Magical spells, mythological creatures, and 20-sided dice are all elements of the widely popular game Magic: The Gathering. At Muscatine High School, the magic is the ability to bring students together, get them involved, and help them make new friends.

Muscatine High School’s Dungeons and Dragons/Magic: The Gathering Club meets officially two times a week. “We hang out pretty much every day, though,” said club president Shane Palmer. On average there are four or five students at a meeting, but more in the club as a whole. “Some of them come to actually play and some just hang out, but either way, they’re in a safe space and that’s what’s important,” said the club advisor, Ben Johns.

The members said they find it funny that they are listed as the Dungeons and Dragons club but they’ve never actually played a game of Dungeons and Dragons; they always play Magic: The Gathering. “I’ve seen a single game of Dungeons and Dragons go for over a year,” said freshman Justic Chavez. “So it’s just easier to always play Magic.”

The members want people to know that Magic: The Gathering is a lot of fun and nothing for people to be intimidated by. Chavez said, “I’ve never seen two games the same.” Palmer said it’s different than what a lot of people think it is. “First off, it’s not satanic. People think that because there’s magic and demons, it’s satanic. It’s not like Pokémon, it’s different than anything else. It’s just a game, it’s just for fun. It’s not as hard as it seems once you actually play it.”

The club has created a chance for a lot of the members to make new friends. Palmer said, “It gives me a reason to want to be at school.” Chavez and junior Shane Beasom both said the group has introduced them to a lot of new friends, and it gives them something to look forward to after school. Johns said, “It gives them a way to be connected to the school because a lot of them aren’t involved in anything else, and it gives me a chance to connect with kids I normally wouldn’t have a chance to meet. And it connects them with an adult at the school.”