I Command you ...

Magic the Gathering – I was recently introduced to the Magic the Gathering Commander Format (Formerly called EDH),  and this format is interesting enough to pull me back into the world of cardboard crack. While I primarily like to play miniature games and boardgames I was reintroduced to those hobbies through friends that played Magic. Over the years I've had stints where I'd be totally into the games and spend ridiculous amounts of money for pieces of cardboard and then I'd lose interest because of a format change or new set that I didn't like.

The newest set Innistrad, peaked my interest as it has a Gothic Horror setting which I really enjoy. There are cards the evoke all the major archtypes of the genre including but not limited to werewolves, vampires, zombies and even the exorcist. While looking into this set I also came across Commander Decks, which are a fixed content product (win!) geared for multiplayer play (win again!). After picking one up and reading through the rules, it seemed pretty straightforward and fun. One of my biggest issues with Magic is needing to have four copies of a card to have it be useful in a deck, Commander is a singleton format which means you can only ever have one of any card (other than basic land) in your deck. So now the cost of acquiring something good for your deck has effectively been reduced by 75%, and those random "good" cards you open in a pack that's all you need.

After going over all this with my regular play group we busted out the boxes of cardboard gold we've had stored for a few years and started building decks. The first few iterations of said decks were utter crap and resulted in plenty of "mana screw" (being unable to play cards because of a lack of resources) and lucky drops in which one player won because no one at the table had an answer for their card. It felt much like it did when I first learned the game and players played what was fun for them rather than whatever the current overpowered combo was. The great thing was the banned list is really small so almost any card you own can be played which is cool, I hate owning things I can't use because of a rules change. 

We've started a small league to play commander games and I'll post updates on how it's going in the future as well as the ground rules our group is using.

If you're interested in learning more about the commander format these sites have some interesting tips:

Commandercast.com – Podcast and website with regular articles and good suggestions.

gatheringmagic.com – Website with daily articles dealing with multiple formats