A little over a month ago, Kaleb Olsen started a high school Trading Card Game club. Students meet at 6:00 on Mondays and Wednesdays, and after school on Fridays. Olsen started the club because he had noticed that there were many students who were interested in card games, and had also heard about a previous club that had “dropped off after last year.” He later decided to “set up the club hoping to provide an environment for students to compete and better their card playing skills.” In the club, students play against each other in card games. Regarding the games they play, Kaleb Olsen said, “The card games we play in TCG Club are not the traditional card games like Poker, Phase 10, or Uno but are games that are very thought-provoking and require a lot of critical thinking to play well. The game we tend to play most is Magic the Gathering. This game requires you to make your own deck with a specific theme or strategy in mind. It has a bit of a learning curve to it, but as you play you start to understand different ideas such as tempo, card advantage, and play predictions… Besides Magic the Gathering, many of our students are interested in other games such as Force of Will, Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh, and Hearthstone.” The games played in the club involve much more skill and challenge than most conventional card games. They are able to teach important thinking skills in a way that is more enjoyable than other, more traditional methods.
Kaleb Olsen has also had a very long history with Trading Card Games. “I first became interested in trading cards at the early age of five. I can still remember one of the first baseball cards I got, which was an old Cal Ripken Jr. card. I loved collecting cards and it was a passion of mine. It wasn’t until I turned 10 that I started my card gaming career with Pokemon. I mostly traded cards with my other classmates and slowly learned how to play, although not very well. Things kind of fell away after middle school and I didn’t find my way back to card games until I started college. While at college one of my roommates introduced me to Magic the Gathering, and from that day I was hooked. I started reading anything I could get my hands on about the game and spent my other time watching tournaments online to get an idea of how professionals played the game. I even started playing in competitive tournaments myself. Playing competitive Magic has become a passion in my life and is something that constantly forces me to better myself.”
Aside from his own passion for trading card games, Olsen hopes that students take a greater interest in it as well. “I set up this club to give students an opportunity to excel in an area they are passionate about. The skills they can learn in TCG club not only help them in life after high school but could also turn into a career.”