For The Love of The GamePosted on
I played Magic: The Gathering for the first time in 2006 when I was eleven years old. I remember spending time at a neighbor's house over the summer and seeing that friend's older brother playing this card game that I was wholly unfamiliar with. I was instantly interested.
By this time, I had spent much of my childhood playing collectible card games. First playing Pokemon as an extension of the Gameboy games that I still hold dear, then transitioned into years of playing and collecting Yu-Gi-Oh cards as I went through elementary school. It didn't take long after I discovered Magic for the game to become the primary focus for my collecting and playing. The 15-minute walk down the road to my local game shop to spend a hard-earned $3 on a booster pack of Guildpact, Planar Chaos, and Future Sight became a weekly ritual. As I went through high school and college, my interest in the game faded over time. Programming became my driving interest, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Fast forward to the summer of 2022. I have a family of my own and a little one that is discovering his own interests. In a place that I think many parents can relate to, my wife and I were looking for a way to spend more intentional time together after we put our son down to bed at night. It was on one of those nights that my memories of playing Magic as a kid came back to me. I remember turning to my wife and saying:
"There was this game that I played when I was a kid. I think if we gave it a shot it could be something that we both could really enjoy."
She agreed, and we've been playing regularly since.
Returning to the game after nearly 15 years was odd. In my time away, the number of cards available for play had exploded and there were completely new ways to play the game. Cards that I remember pulling out of $3 boosters are currently trading for hundreds of dollars. One of the aspects that hadn't changed much, however, was how most players tracked their board state during play.
When I was a kid we used small memo pads and dice to track life totals and counters. That is still largely the case today. While there are apps out there that are built for this exact purpose, none of them had the feel and features that I wanted in a tabletop companion app. So I decided to build one. A little more than a month's worth of work later and Spindown is now available on the app store for iOS, iPadOS, and MacOS devices. The app provides an easy-to-use interface for tracking board state, player counters, and more. One of the features that I am most pleased with is an indexed and fully searchable copy of the official Magic rulebook. Magic is an incredibly complex game, with an equally complex set of rules. Spindown's rulebook feature lets players spend less time on rules checks and more time playing the game they love.
My wife and I have been using the app for our games since the early builds when the idea first occurred to me. We enjoy augmenting our play sessions with the app, and I am hopeful that others will too.