As a lifelong Magic: The Gathering the idea of moving to other games it’s kind of scary, specially since Magic has been a long term investment. Having said this, as of last month I’ve decided to revisit some tabletop games that I’ve really liked throughout my life. Taking the decision of revisiting old games can get really expensive really fast so I had to look into cheap online alternatives.

These alternatives do exist even tough most of them aren’t sanctioned by the copyright holders. One of these alternatives and probably the more known, thanks to Steam, is Table Top Simulator. This simulator allows you play a plethora of tabletop games downloading the correct resources for playing whatever you heart desires. Plot twist, I didn’t want to pay the $20 price tag for an almost infinite variety of tabletop games.

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Settlers of Catan being played on Tabletop Simulator

If you have a some knowledge about the gaming subculture you know that there are a numerous amounts of LGSs (local game stores) where you can go and find people to play. The aspect of these matter that I don’t like is going to these store just to find there’s no one that know the games or the fact that if they are interested I would need to teach them the game. Now, don’t go out and about saying that I don’t like teaching people about games because its more a thing about preparation to teach versus a preparation to just sit, relax, and play some rounds.

Looking at other free alternatives like Cockatrice, oops! I did it again. I got hooked on another trading card game.

Yes, something I said I would do ever again in my life. I guess sh*t happens, no? No, sh*t not just happen. There was this interesting mix brewing in my brain and gamer soul. A concoction of nostalgia because lets be honest we, humans, like things that make us remember “better times”. Another factor that came into play was my love for trading card games and the numerous strategies these type of games allow with games like Magic the Gathering which have a library of over 16000 cards. The final factor I must take into account was the release of Pokemon Go.

Yes, I’m hooked with the Pokemon Trading Card Game Online. But, doesn’t Magic: The Gathering has an Online version? Yes, it does but it is a disparate alternative, I prefer the physical MTG game than the online even if that means that I have to drive to a store to play than just sit in my room and find a match online. The design of MTG Online compared to the Pokemon TCG Online has a cluttered design, and poor design, aesthetically it looks like something out of the 1990s while the Pokemon TCG Online game looks and feel modern, it feels as if you were on the table playing a game of Pokemon.

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Pokemon Trading Card Online
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Pokemon Trading Card Online

Now, Magic has another platform where you can play the game, it’s called Magic Duels. This alternate way of playing Magic aesthetically pleasing, a “real board” where you would play, compared to MTGO. But what the my main concern with this is that, unlike MTGO, the whole library of Magic cards is not available for this game. So, right now Wizards of The Coast has 2 platforms to play Magic. Both of them with their own issues, its a conundrum to the why WoTC has decided to keep both games. But since the MTGO game has more capabilities than Magic Duels I will keep focusing in it.

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Magic Duels

Further more, for making an account in Magic Online you need to pay $10 while in the Pokemon TCG Online you can make and account and play for free, further more you can use the same account of the Pokemon Trainer Club you use for your other Pokemon games like the RPG and Pokemon Go. For playing Pokemon Online you don’t need to buy anything, except event tickets which allows you to play tournaments and such but they can also be won by playing the game and completing daily quests that the game produces. These quests and enough game time they give you in game currency so you can buy additional booster packs, skins (card sleeves), deck boxes, bundles, and decks.

If grinding is not your style of game-play when you buy physical Pokemon product it brings a special trading card that has a code that you can redeem in game. For example, if you bought a Theme Deck it will have a code so you can play it online. This means that if at any point you want to play physically with another avid Pokemon Master a game of Pokemon TCG you totally can. For obtaining card in MTGO is a bit more simpler, you just need your credit card. Now, this bring another issue, whatever you buy in physical cannot be translated to digital, unlike the Pokemon game. So, this means that if you would like to play MTGO and MTG you would need to buy both physical and digital, having two collections. Which could be a reason of the why WOTC would have 2 digital services for playing Magic.

It’s also important to note that since the Pokemon game has lasted almost as long as Magic has their card library is also pretty big this means that there are a different formats where some cards are restricted or even banned. This important to not because most recently with the release of the set Steam Siege the theme deck has a card named Ninja Boy which had a bug in place which which exploited the mechanics of some cards, now this is not the same as a card banned in a certain format but if the deck has a banned card for “x” or “y” reason in any certain format the deck would become illegal.

My exploration of different mediums of playing a plethora of games in my backlog might have failed and I might have stumbled in a newly found addiction but the silver lining here is that in way cheaper than my Magic The Gathering addiction. If I enjoy every moment I’ve spent I will never feel regret of what I’ve spent or not in these tabletops games but I will always be looking to have some economy while doing it. Board games really make your mind go ’round . See ya’ later I’m getting physically and mentally ready for a game of Epic Munchkin.

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