Competitive Magic has increasingly become the focus of many player's lives, but for many of us, we started out playing fun matches. No rules lawyering, no Dojo-Decks, just get together and play your latest creation with two, three or more players in a game.
Wizards of the Coast is trying to rekindle that fun spirit with the release of Unglued. This set is full of cards with odd names (Urza's Contact Lenses), strange abilities (Handcuffs, where a target player must keep his hands in contact or sacrifice three cards from play) and creative artwork and flavor text (Look at Me, I'm the DCI allows you to ban one card for the remainder of the match and has art of a stick figure throwing darts at cards on the wall and the flavor text reading "Few understand the DCI's rigorous decision making process."). You can hokey pokey to prevent damage and there is even a card that has Denimwalk...yes, if your opponent is wearing denim, your creature can't be blocked (Editors Note: If you are a victim of Denimwalk, do not, for the sake of humanity, start removing items of clothing. I've seen this happen and it is not pretty).
Currently in the store, there is a "tournament" going on pitting different magic races against each other (aka the MCAA). The results will show who is the strongest creature in the magic world. Themed decks are just one of the fun ways to play the game. The following are a few more variants that you might feel like trying.
Remember the thrill you used to get opening a new pack of cards and looking through one-by-one to find out what you received? Well, this variation brings back some of this fun while allowing you to play with all of your new cards. Each player purchases a fresh pack and opens it but does not look at the cards. You each then put in three of each colored land, giving you a deck of 15 spells and 15 land. Play a normal game with the only difference being that you cannot get decked. If you run out of cards, simply shuffle your graveyard and keep going. Much like playing in a limited format tournament, you get a chance to use cards that you normally wouldn't build a deck with and may just, once in a while, find a hidden gem.
Here is a construction variant that can be both challenging and a fun way to use cards that you would never think of putting into a deck. You use six cards of each color with the trick being that, within a color, you need a one casting cost card, a two casting cost card and so on up to a six casting cost card. You then do the same thing for artifacts, giving you a base of 36 cards. For land you use two of each dual-land (OK, we know many people don't have these but this is fun play anyway, so proxy them), giving you a total of 56. No gold cards, non-basic land hosers or specialty lands can be used. X casting cost spells count as the number of actual mana to cast them.
Team Triangle (courtesy of Michael Dewey)
So, you have six people who all want to play Magic, eh? Well, congrats, you have just the right number to play Team Triangle. The rules are very simple. First, you get two teams with three players on each team. It's wise to know what your teammates are playing (this goes for any team Magic event, but it's worth repeating). There are only two non-standard rules.
At anytime, Player 1 and Player 2 may sacrifice a land to have Player 3 go through his library and put a basic land into play. Player 3 must spend one colorless mana when this happens. (It's just like Player 3 used Thawing Glaciers).
At anytime Player 1 and Player 2 may pay one life to have Player 3 gain one life.
If a player is eliminated, then one player can sacrifice two lands to have the other player pay one mana and get a basic land from his deck. Same goes for life, any player may pay two life (if there are only two players on his team) and the other player would gain a life. So there you have it. A fun new way to play Magic with a group of friends. Excuse me, I'm off to find my Siphon Souls.
Hundreds (or thousands?) of commons laying around your house with nothing to do? Grab a box, throw them all in and mix them up. Now get a bunch of friends together and, on command, have them all reach in and pull out a card. Do this 45 times (equal to three packs), build decks and play. It's amazing how creative you can get when you only get a few creatures or a whole handful of artifacts that you never thought of playing before...but don't worry, everyone else probably has the same junk as you.