quick intro version of the apology would have been enough. I would like to see tips on getting people together to play. At my college we play multiplayer Friday nights for 2 hours. We get 8-10 normally now, so we usually split into smaller groups. I would love to see a couple articles about getting a larger game in quickly, getting together groups, the logistics of running group games.


Well, there went a previously excellent column in the dumpster. Can't wait until Adam is thrown out by Wizards.



Why do you say that? I don't think they will throw him out.

Face it, you're pretty much here as a meat shield.

 

If you are at Georgian Court Univeristy or Monmouth Univeristy PM me. If you are out by York College of PA, I can help you reach the group there.

Okay, so I don't write very often, but I definitely read a lot. 

First off, what's with this Brothir's comment?

On top of being just plain rude and asinine, if you don't like the way someone writes, don't whine about it, just don't read their articles.  That being said, I've read Adam's articles almost every week since he became a writer here, and I have to say that I quite enjoy his writing - he brings all sorts of great anecdotes, and explains some great versions of Magic (I'm always looking for a new way to play).

Secondly:


I don't have a problem with people who think Bloodbraid is fun. My issue is that I, however, think it isn't fun. Even when I play it myself I feel cheaty, kind of like the article describes feeling, I guess. It was fun for me when it was new to me, you know "oh cool, I get a neat thing!" but by this point it's just "not this AGAIN" to me. Honestly BSA annoys me less and I don't like her either.



I think you missed the point.  Yes, many people consider Bloodbraid Elf to be an unfun card in an unfun deck, but as bill_jones pointed out, it's just time for red and green to its time under the sun.  Everyone will always have a deck that they think is unfun, it just so happens that one of the most popular of these right now is red-black-green, rather than it being a blue deck like it has multiple times before.  Unfortunatley, due to the fact that Magic has multiple different players that play multiple different styles, there will always be some form of unfun deck or color or card for everyone.

Okay, now that I've ranted my bit ; I think this article scratched the surface on a very interesting topic - how to get groups of people together for regular magic enjoyment.  I know we've all got different methods, and that - at least personally - we're always looking for new ways of doing so.  I think this could be a great topic to explore in more detail.
Good to see he now understands the impact of his words. Hopefully that will help him continue to grow as a writer for Magic's official website.
I appreciate anecdotal stories like the ones Adam writes.  When I first started playing Magic in college (started right before Guildpact), I played Boros, Dimir, and Golgari.  I found many friends at college that played, and one of them played a Wizard deck with many Odyssey and Onslaught denizens.  Most everyone on our gathering nights hated to play him.  It was a rite of passage, almost, to beat it.  He was definitely a griefer, and it reflected in his personality (he was a philosophy/physics major); a more cerebral kind of guy.  But, no one really liked playing him.  Others there had elf decks, affinity, zombies, spirits, prismatic and my hardy Boros, so there was plenty to chose from on our game nights.  He often would wander off to put his deck away and do something else, because no one wanted to be griefed by his Counterspells, Prodigal Sorcerers with Freed from the Real, and Rewinds.  He could have you locked down where you had no turn, no spells, and no creatures.  Although an effective deck, everyone let him be.  But the truth is, although the deck was a reflection of himself, it would have played differently in someone else's hands.  Another friend, with a killer (then extended) U/G madness deck also griefed, but he was so nice about it that we didn't care.  Circular Logics would rip spells from the stack, but we didn't care - he was such a nice guy that it didn't bother us that no one had beaten him.

The thing is, we find irritation with decks because of irritation of players.  People can be nice with a control/lockdown deck, or they can be mean with a normal R/B deck (reminiscent of a recent PTQ, for me).  Blue feels like an invasion of the way you play the game.

However, Adam realized that what he said could come off negatively, so he took the words to further explain himself in front of his audience, and he apologized.  What else could we ask for?