Over here at Hipsters of the Coast we decided to take on a new column: Wizard’s School. My goal is to sit down with people unfamiliar with the game, teach them how to play, and narrate/explore the experience. As Magic players, I believe it is one of our duties to the game and to the community to teach new people. From the lowliest scrub to the spikiest Spike, it’s up to us to keep the population of Planeswalkers growing. I recently taught my girlfriend how to play, which worked out really well, and now she can understand me when I talk about what I’ve been up with my friends. For that reason alone, I think teaching the game is important. Magic’s success as one of the best and most well-known games in the fantasy genre is built on players spreading the game to their friends and keeping a constant dialogue going between fans. Based on its success, Wizards of the Coast has been able to launch (and keep afloat) several well-known RPGs and CCGs—quite impressive for a game that was supposed to be played between D&D sessions.

I have my own tricks on how to teach people the game. I worked in a comic shop for five years during early days of Magic, and I don’t think a week went by that I didn’t introduce someone to the game. It’s extremely rewarding to be there for the moment when the other person gets it, when things click together and a spark of passion begins to form. Teaching the game to our friends can be tough, though, because there are a more than a few hurdles we face as gamers, both socially and—well, nowadays, just socially. Look at Matt Jones, for god’s sake. I mean, they don’t call him the Obliterator for nothing. Geek has come a long way—it’s now hip to be square, and chances are your friends would love to know what the hell you’re talking about when you talk about Magic.

I’d like Wizard’s School to be a forum on how to best teach and introduce your friends to Magic: The Gathering.  It will also serve as a record of all the people I’ve taught since coming back to the game. I think the ability to look back at everyone’s progress will be really awesome—and hopefully helpful.

I also wanted to ask that, if you have friends who want to learn, please send them my way. We can meet at Twenty Sided Store and I’ll happily teach them.

Next week, I’ll have a story of how I taught my co-worker (Brooklyn bartender Ally) how to play.  But in the meantime I wanted to open up the forum to you.

Who was the first person you taught? How’d it go?

How did you learn to become a Planeswalker? When did you start?

Ever teach your parents?

I look forward to your answers.

Zac Clark, Durdle Magus

Wizard’s School is a Hipsters of the Coast column about teaching people how to play Magic: The Gathering. Zac Clark focuses on strategies for introducing the game to friends, and shares his stories of how to successfully teach the game. He believes that, as players invested in the game, it is our duty to keep a fresh crop of Planeswalkers interested in tapping out.

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