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Arrange meetups and get togethers with other Happier Abroad members in your area, or coming to your area.
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Winston if you are still around, I think you should stick this somewhere people will see it.
ANy fans out there? NO? Well no problem then, let me introduce this fascinating and excellent game to you so that you'll be able to create friendships and networks easily in ANY country you travel to.
Magic The Gathering is what we call a CCG: collectible card game. A game where you personalize your deck by collecting cards and use different combinations together. Magic is a multiplayer game, where you can face off against up to 30 opponents if you so choose. Most games are kept to between 2 and 6 players to minimize turn time but bigger games happen regularly. You start out by buying a starter deck which consists of about 60 basic cards with some really good ones and a bunch of common stuff. You can then visit your local card shop and depending upon how much you enjoy the game, buy extra cards to customize and tweak your deck. Cards range in price from about 10 cents upto $20,000, but most people will spend on average about $50 to $80 customizing their favorite decks, the average starter deck will cost about $15. The game is very entertaining for people that have more than 2 brain-cells to rub together and an easy way to make important connections as most people who play this game are either highly intelligent or rich or both. Winning is not dependent on how much money you spend but rather how you build your deck to perform against others. Its a little bit like programming a computer because you will be programming your deck to combo with other cards, activate switches and provide a steady 'income'. We play a variation called 'Commander or EDH' where we make a legendary character the main focus of the deck and build it around him. You can either face off against your friends, fight on teams or co-op against challenge decks (game decks that run themselves). Ok so enough about the game, how does this allow you to connect to others?
This game is played internationally and has dedicated communities, conventions, shops and players in EVERY country in the world. Anywhere you go, it will open up a channel to make friends inside the country. Those people are usually pretty intelligent guys and can help you get setup in your country of preference. You need someone to help you lock down an affordable apartment, ask one of your playmates or the comic shop owner. You need to meet intelligent women? The play group will know some.
In the end its much more fun to travel with a purpose then to just jump a flight to somewhere new and wander around lonely till you can meet some like minded people. This way, you have a gateway to a social life from the get go and you can really hit the ground running.
My friends and I in South China would be more than happy to help anyone who is interested in playing some MTG, get setup, because we also love the game and it has really brought us together as friends. I run Progenitus if anyone is curious. I have literally sunk 1000's of hours into this game with other foreigners in coffee shops, burger joints and shopping malls around Shenzhen and Guangzhou.