Feature Article – Magic with the Next Generation


Play Magic with Your Children!

Magic, with you and your children.

I have been considering the idea that playing Magic with children can be both a valuable experience and a way to become more satisfied with oneself.

I have been thinking over the question of when I have children, whether I should teach them to play Magic or not. As a starting point, I considered what a wonderful game Magic is, and how it would be nice if my children played it too. The more I thought about it, the more I understood that it really would be a good thing. Also, I thought in recommending this it would probably contribute to many people’s happiness. For this reason, the subject of this article is playing Magic with children.

If you don’t have children of your own it would be good to consider these ideas, and I would like it if those who do think this over and try applying it to themselves. And if you have already played Magic with children, I would love to receive practical advice.

Magic, with you and your children.

From here on, let’s discuss the merits of teaching children to play Magic.

Advantages for You

The first important thing I will cover in this article is what advantages you gain from teaching children to play Magic. Your own happiness can directly influence that of another. However, although it is easy to immediately see the direct benefits of playing Magic with children, it is also likely that there are certain things you should strive towards.

(1) Playing a game with your children

Try playing a game of Magic together with your children. Here, I think that simplicity is very important for ensuring happiness. Whether you like children or not, if you get to this point in reading my article I think you must at least be someone who likes Magic very much.

With Magic, there is a link between spending time observing the growth and development of children and great happiness. In Japan, fathers and their young children playing catch is the standard practice, but I have a feeling that doing things like throwing and catching the ball versus attacking and blocking are not very different. The difference is only in whether you use your body or your mind.

(2) Making sure you find time to play with your children

I have often heard that people who are married with children experience an unfortunate decline in the time they have to play Magic on their own due to the time they must spend with their children. Alternatively, they play Magic on their days off, but they find they have little time to spend with their children as a result. If you play Magic together with your children, neither time spent playing Magic nor time spent with your children will suffer. What would be bad about spending time together?

You do not necessarily need to play one on one, as it is also good to take your children along when playing Magic with a friend. I think that most friends would accept this idea considerately. If this were to happen, it would be best if your friend’s children also joined in, don’t you think?

(3) Your children will gain respect for you

I think that when a young child is just beginning to play Magic, the day when they will surpass their parent in ability is distant. Although Magic is simple to enjoy, everyone can recognize that at its core Magic is a complex game. If you hear, “Wow Dad, you’re good!” this is directly linked to your child’s newfound respect for you. In the future, I think it is likely that the instances where your children do not listen to you decrease considerably, and you will find yourself a parent figure who is better able to communicate important things to your child.

Advantages for Your Children

In terms of advantages for your children, this is the most important: I think that Magic is an extraordinary educational tool. Magic is a game where the player learns many things naturally while at the same time having fun.

(1) Learning communication with others

When playing Magic, you meet many people. In my case, I have traveled the world for many years playing Magic, and I have probably been among those who have met the most people through it.

However, looking back to 12 years ago when I had just begun playing Magic, in just one year I had met over 50 people through the game. If a player has the opportunity to meet other people, I think that Magic also increases the actual number of new acquaintances made.

If you go to Magic shops and tournaments, there are numerous players with whom you can play games and make trades. At times there may be players who you aren’t well acquainted with who are included in eating a meal. Through Magic, you will have many encounters with different people. And, one of the essential skills of Magic is learning what should be done in order to win but also to have fun and get along with a variety of people. In trying to become friends with other players, an individual’s communication ability naturally increases. Certainly, even if your child fails to understand this essential point, coming in contact with different people will undoubtedly be a plus for them, and teaching them by saying “Getting along well with others is a way of winning” or “Please be more fun to be around” is a good idea.

(2) Learning the importance of cost performance

Every card has a “cost” that must be paid, and with this in mind it is possible to make a strong evaluation of whether a card is effective or not. I have been considering the idea that aside from Magic, this “cost performance” evaluation skill is generally important when choosing something. In a Magic game the obvious goal is either to reduce your opponent’s life total or the number of cards in their library, but these ideas are not really applicable to the rest of a player’s day-to-day life.

I have been thinking that people instinctively wish for greater happiness, and that to this end becoming more effective is essential. With regard to the “costs” of time and money, one’s effectiveness is extremely important. When playing Magic, it is good to reach a point where you naturally view things through the lens of “cost performance”.

(3) Becoming skilled at calculations

In playing Magic, there are frequently times when addition, subtraction and probability are touched upon. Often calculations such as “What is the match win percentage of a deck that has a 60% chance to win pre-sideboarding and a 60% chance to win post-sideboarding?” are made. And questions like “Given that you have four copies each of a two card combo in your deck, what is the probability of having both at the start of the game?” are also frequently considered.

In making trades, it is usually necessary to quickly calculate the total value of many cards. I think that society is steadily becoming more accepting of the use of computers and calculators in making calculations, and for this reason people’s calculation abilities are in decline. There are fewer and fewer instances where people refrain from using such devices, meaning that their minds lose the potential to become weapons capable of quick calculations.

(4) Increasing language awareness

The world is made up of various cultures, and Magic allows players to compare these cultures and provides a way to easily come in contact with other countries’ languages. In Japan, basically only Japanese or English versions of cards are sold in stores, but aside from these French versions, Italian versions, Spanish versions, Chinese versions and others come from countries around the world.

Besides, people who are not Japanese attend weekend tournaments. I am Japanese and although my English ability is still lacking it was originally closer to zero. In my middle school English classes, I did not understand the extent of the value of English language skills and I slept altogether too much. Though I still need work, now thanks to Magic I am able to say more or less what I like, and to understand whomever I am speaking with. If I had played Magic from a young age, I am fairly certain I would have tried harder in my English classes. I often think this was really wasteful.

I don’t know any greetings aside from those in English, but learning some would make me happy. And conversely, when people from other countries say “Arigatou”, it leaves me with a good feeling. In the future, I would like to learn languages besides English.

In this way, awareness is naturally promoted through foreign cards and the opportunity to come in contact with people from other countries.

(5) Various other things that can be learned

There are many other things I have learned from Magic. I have learned to gain self-confidence from deciding on a goal and then achieving it. I have learned that if I can make others happy, I will also be happy. When traveling the world, I have learned about foreign trade and become familiar with money exchange rates. I have gained a variety of knowledge about the world through the teachings of others. And that’s not all. At the present I am learning more and more things regarding store management and article writing.

For me, Magic is a wonderful educational tool discovered in a chance meeting, and luckily I have been able to make use of it on a grand scale. And even now, the fact that Magic still fascinates me makes it seem certain that Magic still has more to teach me in terms of personal growth.

When going to other life stages people who grew up playing Magic move on to a variety of activities. I have heard stories of great success and wealth now and then. Often, there are people who say things like “Many Magic players are smart.” However, originally not everyone is smart. Simply put, Magic is a game that improves your intelligence.

What my children will do in the future is unknown to me, as I think this is something they should freely choose. I have decided on only one thing. This is that since I wish for them to be happy, I will teach them Magic from a young age. I think Magic is really an outstanding teaching tool.

Magic‘s Advantages

I think that considering how amazing Magic is, there are still very few players. I believe its degree of recognition in society is similarly low. By explaining Magic‘s advantages, the more its player base will increase and the more excellent Magic will become. It seems that if the number of players increases, Wizards will hold more large events. The number of card shops and tournaments run by people who work for organizations and sponsors would similarly increase. Anyway, it is on the rise.

And if the player base grows, the value of Magic as a communication tool will also increase dramatically.

You might think I am foolish since this idea is a huge leap, but I often think that complete world peace might be established if everyone around the world played Magic. This is because in playing Magic everyone could really get along. It is very good to consider what it takes in order to both win in Magic and have fun. But, at this opportunity I would like you to try thinking about the game you love. From here on, all of us stand at the gate as key people in continuing Magic‘s history for many years.

Magic, with you and your children.

I have discussed the many merits of playing Magic with children. Certainly though, this does not mean that I have not considered the disadvantages as well. However, with the exception of one, I could think of almost nothing that struck me as really being disadvantageous.

This one thing was that if your partner finds Magic to be dull or uninteresting, it could result in conflict. There is a simple method for turning this disadvantage into an advantage: playing Magic together with your partner would also be good. Then surely you will become an ideal tight-knit family.

Oh? What should be done to teach Magic to a partner who is conflicted about the game? I would like it if everyone used their disciplined, intelligent mind that they have acquired through Magic to try and consider these things. I will also try and seriously consider them. Someday, I would like to write “Play Magic with your Significant Other” too.

Thank you for reading. Until next time!

From Tomoharu Saito, to Magic players throughout the world


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