I started playing Magic back when revised was in the shops here in Oslo. It was very casual and mostly with friends from school. House rules were a necessity because no-one knew the rules that well. My little brother claims I insisted Mana Flare only counted for my lands. No wonder I appreciated that card so much. We had a few older cards, mostly we got ripped trading dual lands for common legend cards, I think. My mum actually managed to buy eight packs of The Dark for Christmas once, I think the local card store got an extra box in. I still remember not being too happy about expansions like Ice Age, I guess 93/94 was in my heart already back then. When I started high school, I put my cards away in a shoe-box. Geeky hobbies like Mtg had to let go. Since then my cards had mostly been in that shoe-box, or played by my little brother who continued playing. Until the day I started working with Magnus and he showed me his blog. 20 years later all I knew for sure was that I was still going to play red and green, maybe with black, but surely not white and blue. Everybody knows those colors are for weaklings and cowards. I didn’t plan to go all in on 93/94 either, maybe just restore my old revised deck as I remembered it, but one thing led to another and suddenly the cardboard crack got the better of me, with new shipments being ordered before the first one arrives.
|My current deck is under constant tweaking as I learn to play 93/94. My favorite kill is a Berserked Dragon Whelp with Gauntlet of Might. This is my build for an ongoing Skype tournament that allows revised.|
|My first game, we played only using laptops, we didn’t even build the laptop up with books. We were such n00bs back then in April...|
|I’ve had quite a few matches the last weeks with Markus. This shows my first setup, without an external camera, but using an extra monitor.|
My experience so far, is that tournaments are a lot more chill if you schedule in matches in different sessions. Hanging out, slinging cards, drinking beer is more relaxed if you don’t have other people waiting. At least for me, the 3x3 matches in one night was less chill. I did get to play a lot of different opponents, I did have a great time, but I prefer playing one person without time limits.
|Things you can do only on Skype: I can stand on my standing-desk while my opponent can sit down and smoke without bothering me.|
Some things needs a few adjustment when playing over Skype, like taking control over creatures, rolling dice etc. But even flipping orbs works well! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gxkpXbHGElA
Having an old laptop with a bad webcam shouldn’t stop you from playing on Skype. No matter how good your setup is, you will not be able to read the text of a card without holding the card to the camera, so a simple setup will suffice. However, I have played around a little to try to optimize my setup.
A stable connection helps a lot, not hearing your opponent clearly is more annoying than the video quality dropping. Getting good audio requires a stable internet connection. Wired Ethernet beats WiFi, so try to wire up. If you can’t, at least make sure you have a strong WiFI signal.
- Built in webcam
If you don’t have an external webcam, there are a few tricks that works well. You can build your laptop up with a few heavy books to get a better angle, and if you have an external monitor you can avoid trying to look up on a bent screen on the book pile.
- External cameras
You will get the best quality from external webcams. High quality webcams need to do compression to be able to send video feed to your opponent over the internet, if you have a beefy computer it should be able to do high res video (720p, at least) using your CPU to do the compression. If your computer is a bit slower, a camera with built in hardware encoding is definitely better. Cameras like Logitech’s C920 does hardware encoding of h.264 up to 1920x1080, that Skype for Windows can use directly without having to encode the video. I would definitely recommend the C920, I picked mine up used for about $50.
Webcams need decent lighting. Avoid direct sunlight and spots that can give glares in cards. Direct back light can also be challenging.
- Life counters
The mobile apps works really well, you can see both players score over Skype. My small, see-through dice are next to worthless. I dream of making a device of some sorts that would project life onto the screen, we’ll see…
Built in mics normally work, but external speakers and a decent microphone is better. I use the built in mic in the C920 and I think that's ok.
|This is about as high quality as I have been able to get my video.|
We thank Bjørn Einar again for his introduction to Skype Magic and sweet tech. If you want to join him in a game or two, I highly recommend checking out the 93/94 Skype Magic Facebook group. Note that this group is not any kind of hardcore competitive environment, but a chance for deckbuilders with few local opponents or a lot of commitments to have a beer and swing old cardboard with similar good people around the world :)