By Nick Will
Two magicians stand across a battlefield from each other. Each at the end of his life, one summons a giant dragon to fight for him. In an instant, the dragon is gone-slain by a trap set by the other magician.
This is a scene that takes place almost every Sunday at Plattsburgh’s local mall, only the battlefield is a tabletop. Every Sunday, a group of players get together and play a card game usually associated with children and Saturday cartoons: Yu-Gi-Oh. The tournaments are held by Jim’s Sports, a local sports enthusiast shop.
Yu-gi-oh is a card game that is linked to a cartoon series of the same name, and the cards that are printed by Konami, the company that owns the trading card game, are similar to cards that are used by the characters in the cartoon. The cartoon series began in Japan in 1998, and didn’t reach the United States until it was remade in 2000. The card game came with the TV series, and has been continuing strong in both countries.
According to Brandy Rivers and Sean Brown, two sales clerks at Jim Sports, the game is played by all ages. Rivers stated that the average age of players is between 15 and 22 and Brown followed up staying that his youngest player is 7 and the oldest is 50. Rivers went on to say that Brown has been hosting the tournaments for what will be three years in December.
According to Brown, the tournaments are broken into two sections: Beginners and Experts. Each section is charge an entrance fee: three dollars for the beginners and five for the experts. This money is used to buy the prizes from Jim’s Sports that will become the prizes awarded to the winners. Each group has a different set of rules, which Brown went on to detail. “The expert players are restricted to a list of cards they are not allowed to use” stated Brown. He went on to say that Konami has a published list of cards that you are not allowed to play, or that you can only use one or two of in your deck.
“For the beginners, we allow them to use one of each banned card if they choose, to make it easier” said Brown. According to Brown, this makes the game easier to play for beginners. Brown told me that the rankings are determined by a player’s skill and the length of time they have been playing. “We judge on merit” stated Brown.
According to Brown, adults play for the strategy aspect of the game. Brown himself started playing Yu-gi-oh in 2003, retiring from the card game Magic: the Gathering which he had been playing since ’93. “Magic is more strategy based than Yu-gi-oh” commented Brown, “but Yu-gi-oh is more dependent on a player’s deck building skills.” Brown commented that Yu-gi-oh was more demanding because you can use any card that has ever been printed with the exception of the few that have found their way onto the banned list, were as in Magic, most tournament formats have a set group of printed card that you are and are not allowed to use.
Yu-gi-oh is a game that can be enjoyed by all ages according to Brown and Rivers, which they credit to the amount of people who have been continuously coming back to play and purchase cards. For more information on the Yu-gi-oh card game, visit your local sports or comic book store or go to www.yugioh-card.com.