Every time I try and purchase a collectible card game, whether it is Magic: The Gathering or Yu-Gi-Oh, my mother always asked me, “how are card games going to help you in the future?” She always asked this like it was a rhetorical question and the answer would be, “collectible card games don’t help you at all.” Usually I would respond with the regular “please, please, please,” not answering her question. I would also give my parents the silent treatment, acting sad, and in return they would feel sorry for me and buy me some cards. In the beginning the “acting sad” technique worked, however they started to catch on, finding out that it was something I would pull to get them to buy me something.
This past week I stumbled onto an article that talked about a boy who convinced his school to overturn their ban on the Pokemon trading card game. Lucas Ayala, an elementary school student in New York, wrote a letter to his school explaining why they should lift the ban. As his contentions, he mentioned how the trading card game teaches you lessons in subtraction, multiplication, and how you need to think carefully to win. Reading this article made me think of what other benefits collectible card games may have.
After taking a long break from Yu-Gi-Oh I decided to try and get back into the game. However this was going to be hard since I had to buy new cards and being fifteen, I lacked a job, and was forced to live on a $2.50 a day allowance, which was just enough to buy lunch. I also realized that buying packs wouldn’t get me anywhere, because it would be difficult to get the right cards, and I would just be wasting my money. Then I learned about the whole Youtube network of trading cards online. To my surprise some of the people trading online were interested in some of the old cards that I had. As I began to trade I realized that I had to be smart about this. The only way for me to get the cards I wanted is to make deals that would benefit me more. I remember trading $10 and some old cards for a card that was worth $20. Then I would trade that card plus some old cards for a card worth $35. Soon I was on my way to building my collection so I can start obtaining more of the cards I needed.
This made me realize that the whole trading card game universe has a whole economic side to it. Some people who just sell cards may look at it as a stock market, where the cards are the stock. People would buy cards at a low price then would wait for them to increase in value, resell them, then hopefully make a decent profit. We often watch card prices like a stock market, watching the prices fluctuate up and down. Through trading cards, we always hope to make the best deal, which comes with finding the right people, and building up an array of people you can trade with. The collectible/trading card games of Magic: The Gathering and Yu-Gi-Oh are big businesses, and we, the players, are its entrepreneurs. Trading card games teach us how to be wise in spending our money, crunch numbers and act as real business men trying to get as much out of a trade as we can.
The objective of most card games when playing against someone is to win. With Magic: The Gathering and Yu-Gi-Oh there are numerous ways you can achieve victory, it’s just up to you to provide the right strategy. With these card games or any other card game we are forced to think critically by going over our strategies and knowing how to use the cards we have. We can compare it football, where in our decks we have our different plays, techniques, and combos to score the winning touchdown. We can also compare card games to war. We are generals and commanders sitting on our chairs, looking out on the battlefield, ordering are troops around. We always have to think ahead, preparing for what ever our opponent may throw at us, hopefully having the answers to the problems they give us. We, as players, engage ourselves in a world of statistics and probability and our intellect must be used to take our opponents down.
Most of these card games involve you playing with not just one other player, but also probably several more. These trading card games provide an increase for social interaction for you and other players. With a hint of friendly competition, we get a chance to interact with other people who have the same love for the game just like you do. Through Yu-Gi-Oh and Magic: The Gathering I have built up a tree of traders and friends to go to, where we can exchange tips and tricks with each other. In the end you may also find yourself discovering lifelong friendships and that your local shop may be your second home. The trading card community is filled with people willing to help you get better where they want more people to get involved.
Now the next time someone questions you and asks you, “why waste your money on trading card games?” You can look them in the eye and tell them that it has made you an entrepreneur. Joke around a bit, and explain to them how if you were two opposing generals in a war you would win, and then explain how it challenges your intellect. Also talk about how less socially awkward you are and how it has increased your interaction with people. Hopefully with these reasons, people won’t just look at collectible card games as a measly kids game, but also an educational, intellectual, interactive, beneficial game.