Report from our first class

So things might have gotten a little quieter leading up to the first class, but we’ve definitely been ramping up. SInce Tom and I are roommates, our dorm room is very much dominated by our magic cards. We have about 10,000 cards (mostly common, mostly crappy) for the class, and we initially built 30 decks for the 30 students taking the class. In addition, we also managed to convince the guys over at mtgcast to put our practice recording on the network as a podcast, which you can find here.

So there were some pretty significant changes to our presentation after we rehearsed on the podcast. These include

  • there was a lot of general cleanup. We realized we forgot a lot of things, and we could condense here and there
  • we put in one really slick slide with animations to show the stack
  • we moved a lot of the rules stuff from the first segment to the second segment. We wanted to get students playing as quickly as possible, and since the decks we built were very basic, we figured we didn’t have to talk about things like planeswalker or artifacts immediately
  • very significantly, I lost my voice. On the podcast, I mention that I”m under the weather, and I was actually losing my voice then. It might not sound that bad, but my voice is a lot deeper on the podcast than usual. Good thing we did it when we did, as well, because 3 hours later, gone. I’m still resting now, so Tom did the entire lecture in class, but he did a great job, so no worries

We kept iterating on the slides up until about an hour before the class, which I would post, but there’s some vaguely personal information and specific information that we would prefer not to have widely available. The slides that we used for the podcast, though, are available here

On that day, as well, I also mentioned to Tom that we might build a few extra decks in case we have some extra people show up, which was an excellent choice. We arrived to a full room and ended up passing out all 35 decks, with even a couple people in the room without. The demographics of the room wasn’t quite what we were thinking it would be, but were certainly not disappointed to see people. We were hoping to get mostly new players, underclassmen so we actually have something to teach them. On a class poll, most had played before, and more than a couple had experience with the topics we’d be teaching. And amazingly, not everyone in the room was male. I’m glad to see we’re getting better balance than most local tournaments.

So the lecture part went well. We got additional help from George, a level 3 DCI judge who’s also a student here at Stanford. Fortunately, we didn’t embarrass ourselves by explaining anything wrong, only asking for confirmation on a couple things we talked about related to planeswalker. Through the lecture, we got some good questions about rules, and it definitely seemed like people were interested.

All in all, I was pretty pleased by how it went. Attendance was good, and people seemed engaged and having fun, but we’ll see if we have a good return crowd for next week. As far as content here goes, I think we might be a little silent on the blog. We’ll be working a lot more, but things go hush-hush as we’re on good footing with what we want to present, and really want to give the first look to students now. I’ll probably continue to do weekly reports here, and now we’re on MTGCast as well (thanks Tom!), so every Wednesday, our practice should go up.

So yeah, Tom and I are pretty pumped up about this. Things look good, we have 24/7 office hours, and we’re prepping for the rest of it.

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