Student finds camaraderie through fantasy game

Ava Nelson, Features Editor

Wielding spell-powered cards, senior Riley Shofner prepares his move for board game, Magic: the Gathering. Riley began playing and competing in Magic: the Gathering in middle school.

Casting spells, strategic play, card advantage and resource management, contests and champions are just a few aspects of fantasy card play, a familiar activity to senior Riley Schofner. In middle school, Schofner bought his first set of cards from Walmart for the fantasy game Magic: The Gathering (or Magic as Schofner calls it). Schofner has since continued his interest in the game through friend groups and competition.  

“I’ve made a lot of friends through the game.” Schofner said. “It’s a shared space of equal interest in fantasy and competitive play.”  

Schofner self describes Magic as “a mix between chess and poker”, where you can make strategic plays with cards you own and lands you construct, which provides mana -or spells- for your deck. Schofner is active at his local game store and often attends Magic related gatherings and events held there. While some students use sports as an outlet to face victory and defeat, Schofner has found competition through the game Magic.  

“It’s easily one the most successful hobby games with a very active and vocal community,” Schofner said. “And it’s worth it because I don’t have many other ways for me to be competitive.”  

While purchasing an effective set of cards for Magic can be expensive according to Schofner, managing money spent regarding the game has improved his economic practicesSchofner also acknowledges challenges from negative generalizations made towards fantasy fans, but encourages others interested in playing to not be discouraged.  

“There is a lot to learn but there are so many enjoyable fun things about opening a cool card in a pack and playing it and winning with it,” Schofner said. “Don’t worry about the ‘nerd stereotype. They exist, but not everywhere and it’s really exaggerated.”  

Through practice and tournaments, Schofner found satisfaction in his abilities regarding Magic, as well as confidence in past achievements and his capability to win. While Schofner appreciates the entertainment and companionship he has found through personal experience in the game, he values the special gratification he feels when introducing others to Magic.  

“I enjoy being good at something,” Schofner said. “And I really enjoy bringing other people to enjoy it too.”  

Although Schofner plans to continue his involvement in Magic throughout college, he has no intention of professionally incorporating the game into his future career. Even still, Schofner appreciates what he has learned through his experience in the game, especially learning how to lose.  

“Magic is about winning and losing, and you can’t win every game,” Schofner said. “It taught me how to respect my opponent, and myself.”