SOCIAL CLUBS EXPLAINED
What Is Magic: The Gathering?
You’re here because you want to learn the Magic: The Gathering game, the world’s premier trading card game. It was the first of its kind, and it’s still the best and the biggest.
In the Magic game, you play the role of a planeswalker—a powerful wizard who fights other planeswalkers for glory, knowledge, and conquest. Your deck of cards represents all the weapons in your arsenal. It contains the spells you know and the creatures you can summon to fight for you.
Trading card games like the Magic: The Gathering TCG combine collectable cards with a strategy game. You don’t know what you’ll get in a Magic booster pack. You just start a collection and trade with other players to get the cards you want.
The best part about a trading card game is that it’s always changing. You design and build your own unique decks, and each Magic game you play is different. New Magic expansions are released a few times a year, and each new expansion brings new ways to stupefy and defeat your opponents.
The Colors of Magic
Magic players craft their own decks, selecting cards that suit their individual playing styles and strategies. Building a deck often focuses on taking advantage of the powers inherent in each of Magic’s five mana colors.
White: The color of Justice
White spellcasters use superior tactics, efficient creatures, and the power of righteousness against their foes.
Blue: The color of Wisdom
Blue mages focus on using superior knowledge to gain control of a battle, and slowly gain the upper hand.
Black: The color of Ambition
Black sorcerers are willing to do whatever it takes to win a battle, even if it means sacrificing everything to do so.
Red: The color of Chaos
Red conjurers try to win as quickly and dramatically as possible, smashing and burning their way to a quick victory.
Green: the color of Nature
Green shamans win duels through the brute force of mother nature, summoning giant creatures to squash their enemies.
What color will you play? It is entirely up to you!
Where to go from here
Some people play Magic just for fun, coming up with great theme decks or funny combinations of cards to play against their friends. For other players, Magic is a highly competitive game of skill, with hundreds of thousands of dollars up for grabs in professional tournaments. To others still, Magic is all about collecting and trading cards that feature breathtaking original art from some today’s premier fantasy artists.
To learn more about the game, grab a friend and head down to your local game shop. You can buy cards, meet some new friends, and learn more about the game.
Another great way to get started is through watching demo videos on this site. Even if you know the basics of the game, you still might learn some tips or tricks to building decks or winning more.
What will Magic mean to you? Grab a friend and find out!
What Is D&D?
New to the world of Dungeons & Dragons? Here’s the place to start. Take a closer look at this legendary fantasy role-playing game and find out why millions of players worldwide have stepped into the boots of mighty heroes (and sneaky antiheroes) to create their own stories.
The first Dungeons & Dragons game was played back when Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson chose to personalize the massive battles of their fantasy wargames with the exploits of individual heroes. This inspiration became the first fantasy roleplaying game, in which players are characters in an ongoing fantasy story. This new kind of game has become immensely popular over the years, and D&D has grown to include many new ways to vividly experience worlds of heroic fantasy.
The core of D&D is storytelling. You and your friends tell a story together, guiding your heroes through quests for treasure, battles with deadly foes, daring rescues, courtly intrigue, and much more. You can also explore the world of Dungeons & Dragons through any of the novels written by its fantasy authors, as well as engaging board games and immersive video games. All of these stories are part of D&D.
What Is Call of Cthulhu RPG?
Call of Cthulhu investigators come from all walks of life: from journalists, librarians, and school teachers, to private eyes, taxi drivers, and hobos. They face mysteries that cannot be explained by rational or scientific means and which concern ancient and forgotten lore that humanity was not meant to know.
Your investigator is unique. You choose a number of elements that make up your investigator, including:
- Your occupation.
- Your skills.
- The people in your life who are important to you.
- Locations that are meaningful to you.
- Items you carry of personal significance.
- Your ideology and beliefs.
Over the course of play, your investigator improves their skills based on the choices you make – but beware – encountering the strange horrors of the Cthulhu Mythos can leave its own marks and scars. Be it tomes of forbidden lore, unnatural spells of power, or alien entities – all such things will test an investigator’s mind and body.
Investigators are heroes making a stand against insurmountable odds and, perhaps, saving the world as we know it.
Ancient and unimaginable beings from beyond the stars; monsters made manifest from outside of time; and mortal cultists who worship both, their minds twisted by forbidden knowledge.
Exposure to such horrors can result in madness: While WE might crave both comfort and the truth, only one or the other is possible.
As your investigator discovers more about the Cthulhu Mythos, their mind may become affected and corrupted as they try to reason with things humanity was not meant to know. Measured as Sanity points, your investigator’s resilience to trauma and horror has a bearing on how the shadows of the Cthulhu Mythos haunt their lives. As their perception of reality becomes twisted, they begin to realize the world they thought they knew is a lie.
Call of Cthulhu is a skill-based system with a focus on character development and simple but evocative mechanics.
It uses percentile dice (D100) to determine success and failure, so a Stealth skill of 50 means you have a 50% chance of success. This makes it very simple to understand your likelihood of succeeding at any given task, regardless of your experience with roleplaying games.
When you succeed, you’ll have a chance for that skill to improve as your investigator learns by doing.
In the game, you must work together to solve mysteries, avoid grisly death, and win the day, using the resources and contacts your investigator can find. Sometimes luck is on your side, but, in the end, it’s your choices that determine the fate of your investigator.
What Are Classic Card Games?
Canasta (4 players) – A game that became extremely popular in the 1950s, Canasta uses two standard decks, and is best in two-player partnerships. It is a rummy style of game in which the aim is to make melds of seven cards of the same value, and “go out” by playing your entire hand. There are also several variants, such as the popular Hand and Foot.
Poker (2-10 players) – This is considered the ultimate bluffing game, and No Limit Texas Hold ‘Em has been popularized with the help of television and local tournaments. Players “bet” chips on whether or not they have the best five card poker hand. Many say it is only fun when played for money, suggesting that the thrill is in the gambling rather than the game-play. Even if you do not play for money, you do have to approach the game semi-seriously for it to be fun, otherwise it is too easy for someone to play foolishly and hand another player the game. A must for those who enjoy bluffing.
Gin Rummy (2 players) – Derived from Rummy (see earlier on this list), Gin Rummy is a “knocking game” that differs from Rummy in that melds are kept in hand until the end of a deal. It is an excellent and time-tested two player game.
Cribbage (2 players) – A classic card name based on card combinations worth points, with the aim of being first to 121 points, scored by pegging on a board. Players each get a hand of six cards, and must set aside two to a “crib” which will later score for one of the two players. Cards are played in turns, adding their values together until you reach or near 31, and then this is repeated. Players score for combinations like cards that add to 15, pairs/triples, or runs, and also score for their hand at the end. Despite the casual feel, there is considerable skill, and experienced players will consistently outperform novices. Requires decision making for selecting cards for the crib, and which order to play the cards in hand. Even children will enjoy finding the point scoring combinations, while the imbalance/asymmetry of each game turn makes it especially interesting.
500 (4 players) – The national card game of Australia. A skilful trick-taking game where players bid for the number of tricks they think their partnership can win. The winning bidder is allowed to exchange several cards, and select the trump. There is much to love: the trick-taking; the bidding and selecting trump; the exchanging with the kitty to manipulate your hand; the playing in partnerships. A variant for three players also exists.
Bridge (4 players) – The ultimate classic among trick-taking card games. It is played in partnerships, and gives much room for much skilful play. Contract Bridge is often played in organized club settings, and the bidding and game-play has an extensive series of conventions that can take some time to learn in order to play well.
What Is An RPG?
RPG stands for Role Playing Game. You’ve probably encountered this game genre before in the computer and video game market. That being said, a Tabletop RPG allows a gaming group much more creative freedom in where they go, who they meet and what they want to do. The barebones essence of a Tabletop RPG is collaborative storytelling. It’s a story co-authored by everyone sitting at the table while playing the game. You and your friends fit themselves into the shoes of a character in the story. The decisions made and the plot twists that occur reflect the characters everyone is pretending to be.There’s no invisible walls to block exploration, no limits to what your character looks like and there’s no programmed restrictions on your character’s behavior.
The setting of the game can be familiar, like a favorite TV show, or something entirely alien and new. The only limitations are the rules of the game and the collective creativity of the people playing it.
Picking A Genre
Picking an RPG genre might not be that obvious a step for a newcomer to roleplaying. Dungeons and Dragons is the prolific title that started the hobby, but you’re not limited to just sword and sorcery fantasy. There are hundreds of RPGs in circulation nowadays and cover many different genres.
There are games that cater to scifi, cyberpunk, gaslamp, horror, urban fantasy, historical and modern settings. Not to mention that there are many different rule systems for classic fantasy beyond Dungeons and Dragons.
There are also published games for fans of movie, book and TV franchises such as Star Wars, Call of Cthulhu, The Dresden Files, Firefly, Game of Thrones and Dragon Age.
Even if your favorite fandom isn’t already represented, you can use genre-agnostic rule systems such as GURPS, FATE, Simple System, the d6 or d20 Systems to play in whatever setting you’d prefer.
Picking a System
A tabletop RPG is simply a list of rules that nails down who wins a contest of brain or brawn.
Every rule system out there has vastly different ways to go about this, and for a newcomer, it might take some playing around to figure out which system really speaks best to your playstyle.
Rules Heavy Systems
A Rules Heavy RPG is a system where part of the roleplaying component is tied to how you build your player character. There are in-depth rules for each class type and a plethora of different abilities that a player could choose from as their character evolves over the course of a campaign.
This synergy of combining strategy and skills is what separates this system type from the other two RPG types. It’s similar to the thought process one needs to build a deck for Magic the Gathering or developing strategies against other Champions in League of Legends.
Rules Heavy RPG systems often can’t cover the breadth of the entire rule system in a single book. In these cases there’s a Core Rulebook or Players Handbook. Then there can be a separate books for Game Mastering as well as multiple bestiaries, equipment, additional classes and abilities, spells, adventure campaign and world lore books.
Some examples of Rules Heavy systems are any edition of Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder, the various editions of the Star Wars RPG, any game running under the d20 or d6 systems, Shadowrun, and GURPS.
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