JOPLIN, Mo. —
I will always be a card flopper at heart.
Back in the '90s, gamers were divided into two groups: Dice chuckers and card floppers. The dice chuckers stuck to role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons, with complicated character sheets and largely long, unproductive gaming sessions.
For about five years in the '90s, I was a religious, rabid player of Magic: The Gathering -- a card flopper. I loved the game's fantasy themes but appreciated its fast action, out-of-the-box play and intricate strategy. I had a pretty large collection of cards, from massive, bulky sets of common cards to prized-possession rarities with collectible black borders.
I spent a lot of time playing the game in various ways: by myself through experimenting with different deck ideas and card combinations, and with others in tournaments, leagues and simple Saturday-night sessions.
In fact, the best thing that ever happened to me happened because of Magic. I used to replenish my collection at a comic book store in Springfield, where the redhead behind the Magic counter looked at my cards and reviewed trading and resale options.
That redhead is now known as The Lovely Paula Hadsall. She wasn't a Hadsall back then, but she was still lovely, and that was the first of many times life would nudge us together. We didn't get married until five years ago, but I'm so glad we finally figured out that we really should stick together.
When I stop to think about it, I realize that this game, which has grown each year since I stopped playing, has taught me much about life. I don't have any cards now, but I do have these gifts, which are well-played:
How to appreciate visual and graphic art. Almost half of each card is dedicated to a fanciful work of some sort. I really didn't care about art until Magic -- I quickly developed some favorite artists and looked forward to seeing their work in future expansions.
How to appreciate well-placed literary references. The first editions of Magic featured flavor text from works such as "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" by Samuel Coleridge and "Watership Down" by Richard Adams. The pairing awoke an interest to rediscover some great fiction.
Cheapskates are always happier with their purchases. Many of my Magic friends bought booster packs in alarming quantities, hoping to get several rare power cards.
I never did that. I bought smaller bunches in more regular intervals. Every once in a while, I'd hit pay dirt and get a rare card I really wanted. But most of the time, I got stuff that I knew I'd never use.
But because I played with many others, I knew someone would want them. That gave me the opportunity to put into practice the words of a master...
Dale Carnegie was right about helping people get what they want. If people get what they want, then I get what I want, and we both walk away happy. There is nothing as bonding as a good trade, and nothing as souring as a bad trade.
Among my circles, I got the reputation of being Santa Claus, because when trading, I'd remember what cards other players wanted, trade for those cards, then take that new treasure to trade with the person who really wanted it. All the while my collection grew slowly and steadily, without having to spend big bucks on more boosters.
I learned how to play poker better. I didn't pick up Texas Hold 'em until years after I played Magic. But I applied plenty to my poker game, including how to read people, change strategies and mask my own hand. I'm no card shark, but at least I'm hard to knock out.
Losing a well-played game is better than winning a terrible game. In other words, Magic really taught me the value of enjoying a game for what it is.
JOPLIN, Mo. —
I will always be a card flopper at heart.
Stretching out: Whiskey Dick's can do more in a bigger downtown location
For the Whiskey Dick's owners, it isn't a matter of what's in a name but more of a place where everybody knows your name.
Livewire's new video debuts on Billboard (w/VIDEO)
The song is currently on Billboard's Top 40 charts for Texas Music and Texas Regional Radio Report. It is the latest release since the band's first full-length album, "Livin'," which was released in 2012 with Way Out West Records.
Benji Tunnell: Great CGI, solid writing make 'Apes' a near-perfect blockbuster
A couple of weeks ago, we saw "Transformers 4," a big, computer-driven blockbuster film that was symbolic of all that is wrong with filmmaking today.
Marta Churchwell: New Mexico marimba group returns for concert Sunday
They're back. Polyphony Marimba, the Santa Fe, New Mexico, band that wowed the crowd with African music during a Downtown Joplin Third Thursday last summer, received such a response to that performance that they're coming back on Sunday.
Dave Woods: Nevada regatta makes for a birthday escape
In just three weeks, I'll spend my 50th birthday floating down the Colorado River with 35,000 of my closest friends.
New festival focuses on short independent films
As Jack Truman saw his films play in festivals around the world, one lingering thought persisted: He wished that such festivals existed in his hometown area.
Glory Days Music to resume weekly in-store concerts
The staff at Glory Days Music have been working their business as usual. Musicians demonstrate guitars, drums and other instruments. Music is sold; lessons are taught. But something has been missing.
Joe Hadsall: All the hidden secrets in "Weird Al's" "Word Crimes" video
I sincerely believe the "Word Crimes" video will become the most important song in history, and the most mandatory-to-watch video in schools across the country.
Globe Phone Test: Concept is clever, but transitions tricky with Asus PadFone X
It's kind of embarrassing to point this out, but "Candy Crush Saga" is one of the best ways to illustrate how well the Asus PadFone X, a smartphone and tablet combo really works.
Anyone who has more than one device will understand this situation completely: Let's say a player fires up "Candy Crush" on his tablet computer and really digs the game. A lot. So much so that he downloads it to his smartphone.
Only there's one problem: All the progress made on the tablet is stuck on the tablet. The smartphone has a completely separate path of progress, meaning the player has to play each level twice. This makes progress through the game twice as long. (This problem can be fixed by signing up for the game on Facebook, but no one really wants their Facebook friends to know they spend so much time crushin' candy.)
The Asus PadFone X is the dream solution to this nightmare of a problem.
Available exclusively from AT&T, the device is actually two devices. A standalone smartphone can be plugged into a tablet computer, meaning the owner can take his pick of how he wants to play the game, and all the progress he makes is saved on one device's hard drive.
AT&T loaned us a device that we tested for more than two weeks -- didn't like having to send it back -- and we found a lot of its qualities and quirks.
Tantric tours in support of latest studio album
"37 Channels," the latest album from Hugo Ferreira's band, features a lineup of guests including Hinder's Austin Winkler, Shooter Jennings, 3 Doors Down drummer Greg Upchurch, Uncle Kracker guitarist Kevin McCreery, Saving Abel guitarist Scott Bartlett and Leif Garrettt.
- More Enjoy Headlines
- Stretching out: Whiskey Dick's can do more in a bigger downtown location