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2013 Holiday gift guide:the card game edition

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Thanks to shows like "Spellslingers" as well as overall greater coverage, "Magic: The Gathering" has seen a large growth in popularity. If there is one thing about "Magic" that is important, it's protecting those precious pieces of cardboard. Some of the current cards can fetch anywhere between $10-$40 depending on their performance on the tournament scene. So, for you or anyone you may know who has just started playing, here is a holiday gift guide for them or any beginner card gamer.

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Card Sleeves - $4.50
One the first things they'll need is sleeves for their cards. You may have seen flimsier pieces of plastic being used, and don't worry if you've ever thought how cheap they look. After all, these sleeves are called "Penny Sleeves," and their main purpose is mostly for storage. The sleeves you'll want are clear in the front and have a solid back. It'll either be a solid color or some kind of graphic design. Either way, it'll look and feel stiffer and sturdier.

Legion is a company that is well known for the graphic designs on their sleeves. Some of them include "Mmm...Bacon," unicorns, pandas, a cool Edgar Allen Poe theme, and zombies. Don't forget to check out the photo gallery for an example of their art work.

Another company you may want to look into is Ultra-Pro. They are one of the leading companies when it comes to protecting almost anything. Their gaming section contains plenty of officially licensed products by "Magic: The Gathering," and therefore their sleeves have many images from the game. A lot of their solid colored sleeves are made from different material. For example, the back part of the sleeve has a rough exterior for a slightly better grip and, on some sleeves, the plastic has a "matte" finish.

When it comes down to which one you should get, it really comes to aesthetics and what you think you or your friend would like.

Deck Boxes - $3.50
Now that you have your cards sleeved up, you'll need to store them in something. Deck boxes are perfect for this situation. They can hold anywhere between 75-100 cards while sleeved. Again, Legion and Ultra-Pro also make deck boxes. So once you've got the sleeves picked out, don't forget to buy a matching deck box.

Deck boxes come in all different kinds of styles. Come have a narrow lid that allows it to stay shut by itself, and other use the velcro method. Keep this in mind when it comes to picking out a box.

Dice by Cheesex - $3.85 - $5.95
Dice are an important tool for any gamer. Did you know that the oldest die dates back to the 2nd century C.E.? It was discovered in Egypt in the 1920s and sold at auction for just under $18,000.

Dice can help keep life totals, determine who goes first, act as counters for any reasons you may need counters, etc.

Picking out dice is almost like picking out jewelry. In fact, don't be surprised if you can find dice made out of meteorites.However, the dice for this holiday gift guide are made out of plastic, but look really cool.

Chessex is a company that specializes in "cool" looking dice. Some of the styles of dice they have include: "Borealis," "Marble," "Phantom," and the always popular "Frosted." They also range anywhere from 3-sided to 100-sided.

In most cases, 6-sided die are commonly used, and those are what the suggested prices reflect at the header. Chessex sells them as singles, in blocks of 12 or blocks of 36. The choice of color and quantity is all up to you.

Ultra-Pro card binders - Prices vary based on size
As you play and collect more, things start to add up. In this case you may soon come across multiple copies of cards or cards you may not use. Remember, one of the best features of card gaming is trading. In fact, for some people, trading is the game, and what better way to show off the good than in a nice binder.

These binders come in either 4-pocket or 9-pocket sizes.

The 4-pocket binders are perfect for those who like to be extra organized since in "Magic" the most copies you can have of any card in a deck is four. These are great to show off play-sets or extra play-sets of cards you own.

The 9-pocket binders are great if you just want to show off your collection of cards that are for trade.

The binders are made of a sturdy, yet flexible material. Some even have a leather cover. The pages themselves are made of a cloth-like material with plastic pockets to slide your cards into. Most binders also come with an elastic strap to keep the book closed, and most binders come in a variety of solid colors.

"Magic: The Gathering Holiday Gift Box 2013" - $19.99
This year's holiday gift box is Theros themed; after the latest set to be released in the world of "Magic: The Gathering."

Here's what you can expect to find inside:
• Four Theros booster packs
• Beautiful storage box that can hold more than 2,000 Magic cards
• Twenty Theros basic lands
• Six illustrated plastic dividers
• Sticker sheet for customizing the dividers
• An alternate-art Karametra's Acolyte from the Theros set

This is a great gift for anyone starting in "Magic." Not only does it contain four boosters to add to your collection, but you can store all your others cards in a neatly organized manner. And, if you don't have enough cards to fit into the box, it will also hold some of your supplies, i.e. deck boxes, sleeves, and dice.

Some last words about holiday gifting
You'll notice that Magic: The Gathering is mentioned a lot in the article even though other games exists; i.e. Pokemon, Cardfight Vanguard, Kaijudo, and many more. The main reason is that they have set the standards. So don't worry if you or your friend don't play "Magic" because these items will work fine for other games. It should be noted that Yu-Gi-Oh is one of the exceptions. Those cards are much smaller than "Magic: The Gathering" cards. So keep that in mind as well.

Individually, the card sleeves, deck boxes, and dice all make great stocking stuffers. Combined all three make a great gift package. The best part is if you buy all three, you're still way below the $20 mark.

The prices you see were pulled directly from the company websites. Although, you may want to check your local gaming store for alternatives. You don't have to order directly from the website. So unless getting to a gaming store is near impossible for you, then try to visit one today and help support them.

That's it for now. If you have a comment, then sound off below in the comment section. If you'd like, you can e-mail BGExaminer@hotmail.com with any direct questions. Also, if you like what you're reading and want more then click on the "like" and subscribe button. Don't forget to follow me on Twitter @simeoncortezano.

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