What the hell am I going to do with all these cards?

(Note: A�The title may or may not be a paraphrased quote from my wife.)

Scene: A�I am seated with several people in steel chairs that have been set up in a circle in a church basement. A�They obviously come from different walks of life, but a common thread binds them. A�They take turns introducing themselves and telling horror stories of how they spiraled into addiction. A�Each story is more terrible than the last. A�All I can think as they speak is, Wow, these people have a problem. A�The thought contains no self awareness. A�Eventually, they cycle to me.

“Hello,” A�I say, “My name is Shawn.”

“Hi, Shawn.” A�They all reply, anxiously awaiting the next sentence.

The sentence is supposed to contain admission of a problem and bring hope that through admission will come healing. A�The admission never comes. A�They start to shift uncomfortably or angrily in their seats. A�They believe that I’m being either stubborn or in denial, but I’m neither. A�I simply don’t have a problem.

Okay, perhaps it is time to back up for a moment. A�I used to play Magic when I was younger. A�I played a few hands with friends using their decks during my short career at the University of Pittsburgh. A�When I moved out and to Massachusetts, I kept a passing interest in the game to the point that I purchased a box of Ice Age boosters, picked up a couple of Portal decks, and tried to convince my wife to play with me. A�When she didn’t seem all that interested, I put my time, money, and energy into other pursuits.

As Liam has gotten older, I’ve tried to introduce him to some of the better parts of being a nerd. A�He’s a unique kid, which is awesome, and I wanted him to enjoy this time as a kid. A�Sometimes, he seemed like he was getting too serious and intense, so I showed him Pokemon as a way to connect with being young. A�He took to it immediately, found out about the cards, and I found myself hanging around that part of the local Wal*mart store. A�Huh, Magic is still a thing.

I picked up a deck builder kit, mentioned to Chris that I had gotten some cards, and we’ve incorporated it into our monthly nerd night routines whenever possible. A�We play by the loosest interpretation of the rules except when another player joins, but for the most part I think we get the spirit of the game. A�We are very different styles of players. A�He’s inspired me to build more strategically solid decks and hopefully I’ve inspired him to try some different things with his decks. A�I will explain this aspect of our games in another article at the end of the week.

For now, I quickly accelerated to buying packs and then, as we often do, determined that buying entire boxes of boosters (even though they are almost double what I remember them from Ice Age) is a better deal. A�You get almost 10 free packs depending on the price of the box. A�The math that I neglected to do as I bought booster box after booster box was that I was buying 36 * 15 = 540 cards each time. A�Some of them went into a binder as a collector’s set, but I still found the single boxes that held 1000 cards got full really quickly.

I went through the collection and took a page from Hearthstone’s playbook. A�I removed all duplicates that I had for each card over 4 (the legal play limit in any deck, of course) and put the rest off to the side. A�Christine (my wife) asked, “What are you doing with all of those cards?” A�I mumbled a response about maybe selling them on eBay or something, but I had to figure out what they are worth. A�She’s not dumb (it’s one of the reasons I married her) and she said, “Can’t you just sell them in bulk or do you have to know exactly what each one is worth?”

Instead of selling them, though, I got to keep them in the house by giving them to Aiden because he’s really gotten into playing Magic since we went to the prerelease. A�The rest of the cards that I’ve kept as part of my collection now reside in the four column 3200 card boxes in my closet. A�Christine mentioned that she is worried that it will turn into a hoarder type situation, but I’m confident that I can keep it under control. A�Then again, I did just order a box each of M15 and Khans of Tarkir.

Hello, my name is Shawn…and I’m addicted to collecting Magic cards. A�I haven’t graduated to buying booster cases (yet) so I can confidently say that I’m not one of those people (yet) and hopefully I can hold out until the kids are grown (or at least until Aiden and Liam decide that they want to share a room again and I can use Aiden’s old room to store all of my stuff in the name of calling it a game room) and maybe, just maybe, by admitting it I can be on the road to recovery.

Nah, where’s the fun in that?

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