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Parents - Getting Kids Involved! 

The Fourth in a Series of Articles for Parents of Young Players

Appropriate Age

Earlier this week I was the victim of a lovely virus that wiped out a good portion of my computer's programs, starting with my McAfee virus checker. =/  Fortunately, I immediately realized what was up and was able to save my files. Unfortunately, it still took me a good deal of time to restore my computer to an acceptable working state from scratch. Needless to say, I didn't have time to prepare a full article for you, but I did want to chime in some since it was Friday and I did promise in my last article that I would have something for you. Thank you ahead of time for your understanding on the briefness of my article! And thank you for all the letters I've been receiving, surprisingly, not only from parents, but also from kids thanking me for explaining some questions their parents had! Cool...

At our gaming store, we are sometimes asked by parents what the appropriate age is to start kids off in Magic: The Gathering. There are a couple of things to take into consideration here. First off, does your child enjoy games in general, and especially, card games. If the answer is yes, I believe that kids could begin playing modified Magic decks as young as age 8, or even a bit earlier!  Kids that "want in" at a young age usually do so because they know someone older who plays, usually a sibling or neighbor. Another consideration is the level of cards available:

Starter Level - Beginners or 8 to 10 year olds.
A great place to start a very young child is with a Portal deck. Portal is Magic at its most basic. It omits the most difficult abilities and concepts from the game, leaving a beginner to get a grasp of the basics first before moving on to more difficult arenas. There are no Instants, Artifacts or Enchantments. Portal is just Lands, Creatures and Sorceries, pure and simple.

Advanced Level - 10 to 12 year olds
Once the basics of the game are mastered, consider moving on to the main sets. 7th Edition is the current main set available, with 8th Edition expected to become available this Summer, 2003. Main sets such as 7th add more to the picture, such as Instants, Artifacts, and Enchantments, plus more advanced abilities. Adding 7th Edition to your repertoire can really make things more interesting!

Expert Level - 12 and up (dabbling by younger kids)
When the main sets have been mastered, and kids are looking for more fun, they will happily delve into the Expert level sets. The current Type 2 offerings are Onslaught, Odyssey, Torment and Judgment. Things really get fun here, but also much more difficult. Most adults haven't even mastered all the rules and timing and other nuances that make Magic: The Gathering so challenging.

Of course, the ages suggested above are just that; suggestions. Any beginner of any age can start with Portal, and a few younger kids can dabble in the higher levels. Above all, just have fun!! Until next time, may all your creatures be bigger than your opponents!

  ~ Christine






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