Last May I decided to stop at a game store just to browse and kill some time before I had to pick my wifey up (domesticated duty calls, my friends). The owner of the store had set up a few tables out front to promote, at the time, the release of Journey into Nyx, and these tables were packed with people of all ages playing casual games of MTG, and while most were having a good time discussing the new release, deck changes they should have made..etc, there was one middle-aged guy who caught my eye. He had a perma-scowl painted onto his face, his brow furrowed in deep concentration and from his body language; you would have sworn that either he was 3 days deep into a battle with constipation or was in the final round of the Pro Tour . Far from it. He was sitting across from a boy that, in my estimation, was maybe 10-12 years old. I couldn’t help myself, I had to stop and watch. Why does this guy look so pissed? Is this kid a friggin’ MTG prodigy? I thought to myself. After a few minutes of observing their game, the answer to the latter became crystal clear: this kid was very, very new to the game. During what was clearly his last turn, (he was down 18-3), he drew a card, immediately looked up at his dad standing behind him with a quizzical look on his face (this drew a sigh from the other side of the table), and his dad gave him a smile, shrugged and pointed at the table as if to say, it’s your game. So he hesitates, taps for mana, and throws down a card (Give me a break, it was months ago, I don’t remember which one it was), then immediately says, Wrong one, sorry. and scoops it. What happened next made me almost ashamed of being an older player, I literally wanted to stop playing forever in that moment. The guy, with a smirk on his face, tells the kid in short order, no way, not happening, you played what you played. At first, everyone at the table had a chuckle, because, well, we thought he was just kidding around. Turns out he wasn’t. He was serious. He angrily and quite loudly explained that it was against the rules and that if this kid ever pulled that crapa in a tournament he would have been disqualified. 1. Are you ****ing kidding me?! 2. No, he wouldn’t have been disqualified, he would have just been told that he couldn’t swap the cards. 3. This isn’t a tournament, sh**-bird, and finally, 4. Are you ****ing kidding me?! Other players chimed in that it wasn’t a big deal, let the kid play the card he wanted to, he was done on the next turn anyways. The guy argued back and in the end, ultimately refused. The kid kept the card on the table, passed his turn and was taken out immediately. The kid’s dad stared a hole through the man and finally just shook his head in disbelief as his son boxed up his deck.
In my opinion, not even taking in consideration this kid’s age, I would like to believe that most people would let a new player get away with correcting a misplay. Cripes, even Shawn and I, the grizzled veterans that we are, let each other correct misplays. There is a reason why it’s called a casual game, why not take the opportunity to treat it as a learning experience as well? I don’t know about you, but I don’t get off knowing that I beat my opponent because he/she spaced out and played the wrong card. I rather win because my deck performed better and I made the correct plays.
“So what’s your point?”, you might be asking. Well if you want to be impatient about it, here it is: in order to achieve a victory that was a lock in the first place, this guy’s actions might have possibly scared this kid off of the game for good. So what? It’s just one kid right? Wrong. Word of mouth really is a powerful marketing tool, (Hey! Tell your friends about this website! And add us on FB and Twitter!), this kid could have showed the game to some of his friends at school, who in turn each buy a starter deck, and then show a few of their friends how to play…and just like that, the next generation of players grows. So, don’t bash the noobs, encourage them, if you are playing one and they make a mistake, let them correct it. There are absolutely no bragging rights when you smash someone who only has a game or two underneath their belt. Oh, and If they ask a question on a forum, just answer it for the love of god, and skip the snarky remarks. Remember, they are the next generation that will keep the game you love, alive and well. Don’t alienate them or refuse to share your knowledge with them. Without noobs, the game will eventually grow stale, and when you least expect it..poof! it’s gone the way of the W.o.W card game
(angrily shakes fist at sky) BBBBLLLLLIIIIIIIIZZZZZZZZAAAAAAAARRRRDDD!