How Classic (Sixth Edition) Rules and 50-Minute Rounds Will Make Me Fatter

Posted in NEWS on June 17, 1999

By Wizards of the Coast

Sheldon Menery

The only way I can figure it, the DCI is conspiring to ruin my health by packing pounds onto my already overburdened frame. I can't speak as to why the High Ancient Ones have singled me out, but the proof is in the proverbial pudding (among other tasty desserts).

Classic Rules and 50-minute rounds are gonna ruin me, I swear. Here's why.

For a long time, Head Judging a Magic tournament of any real size involved getting up early on a weekend morning and driving halfway across the country (it's possible to do that in Belgium, you know) to the tournament site. If I was lucky, there was a cup of coffee waiting for me. Sometimes, there was even a croissant, but that was rare. I'd work like a dog, helping the organizers, mentoring other Judges and answering the inevitable "can Carnivorous Turtles still attack if there's no meat in play?" questions. Every now and again, one of the wonderful organizer folks would offer me food, but I'd say that I was too busy and I'd get something later. They would, however, keep pumping Cola Light (that's European Diet Coke for you folks across the Atlantic) into me. At the end of some 14 hours, the tournament would be over and I'd drive back across the country. I'd get home, tired, sweaty and hungry, finally crashing from the caffeine high. It was perfect.

The lack of food for an extended period, combined with the metabolism-heightening effects of the caffeine, kept me somewhat slim. I'd create an immense calorie deficit at a tournament-at least twice as great as a good session in the gym. It's a fact: answering questions like "can I make my White Cabbage untargettable with Circle of Protection: Vegetation" burns more calories than 20 minutes on a Versa-Climber. Things were good.

Those days are behind us now. I am destined for obesity.

Classic Rules simplify the play of the game to a maddening point. If it's clear to all the players how the turns are structured and when and how they can do what, what am I going to do? I'll tell you: stand there and watch them play. No more running to tables to hear "He tried to tap my Sausage Golem during his Pepperoni Phase!" No more explaining that "at end of turn" vs. "until end of turn" conundrum. No more spending time ducking "can you help me with Rosewater's puzzle?" requests. Nope. I'm pretty sure my during-round time will be spent in a nice comfy chair with a sweet Luikse waffel (that's a Belgian Waffle for our Yankee friends, a delicious treat, complete with fresh whipped cream) in one hand and one of Belgium's more than 600 beers in the other. After all, who needs a rules guru when everything's so clear? I just pity poor Bethmo. I wonder what they'll find for her to do.

As bad as that is, it's not the worst part. This 50-minute round (with 3 extra turns) business is what's really going to add the tonnage. Tournaments will run smoothly and take less time. There won't be any questions about additional turns or stalling. Instead of 14 hours, it'll be more like 7. Instead of taking that weary drive home in the dark, I'll have plenty of time to spend with all the great folks that play the game. We'll go out for more of those great Belgian beers. We'll dine on some of the world's richest cuisine. Did you know that in Belgium, vegetables aren't cooked? They're drowned in huge vats of butter. Those hours previously spent sweating over Transmogrifying Aardvarks will now be spent lifting a glass and fork. Oh, I pity me.

The Classic Rules clarify the game. The round structure shortens tournaments. Less time spent Judging, more time spent eating. I'm gonna be the size of a house.