Card game brings Lincoln man competition, friendship

  • About 30 players compete in their second round matches at a Magic tournament at Hobbytown USA on Feb. 13.
Cole Griffith started packing up his “Magic” cards, notebook and game board to leave Hobbytown USA.

Players of the fantasy card game were still left finishing up their second-round matches. At the far end of a table sat a 60-year-old man playing an 11-year-old boy; around them, five other matches continued at the same long plastic table. Competitors furiously wrote in their notebooks and peered into their seven-card hands, plotting their next move.

“He crushed me,” Griffith tells a fellow competitor who walks by. The 28-year-old has just lost his match, but he’ll be back — he always comes back.

The UNL grad has been playing “Magic: The Gathering,” for most his life and plays three or four times a week at the Hobbytown USA in southeast Lincoln. The roughly 30 participants in the tournament on Feb. 13 is a normal Saturday turnout, according to Griffith.

He started playing when he was 12 because his next door neighbor was playing. His competitive career got started a two years later.

Griffith talks about how he got started playing the card game.

From there, the card game has taken him to Belgium, Montreal and Philadelphia for large qualifying tournaments as well as smaller tournaments around the United States.

Griffith is still in touch with some of the players he stayed with in Belgium. In fact, the game is how he met most of his friends.

“It’s a pretty big thing,” he said. “And you can meet a lot of good people doing it.”

Griffith talks more about the friends he’s made playing “Magic.”


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