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.
Going Western: Indie film 'Wichita' to show tonight at MSSU
Nicholas Burton isn't exactly raising a cash cow on his livestock ranch. But the Wichita, Kan.-based filmmaker has an advantage over other film producers: Westerns are in high demand, and he's in the perfect spot to make them.
Love, labor liven up JHS musical 'Pajama Game'
The spring musical put on by the Joplin High School Theatre Department deals with a labor of love among a labor dispute.
MSSU choir, orchestra combines for performance of legendary 'Carmina Burana'
The free performance is a joint effort between the Southern Symphonic Chorus, which is composed of the MSSU Concert Chorale and volunteer singers, and the orchestra, which is made up of Missouri Southern students, faculty and professionals from the community.
Globe Phone Test: Nokia Lumia 1520's outstanding camera offset by frustrating OS
On Monday, news broke that flight attendants aboard Delta Airlines flights would receive Nokia Lumia 1520 devices in October. The devices will have flight manuals, support on-board sales, allow attendants to process credit card payments and crapcan heavy 500-page manuals they used have to bring.
The move is similar to how American Airlines attendants were give Galaxy Note phablets. Because Delta already gave attendants similar smartphones, it's reasonable to assume that the company places a lot of faith in the Windows Phone system.
But Delta's choice of device is puzzling because the 1520 is better suited to take photos and videos of people on board an airplane, not take their drink and meal orders. And because the device is so big, I'm not sure how flight attendants would feel carrying it around in a cramped flight.
As the iOS and Android systems struggle for the top smartphone operating system, Microsoft's Windows Phone has scratched its way into the No. 3 spot, pushing past BlackBerry. Nokia, once one of the top names in devices, is pairing with Microsoft to make a device that features an incredible camera. The company already made the Lumia 1020, which features a humongous 41-megapixel camera that does amazing things.
The Lumia 1520 is its biggest offering to date. The device, available exclusively from AT&T, is one of the biggest phablet-style phones on the market today. For about 10 days, I tested out a black-colored device provided by AT&T.
Jeremiah Tucker: Kurt Cobain likely would have thrived in today's music scene
I have no memory of the day he died. A friend asked me about this recently, and I said at that age -- I would've been 13 -- I was probably still rocking my cassingle of the Escape Club's "Wild Wild West." Needless to say, my middle school years were rough.
Benji Tunnell: 'Winter Soldier' sets a high bar for summer movie season
If a film was truly great, it would be held until June or July. Or so the thinking might have been before the release last week of "Captain America: The Winter Soldier."
Marta Churchwell: Joplin mural part of Benton's larger message
Recently, I received information on Joplin's celebration of one of its native sons, Thomas Hart Benton. In observance of the artist's 125th birthday, City Hall will host a collection of his works alongside his mural that honors Joplin history.
World Fest pairs well with Celebrate America
The Slinkerds think Silver Dollar City's World Fest is a great opportunity to show their young children other cultures and introduce them to people from around the world.
Ka-Pow! New attraction offers free-fall plunge
On May 17, two brave souls willing to whether mid-May¹s unpredictable weather will climb into the two drop-floor aqua-launch capsules atop KaPau Plummet.
Jeremiah Tucker: Letterman performance gives deserved boost to Future Islands
It's hard to believe an appearance on a late-night talk show can still make a band's career. It's such a common occurrence and the cultural currency of the late-night format has dropped so much in recent years that, short of literally setting the stage ablaze or stabbing the host, the most a band could hope for is a couple of polite blog notices.
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